Remedy #1: Drink plenty of fluids to help break up your congestion. Drinking water or juice will help prevent dehydration and keep your throat moist. Most people should drink at least 8 to 10 eight-ounce glasses of fluid daily. Include fluids such as water, sports drinks, herbal teas, fruit drinks, or ginger ale. Your mother’s chicken soup might help too!
Remedy #2: Inhale steam to ease your congestion and stuffy nose. Hold your head over a pot of boiling water and breathe slowly through your nose. Be careful. Don’t let the steam burn your nose. You can also use a humidifier to get the same effect. Moisture from a hot shower with the door closed or saline nasal spray is just as helpful to ease congestion.
Remedy #3: Blow your nose often, but do it the proper way. It’s important to blow your nose regularly when you have a cold rather than sniffling mucus back into your head. But when you blow hard, pressure can carry germ-carrying phlegm back into your ear passages, causing earache. The best way to blow your nose is to press a finger over one nostril while you blow gently to clear the other.
Remedy #4: Use saline nasal sprays or make your own salt water rinse to irrigate your nose. Salt-water rinsing helps break nasal congestion while also removing virus particles and bacteria from your nose. Here’s a popular recipe:
Mix 3 teaspoons of iodide-free salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda. Place in an airtight container. Add 1 teaspoon of this mixture to 8 ounces of lukewarm boiled or distilled water. Fill a bulb syringe with this solution (or use a Neti pot, available at most health foods stores). Lean your head over a basin, and using the bulb syringe, gently squirt the salt water into your nose. Hold one nostril closed by applying light finger pressure while squirting the salt mixture into the other nostril. Let it drain. Then treat the other nostril.