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Pre-surgery cold coming on - can I take Zicam?

Cath111CCath111 Posts: 3,699
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I hope you guys know what I can do and can help me out here. I woke up this morning with one of my glands in my throat swollen which, for me, is usually the first sign that I have a cold coming on. I feel pretty good, but my sinuses are a bit clogged which could be just the time of year or an additional sign that I'm getting sick.

Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but I have my surgery coming up on Wednesday and I've got everything set and just can't postpone this.

Of course, the pre-surgery paperwork says you've got to stop all herbal medicines and they list some of them specifically, but I'm wondering if anybody knows if I can take Zicam? This is an herbal cold remedy that tends to nip it in the bud before it becomes a full blown cold. None of the ingredients is on the list, but it IS an herbal medicine.

Of course, this is happening on a 3-day weekend for my docs, so do any of you know if I'd be messing things up if I took this? Or do any of you have an alternative solution?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Cath
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1

Comments

  • You could try steaming with menthol or friars balsam or something similar and gargling with salt water. They were my mum's favourite remedies and she was hardly ever sick with colds.
  • Sorry to hear you're coming down with a bug, Cath! I hate to say this but you better call your doctor's office and tell them about this. In my experience with many surgeries over the years, they will not do a surgery if you've got a respiratory bug. I think it has to do with the associated risks and anesthesia, but I can't say for sure. I'm always nervous about that myself whenever I have an elective surgery coming up.

    Hope it turns out that you can have your surgery after all! :)
    Linda

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Oh no, I hope you can get this bug under control to keep your surgery scheduled! I was thinking maybe you could call your pharmacy and ask them what they think, better yet call the physicican #, leave the question w/answering service to ask for a reply or just have the dr. call you back. I hope someone is on call to help you! Bundle up, stay warm, gargle, and drink warm tea, etc. in the meantime! Good luck and let us know how you are doing!
    Kathy
  • Dear Cath,

    Of all times to happen... geeze.

    Try not to worry...

    If I were you, I would give the doctor's office a call on this. It's worth getting a doctor's opinion right now, since your surgery is right around the corner.

    I don't know about the Zicam from a doctor's perspective... but, I honestly would take it, until you are told otherwise. It works well for my family and me.

    These home remedies are safe to try and they do work:

    Keep the vaporizer going with eucalyptus oil. You can apply a small dab of eucalyptus oil to moist wash cloths, which I warm up in the microwave. Place the washcloth over your face and it will help relieve the stuffy and congested feeling. It's good to put these on your throat and feet, too. Do this several times throughout the day and night.

    Hot lemonade: Hot water containing the juice of fresh squeezed lemons, with plenty of honey added, soothes the throat and is supposed to helps the lymphatic system. Sip on this throughout the day and night.

    Thick onion soup or oven baked onions have a powerful decongestant effect. The same applies to garlic bulbs.

    Try to avoid dairy products over the weekend, as this will help reduce excess mucus formation.

    If you want a really good jolt of a decongestant... horseradish will get the sinuses flowing really quick. (I have a difficult time with this, unless I mix it in with some sour cream on a baked potato).

    Hang tight, Cath. I'll be thinking of you and I hope you start feeling better and that gland goes down in size.

    Sending you healing thoughts and a hug,

    Tammy >:D<
  • inchworm said:
    Sorry to hear you're coming down with a bug, Cath! I hate to say this but you better call your doctor's office and tell them about this. In my experience with many surgeries over the years, they will not do a surgery if you've got a respiratory bug. I think it has to do with the associated risks and anesthesia, but I can't say for sure. I'm always nervous about that myself whenever I have an elective surgery coming up.

    Hope it turns out that you can have your surgery after all! :)
    Cath,

    I agree with Inchworm. My surgeon won't operate (non emergency) if I had a cold or flu in the prior 3 weeks! I don't know if it is the anesthesia or the shock on our systems while on the table, but you do need to let your doctor know if this is going to be an issue. Oddly, they (on the preop questions) were more concerned if I had the flu vs a cold in the last 3 weeks. The Anesthesiologist had the addition of "Have you had any respiratory infections or colds in the last 3 weeks?" I hope it all works out Cath. *HUG*

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • The same thing happened to me (I'm 5 1/2 weeks post op) prior to my surgery, I panicked because like you, I didn't want to postpone my surgery. I would highly recommend saline sinus rinses. I use the one that is a bottle, I got it at Walgreens, I swear by it. I would also go ahead and use the Zicam, just my opinion though. When I started feeling sick I called my doctor and she put me on a 5 day dose of antibiotics, I can't think what it's called right now, but it's the one that you take 2 pills the first and second days and then one pill for 3 days. I hope you get to feeling better soon and that everything works out great with your surgery. Happy New Year!!
  • I had the same feeling several days before surgery. I drank lots of OJ, chicken soup, and took hot showers. It never did go into the full blown cold I was expecting. I guess I got lucky it went away before my deadline to call the doctor. It started on a Friday and I decided if it didn't stop by Monday I would call the doctor and have them postpone my surgery. I will say don't go into surgery with an illness. For one thing coughing and sneezing will hurt after surgery, BAD. For another you could be risking your life, it isn't worth dying for. I was throwing up the night of surgery from the anesthesia and believe me that was no fun at all.
  • Thanks for all the suggestions. I woke up this morning feeling a little worse than yesterday, but I took some Zicam and Umcka and an hour later, I feel good. I'll continue this regimen all day. My pre-op paperwork says that if I have a cold (or anything else) 48 hours before surgery, to call the spine center. That's Monday, so I've got two days to get this thing outta here.

    But, I'm about to have the best medicine of all. My mom-in-law (aka nurse) is flying in today and I know that she'll make me some chicken noodle soup tomorrow and will continue to baby me to make sure I'm well for surgery. I don't have all the chores done that I wanted to get done before she got here, but it's not the end of the world. She'll understand.

    Thanks for the suggestions and help, fellow spineys. Hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend.

    Cath
  • Stress and lack of sleep will also bring down your immune system- so in addition to all the rest - get a LOT of rest :)
  • I will tell you that those sinus rinses and netty pots are the best when you have anything sinus or nasal going on. They flush stuff out. Though the netty pots are a little weird to use they helped me so much with a recent virus (what it is a little pot you fill with warm salt water and you pour it in one nostril and it comes out the other).
    Multiple ACDFs, Multiple Lumbar Fusions; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty
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