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Cold Medicine Side Effects

Caregivers Santa Rosa CA : What You Should Be Aware of

Caregivers Santa Rosa CAWe’re well into cold and flu season and that means that many seniors are taking over-the-counter medications to relieve their discomfort and get some much-needed rest. While these wonder drugs can help quell an annoying cough or runny nose, they can give you unwanted side effects as well. It’s easy to overdose on these medications as well. Read on to find out what health hazards elderly care providers should be aware of and how they can be avoided.


Antihistamines are a godsend for seniors who have allergies and need relief from itching and a runny nose in order to sleep. However, antihistamines can cause drowsiness, which to many people, many not be an issue if taken before bedtime. However, many seniors tend to get up in the middle of the night, and the sleepiness can lead to falls. It’s recommended to take a long-acting alternative that won’t cause drowsiness.


The biggest problem with acetaminophen is that it is found in numerous medications, so it’s easy to overdose. Use it for arthritis, a headache and then a cold and you’re looking at a total consumption of well over the recommended 4,000 mg limit. An excessive amount of acetaminophen can damage the liver, and the effects can be exacerbated if the client drinks alcohol on top of it. To avoid an overdose – which may be hard to recognize because it mimics the flu – read labels carefully and take the smallest amount possible.


While decongestants such as Dimetapp and Triaminic are lifesavers to seniors who are just downright miserable due to a stuffy nose, they are not without risks. Decongestants raise blood pressure, so seniors with high blood pressure to begin with face a high risk of suffering from complications. Nasal sprays are a good alternative, but they come with a high risk of dependency if taken for more than several days. Decongestants can be unsafe for seniors with heart conditions, glaucoma, diabetes and an overactive thyroid, so consult with a doctor if your client has any of these conditions.


Ibuprofen is effective at relieving a variety of ailments, including fevers, aches and pains. However, those who use it frequently face the risk of allergic reactions, peptic ulcers and even kidney damage in severe cases. Those with certain conditions can develop a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, those with high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease should avoid alcohol. Those who smoke face an increased risk of complications as well. If your client suddenly experiences problems with vision or speech, or has dark stools, seek medical help immediately.

Home care counselors at At Your Service are available to talk with you about your home care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care. We are an home care agency providing senior care in Santa Rosa CA. Call Today 707-573-1003.