How do decongestants work?

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Offline thedoc

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How do decongestants work?
« on: 15/02/2016 11:50:01 »
Judi Heitz asked the Naked Scientists:
   Can you explain this?  If you have a cold and congestion, you are told to take an expectorant (if the congestion is in the chest) or a decongestant (if the congestion is in the nose or sinuses).  These are different drugs.

Why would the mucus cells respond differently in the sinuses than in the chest?  Why can't there be one all-purpose medication?

PS: Love your podcast. I used many of your ideas, especially the kitchen science, while I was teaching. Now I just listen for fun!
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 15/02/2016 17:35:31 by chris »