What are the Best Remedies for Congestion?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2019
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Nasal congestion occurs for a number of reasons, including a cold, flu, sinus infection, or allergies, among others. The lining of the nasal passages and sinuses becomes swollen, trapping the mucus there, and preventing it from draining, which causes that stuffy, congested feeling. There are many remedies to try for congestion, both to relieve the immediate symptoms and help to prevent it from returning.

Dry air can cause or worsen congestion, so one congestion remedy is to add a humidifier or vaporizer to a home or bedroom. There are humidifiers capable of producing cool or warm steam; experts generally recommend avoiding humidifiers that produce warm steam for a child's room, because it is too easy to knock it over and get a burn. The steam produced can moisten the air and the nasal passages, and may help relieve congestion. In addition, some allow the addition of menthol salves, which can also be effective remedies for congestion. If it is not possible to use a humidifier, taking a hot shower or hot bath and breathing the steam can have a similar effect.


Other remedies for congestion involve moistening the nasal passages as well. Saline nasal sprays may be used as often as necessary, because they do not contain any addictive ingredients. In addition, many people find relief with a neti pot, which is a small pot filled with warm salt water. The spout of the pot is inserted into one nostril, and the water runs in that nostril and out the other. In addition to being excellent remedies for congestion, neti pots can also help frequent sinus infection sufferers prevent infection when used regularly.

Eating spicy foods can be a remedy for congestion as well. Chicken soup with added pepper, or any foods with added onion, garlic, or chili peppers can all help to relieve congestion. Remember to stay hydrated, and to drink enough water, as well as hot tea. The steam from the tea may also help with congestion. Warm compresses placed on the cheeks and forehead may also encourage the sinuses to drain.

Other remedies for congestion take place while sleeping. Remember to elevate the head to allow the sinuses to drain, and leave the humidifier running. To prevent illness before it starts, try to get between six and eight hours of sleep every night, get regular exercise, and eat a healthy, balanced diet. Some people find that taking a brisk walk outside may also help clear congestion.


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Post 10

@bagley79 - One day I was watching the Dr. Oz show and he showed how you could use a Neti pot to help with sinus congestion.

This is a small pot you hold in your hand that has a spout attached to it. You fill up the pot with warm water and a little bit of salt. Then you lean over a sink and inset the spout in one of your nostrils.

The liquid will pass through one nostril and go out the other nostril. After you have done this on both sides, blow your nose and you should notice a difference in your congestion.

This is one of the natural remedies for sinus congestion that has worked

for me. If you suffer from chronic sinus congestion like I did, you may want to do this several times a week.

I noticed a huge difference if I was persistent at doing this about 4-5 times a week. The pots are not very expensive and you can find them at many health stores or online.

Post 9

Has anyone had good results using homeopathic remedies for congestion?

I don't like to use over the counter products as they make me feel drowsy and drugged. I know there must be some natural ways to take care of this.

During the winter I run a humidifier and use Vicks Vapor Rub if I am having trouble with this, but I would like to find something that would also help during the day.

Post 8

@wavy58 – Cool air humidifiers work just as well as warm ones. They don't make the air significantly colder, and if you already have the heat on, I don't think you will notice a big difference in room temperature.

I think that as long as the air has some moisture content to it, your sinuses will open up a bit. Think about when you step outside on a foggy winter morning. Isn't it easier to breathe out there than in your house?

I know that when I step out into the cold air, my nose feels so much better. Most people try to stay indoors when they have a cold, but I think being outdoors in the fresh, moist air actually helps.

Post 7

I have found that putting my head over a pot of boiling water and inhaling deeply helps clear my congested sinuses. This is the cheapest remedy I can think of, and it actually works.

I hold a towel over my head and the pot of hot water to trap the steam inside. I breathe in until I am relieved, and then I turn off the stove and put a lid on the pot. This keeps the water warm so that I can get it boiling again quickly if I need another round of treatment.

If I am severely congested, then I add a little bit of peppermint extract to the water. It's strong scent blasts my sinuses open, and the aroma seems to linger in my nasal passages long after I quit breathing the steam.

Post 6

Has anyone here ever used a cool air humidifier? I only need relief from nasal congestion in the winter, when the air inside my house is dried out from the heater. I've been using a warm air humidifier, because the thought of making the room any cooler makes me shiver, and it seems like cold, damp air might make me sicker.

I just got a new puppy, and I'm concerned that if he gets into the room, he might knock over the hot humidifier and burn himself. So, I'm considering getting a cool one. I just would like to know if it works as well as warm ones for relieving congestion.

Post 5

I have lived with nasal congestion as long as I can remember. My allergies are always bothering me, and I keep sinus infections for many months out of the year.

The remedies mentioned in this article work, and I know that because I have tried all of them. The only problem is that most of them only work for a short time. A hot shower clears you up only until you leave the bathroom, and soon after you finish eating spicy food, your congestion will return.

Since my congestion tends to get worse when I lie down, I do keep a warm humidifier in my room at night. It helps ease the congestion and allows me to sleep.

Post 4

@ElizaBennett - I've never tried them, but a friend of mine swear by garlic and eucalyptus as home remedies for congestion. I'm not sure exactly how she uses them (not together!) but I think the garlic goes in her nose and the eucalyptus is aroma therapy (her whole house smelled like it).

But if you are really congested, you might need to take Sudafed even if you're pregnant. My doctor said that pregnant women have been taking Sudafed for many years without apparent problems and that sometimes it's best to just take it to help keep a sinus infection at bay.

Post 3

There are some great natural remedies for congestion. When I was pregnant, I didn't like to take medicine, so I learned all about them; I seem to get a lot of colds when I'm expecting.

If you have allergies, nasal rinsing is a great way to keep symptoms at bay. It feels weird at first, but it's strangely addictive once you get used to it. It can also help a little with a cold if you are not completely blocked.

And elevating your head, like the article mentions, is surprisingly helpful. I had bad heartburn late in pregnancy and slept propped up on two pillows. When I then came down with a cold, I realized how helpful the elevation was. In the morning, my throat was not as achy as it usually is when I have a cold because the mucus had been draining better.

Post 2

I usually use Vicks Vapor Rub as a remedy for chest congestion. I even put a little in a bath with running water and the steam and smell of the rub really helps to soothe me and helps me with my breathing. I also use Mucinex which works really well too.

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