Autumn Sniffles

Coming into Autumn, staff at UFS pharmacies traditionally notice a change in the conditions that patients seek treatment for. For the next month, I will be concentrating on nasal congestion and colds, zinc testing, influenza and skin care.

Colds are traditionally associated with winter, but can occur at any time through the year, and we usually see an outbreak in autumn. The most common symptom that patients seek treatment for is nasal congestion. This is caused by inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the nasal passages. The expansion of these blood vessels causes the space available for air to pass through to be reduced. This causes the ‘blocked nose’ effect that we associate with a cold.

Unfortunately, the increase in blood flow can cause pressure in the nasal passages to be passed onto the surrounding bones, which causes headaches. These headaches typically are located in the front of the face, have a ‘thumping’ feeling and will get worse if the head put forward. The mainstay of treatment is decongestants, which work to reverse the expansion of blood vessels in the nasal sinuses.

We have a variety of decongestants available to patients, and the staff at UFS can help you to decide exactly which option is best for you. Decongestants can be dangerous to patients who suffer from high blood pressure or heart problems, and can interact severely with other medications, so it is vital that you get the best advice when choosing one.