Colds - learning the hard way

Luckily I haven't had a cold for over two years and knew from previous discussions with the pharmacist that OTC cold remedies are basically off the agenda for me.  Paracetamol  is OK.

Yesterday the dreaded lurgie struck and this morning I decided to use a Vicks inhaler.  I thought this would be OK as it isn't something you actually take into your body.  Wrong. Heart has been beating hard all morning, although not fast.  It has now gone back to normal.  The Vicks stick that I used has long since parted company with the product information but on checking with the website, it clearly says that it shouldn't be used by people with heart rhythm abnormalities.

Nearly all of these OTC medications apparently contain some sort of stimulant.  There is a fortune to be made by big pharma in developing a cold remedy for AF sufferers.  Why should we have to put up with streaming noses etc?  One of the few pleasures of having a cold used to be taking Lemsip!

14 Replies

  • I knew about the problems with decongestants (anything containing pseudophed and the like), but I hadn't realized that Vicks has the same effect. I'm afraid it's back to the old paracetamol for most of us, and just waiting for it to be over.  However, I do use Olbas oil, with no bad reaction so far.

  • Apparently you shouldn't use olbas oil on your skin if you are on anticoagulants.  It seems to be OK as an inhalent though - information at

  • I had no idea that Vicks stick was to be avoided  -  I've used it quite a bit in recent memory. I'm also in the throes of an absolutely awful cold & just take paracetamol.

    Last year I had  my worst ever cough & cold which went on for months. I can normally go years without getting anything much in the way of colds.  This has led me to wonder whether all the drugs i take have lowered my resistance. ( And I've been following a plant based diet for the past few weeks .......?! )

  • Do menthol crystals have any harmful effect?  You add a few to very hot water and inhale the vapour.

  • Hi Relim296 well I always use menthol crystals in my inhaler and its Beeb ok for me, but like you things don't suit e ermine, I also when I have a cough rub Vick on the soles of my feet,and it works( read this tip from someone on this site) take care  Sann

  • There are Karvol capsules too, but they are a combination of this and that and menthol crystals have a similar effect but are less complicated.

  • I too haven't had a cold for a long time and dread developing one. I will try to stick with paracetamol and breathing 'steam'.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  • I've used Vicks vapor rub and not had any problems but I've never read the label. 

  • Get into the habit of ALWAYS reading the label.

  • Taking one gram of Vitamin C every two hours for two days from the first suggestion of a cold will either squash it altogether, or shorten the pain.  When you forget to take it you are probably feeling better!

  • I've heard some skeptical things about massive amounts of vitamin C.  An alternative is zinc.  Take 25-50mg at the very first hint of a cold, and then no more.  Too much can upset your mineral balance.  Then regularly dose yourself with a tea made of ginger, lemon juice and garlic.  There must be a million different recipes on your local Internet.

  • Vitamin C works for me.  Some cold remedies inhibit the immune system so the cold lasts longer and therefore you need to take the remedy longer.  Seems like there is a winner here and it is not the patient, except you may feel a bit better.  I prefer feeling worse for a shorter period of time.  I have found taking 2 grams of vitamin C or more a day, everyday, minimizes the number of colds.  And this also keeps the arteries flexible I have read.  My arteries, I am told, after a dye test, are like those of a child.  Maybe it is the vitamin C or I am regressing back into being a baby. 

    Animals which make their own vitamin C ramp up production when they are sick.  I haven't seen many dogs with a cold.  I think I read they normally make 12 grams of vitamin C a day and more when they need more.

    For some good vitamin C information go to:  Someone posted this sometime back. 

  • Karvol capsules are no longer available have not tried obias oil but knew about OTC meds but wish my doctor did 

  • On my mum's advice (ex pharmacist) I've been using a Sudafed nasal spray (no stimulant in it) and steam with menthol crystals. They've kept the cold's manageable for me. Current pharmacy staff have also recommended the Sudafed spray.


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