If you have cirrhosis, what do you do/take to alleviate the symptoms of a cold?

I was diagnosed in April, alcohol related cirrhosis. I have been sober since and don't currently have to take any medication.

I have got a stinking cold. Sore throat, cough, general pain in my head, etc. What can I take that won't harm my poor liver further? Parecetomol/lemsips are out of the question I suppose. I have had the flu jab so hopefully it is not flu. Any advice appreciated.

16 Replies

  • You poor thing. Lots of liquid, like warm lemony (other fruits are available!) drinks. Plenty of rest. Heat if you have achy joints, sinuses, etc. Ice cubes to suck. just a few ideas off top of my head. I couldn't advise you on medications obviously. I hope you feel much better soon.

  • Thanks for the prompt reply. I feel quite sorry for myself and am terrified of having to go to hospital or losing weight. I am skinny enough as it is! Will sort ice and lemons tomorrow. I have my hot water bottle but I need about 5 more to cover all the achy bits!

  • Hi JoJo.....unfortunately cannot advise you on medication, but do hope you feel better soon. Hugs x

  • Thank you. I was wondering how you were doing. I hope you are OK. X

  • Honey and Lemon with warm water is a good natural aid to fighting the cold. Check with your specialist about the lemsips and paracetemol - we've been advised that paracetemol is the safest painkiller to take with cirrhosis provided it is taken within the correct dosage limits. My hubby with cirrhosis takes it for headaches, tummy twinges and after his endoscopy for the pain all on the advice of liver consultant at Edinburgh and local Gastro Doc. So check with your own specialist for peace of mind.


  • Thanks Katie. I will give my doctor a call. I don't see a gastro or liver doc anymore. Hope your husband is doing well.

  • Hi JoJo.....hope you are feeling a bit better today and managed to get some medication suitable to alleviate your symptoms. I'm doing ok, the rash has gone thank goodness. Not sure what caused it but my stress levels have been very high over the last few weeks. Seeing my GP tomorrow. Was suppose to see her last week but she was off sick and I didn't want to see the other doctor. Had a blood test done for Thyroid, cholesterol and diabetes and found out from the receptionist these were all ok, which I was pleased about. The PAWS symptoms I wasn't prepared for and have felt very edgy at times, hopefully this will get better. Don't really miss the alcohol and wish I had done this sooner but one can only look forward. Do hope you feel better soon. Take care x

  • I feel okish. Had some honey lozenges, used a lot of Vicks and drank lemon water. I hope your appointment goes OK. It took months for me to feel less anxious after stopping drinking but now I wonder how the heck I managed when I was drinking. 7 months down the line I feel good, worry less and sleep better ( which is amazing as I have some major bad issues going on at the moment).

    I realise I can deal with this sober. Drink would turn me into a teary mess.

    Take care. X

  • Hi JoJo

    my husband has cirrhosis and does sometimes take Paracetamol for aches etc and his liver specialist advises this as the safest painkiller to take obviously within the required limits,so you would be fine to take some for your cold & flu symptoms.I hope you are feeling better soon,Laura x

  • Thanks for all the responses. Very helpful. X

  • Hi jojo, I have cirrhosis and my liver cons said that if I need to take take a painkiller, paracetamol is the best bet, and avoid ibuprofen . I use it when I'm really feeling unwell and desperate! You can get cough medicines without alcohol (be very carefull as many have ethanol in them) but they do taste quite vile!!

    I'm afraid it's back to basics, plenty of fluid, steam with Vicks to clear your congestion and just take it easy until you get better.....don't be a martyr!!!

    Hope you feel better soon

  • I'm still waiting for further tests for my liver condition, but in the meantime I've been told not to take any paracetamol products and use ibuprofen sparingly. Problem is I have a chronic pain condition so I'm not very comfortable. Anyway, this seems to be the opposite to the advice you've all been given so maybe the liver specialist will be the person to ask.

  • I have had a transplant and been prescribed paracetamol so I would say this is the safest medication to take. I have also had a very bad cold which has been quite persistant. The problem here is that I take anti-rejection medication which lowers my natural body resistance to infections so you need to take extra care.

  • Paracetamol is acetaminophen. If you have "alcohol related cirrhosis" you should not be taking Tylenol!

  • Parecetemol / Tylenol / Acetaminophen - all the same thing and its the one pain killer my hubby with cirrhosis & many other liver patients are actually recommended to take - indeed prescribed by liver unit (just have to take when required and often at lower than the maximum recommended daily dose).

    Aspirin, Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs are the no, no drugs as they have blood thinning properties which can make even small bleeds or bruise unstoppable in people who already have blood clotting difficulties due to liver disease.

  • I'm waiting for a tips procedure I'm under kings college London and they havery given me 3 yrs I'd just like to say though you can take paracetamol I didn't know until kings that's what they use even for paracetamol overdose but you must be careful and only take the recommended dosage I hope this helps with people who have flu and headache etc

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