What You Need to Know About High Blood Pressure and Cold & Flu Medicine

The human body is an incredible machine constantly working to maintain a state of balance. One of the ways it does this is by regulating blood pressure.

If your doctor has confirmed that you have high blood pressure, you need to know that certain cold and flu medicines can potentially affect it.

But on days when you’re coughing and sneezing, you’ll want to grab a medication that relieves your symptoms and helps you feel better fast. Luckily, cold medicine for people with high blood pressure exists.

If you’re asking, “What cold medicine can I take with high blood pressure?” you are in the right place. Keep reading to learn the causes of high blood pressure, how to know if you have high blood pressure, and what types of cold and flu medicines to take if you have high blood pressure and have gotten the cold or flu.

What is Blood Pressure?

When your heart pumps blood through your arteries, the blood pushes against the walls of your blood vessels. The pressure that results from this push is called blood pressure.1

Blood pressure is usually highest when you wake up in the morning and lowest at night. It fluctuates throughout the day due to various factors, including physical activity, emotional stress, circadian rhythm, and medications.

  • Physical activity can cause blood pressure to rise temporarily. This is because when you are active, your heart works harder to pump blood to your muscles.
  • Emotional stress can also cause blood pressure to rise. When stressed, your body releases hormones that constrict your arteries and increase your heart rate.
  • Medications, such as decongestants, can also cause blood pressure to fluctuate.

While blood pressure fluctuations are normal, monitoring your blood pressure to ensure it stays within a healthy range is crucial. If you experience a sudden or severe drop in blood pressure, or if your blood pressure remains high for an extended period, you should seek medical attention.

What is High Blood Pressure?

Your doctor may talk about two numbers when referring to your blood pressure. The first is called systolic blood pressure (SBP), and the second is diastolic blood pressure (DBP). SBP is from your heart beating, and DBP is from your heart resting between beats.

Normal blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmHg.2 Blood pressure is elevated when the SBP is 120-129 mm Hg, and the DBP is less than 80 mm Hg.2 But when blood pressure measurement is higher than this, it’s called high blood pressure or hypertension.2

High blood pressure affects your body by making your heart and blood vessels work harder than they should.1 Over time, high blood pressure can hurt the lining of your arteries. Tears can then appear on the artery walls, resulting in deposits (plaque) forming from bad cholesterol. High blood pressure is bad for your body because it can harm critical organs like your heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes.1

There’s only one way to confirm that you have high blood pressure – by consulting your doctor or healthcare provider and sharing your blood pressure level readings.1 You can monitor your blood pressure over time with a blood pressure cuff easily bought over the counter. There may be no signs or symptoms to help you know that you may have high blood pressure. That’s why it’s often called a “silent killer.”1

However, you can modify your lifestyle to help keep your blood pressure under control. According to the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, as well as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this means1,3:

  • Exercising for at least 150 minutes every week
  • Avoiding certain medications (including those with decongestants)
  • Decreasing your salt consumption
  • Limiting your alcohol consumption
  • Not smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Managing stress By making these essential changes, you can help lower your blood pressure and even possibly prevent developing other medical conditions down the line. If you suspect you have high blood pressure, talk to your healthcare provider.

How to Shop for Cold & Flu Medicine When You Have High Blood Pressure

If your doctor has diagnosed you as having high blood pressure, you need to look closely at the ingredients in over-the-counter (OTC) cold and flu medicines before you buy and use them.

Standard OTC medicines for cold and flu differ from those for the same conditions in people with high blood pressure. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you should opt for cold medicine specifically developed for people with high blood pressure. This is because regular cold and flu medicines usually contain decongestants that may increase blood pressure.2 In addition, some cold and flu medicines have sugar and alcohol, which may contribute to hypertension.

For example, decongestants like pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine can constrict blood vessels.4 This means that they can make your blood vessels narrower and increase the pressure in your arteries thus raising your blood pressure.

So, if you need to shop for cold and flu medicines and have high blood pressure, avoid ingredients like decongestants. Look for medicines like DayQuil™/NyQuil™ High Blood Pressure Cold and Flu Relief Liquid Medicine that are decongestant-free and specially formulated for people with high blood pressure.

How Decongestants Affect High Blood Pressure

Unfortunately, there’s a direct relationship between taking some types of cold medicine and high blood pressure. Cold medicine often contains decongestants, a medication commonly used to relieve congestion and pressure in the sinuses and ears. Decongestants work by narrowing the blood vessels in the nasal passages, to reduce and shrink swelling. This, in turn, relieves the pressure and allows for better drainage.

Decongestants like oxymetazoline, phenylephrine, and pseudoephedrine can increase blood pressure by constricting the blood vessels. They do this by activating proteins known as alpha-adrenergic receptors, in the blood vessels of the nose.5 This is why it is important to check with your doctor before taking decongestants if you have high blood pressure and are taking medications to help reduce it.

NyQuil and DayQuil High Blood Pressure Cold & Flu Medicine

If you have high blood pressure, there are over the counter options that can relieve your tough cold and flu symptoms like cough, sore throat, and more.

Dayquil High Blood Pressure (HBP) Cold & Flu medicine provides fast, powerful relief for people with high blood pressure. It also helps relieve symptoms, including cough, headache, fever, sore throat, and minor aches and pain.

Nyquil High Blood Pressure (HBP) Cold & Flu medicine is a nighttime cold medicine for people with high blood pressure. It temporarily relieves common cold and flu symptoms, including cough due to minor throat and bronchial irritation, sore throat, headache, minor aches and pains, fever, runny nose, and sneezing.

Consult your healthcare provider to find out if cold meds for people with high blood pressure, like Dayquil and Nyquil High Blood Pressure Cold & Flu medicine, are right for you.

Was this article helpful?