As we head into the cooler months, there’s a chance we may begin to feel a bit under the weather. Cold weather can cause congestion and all of the symptoms of a cold that we dread every year.
Rather than relying solely on over-the-counter medicines and aids to help us feel better, what are some of the natural alternatives to ease congestion during this time of year?
When exposed to cold, dry air, our noses can become inflamed and irritated. This leads to the creation of mucus, which can thus lead to nasal congestion. Easing congestion and any related symptoms such as a runny nose or coughing can be managed by using a humidifier.
A humidifier – especially a cool mist humidifier – will add moisture into the air and ease the bothersome symptoms we may be experiencing. When using a humidifier, just ensure that you’re keeping the machine clean to prevent mineral buildup in addition to the growth of mold and bacteria.
Our sinuses can be the culprit behind our nasal congestion. In order to clear the sinuses out, nasal irrigation tools including Neti pots and rinse bottles can be used with a saline solution to treat a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, or trouble breathing as well as other conditions including colds, the flu, and sinus infections. This method can help loosen the mucus that is causing the clogs and flush out allergens such as dirt, dust, mold, pollen, pet dander, pathogens, and other debris, all while rinsing away the substance that is causing the swelling in the sinuses.
When opting for nasal irrigation, it’s important to use either distilled or sterile water, boiled water after it’s been cooled down and filtered waters abiding by the CDC guidelines. The water being used for nasal irrigation cannot contain any substances, or else you can run the risk of irritating the sinus passages even more.
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There are a host of essential oils that can be used to reduce and manage symptoms of congestion and provide some relief. These oils include menthol, lemon, frankincense, tea tree, clove, and rosemary.
Peppermint is also among the list of essential oils that can aid in fighting congestion, due to the presence of menthol, which can help shrink swollen membranes within the nose to make it easier to breathe and loosen mucus. Eucalyptus oil is also a viable option, with some studies showing that it can act as an expectorant, which is an agent that can loosen up phlegm.
Managing congestion and preventing congestion can be made easier by following one important consistent lifestyle choice – hydration. There is a reason why we’re told to drink fluids when we’re feeling under the weather, after all.
Drinks such as clear broth, warm lemon water, or regular water can help loosen up our congestion and prevent dehydration on top of our other symptoms. However, it’s important to avoid beverages including alcohol, coffee, and caffeinated sodas, as they can all worsen our dehydration.