Cold and Flu Season after Weight Loss Surgery
By: Lissa Hutchings, MSN, APRN, FNP-C
Our patients have been directed to avoid certain medications because of the changes to their stomachs and intestines. This does not mean they have to suffer through coughs, cold and the flu; there are a variety of over-the-counter options that are still available to bariatric patients. It is important to avoid medications that contain NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin (common brand names are Motrin, Aleve, and Alka-Seltzer), however medications that contain acetaminophen (Tylenol) and other medications used to treat cold and flu symptoms are safe alternatives.
Over-the-counter (OTC) products are available at local pharmacies and grocery stores and are available to purchase without a prescription. If you are ever unsure, or need help selecting an OTC product, ask the pharmacist for assistance and be sure to let them know you can’t take NSAIDs. Medications that are generally safe to take can be selected based on your symptoms. Remember, these medications are only safe if you do not have any other conditions (such as high blood pressure) that would prevent you from taking them.
Knowing the medications you CAN take is just as important as knowing the medications you should avoid. Read labels and look for the ingredients you know you can use. Over time, you will figure out what works best for you.
Some helpful tips:
- Whenever possible select products that are made with little or no sugar (sucrose, fructose, lactose or sorbitol), the label should say “sugar-free” or “SF”.
- It is also best to select products that do not contain alcohol such as (Nyquil), use caution if you do select a product that contains alcohol)
- Select a product that is only going to treat the symptoms you are having. Combination products with extra ingredients may cost more and won’t provide additional benefits.
Medications to treat nasal congestion:
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- Phenylephrine (Sudafed PE)
- Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)
- Nasal sprays and irrigations
Medications to treat sore throat:
- Lozenges (Halls, Cepaco)
- Sore throat sprays (Chloraseptic)
Medications to treat cough:
- Dextromethorphan ( Delsym, Robitussin, Vicks 44)
- Guaifenesin ( Mucinex)
- Sudafed Cold and Sinus
- Theraflu Severe Cold and Congestion
- Robitussin DM
- Nyquil Cold and Flu Relief
- Tylenol Cold and Flu
Medications to treat fever, aches and pains:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
About the Author:
Lissa Hutchings joined the team as a Nurse Practitioner in 2018. Lissa is a board-certified Nurse Practitioner specializing in family medicine. She is certified by and a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. She practiced as a Registered Nurse for 10 years before she received her Masters of Science in Nursing degree from Maryville University in 2017.