I am no stranger to the common cold, sinus infections and bronchitis. I had asthma as a child and suffer from environmental allergies making me more susceptible to every virus or bacteria I encounter. When I was pregnant with my second child over the winter, it felt like I had a chronic cold, and I was treated three different times for sinus infections. Because I was pregnant, I could not take the one cold medicine that often prevented me from resorting to antibiotics, Mucinex Decongestant. Throughout my pregnancy, I had to learn to find ways to alleviate the symptoms I was suffering in a more natural way. Although I am not pregnant anymore, I use these tricks with every cold I continue to suffer.
Humidifier: Pediatricians often tell parents to use humidifiers in rooms for their children when they are suffering a cold, but it is easy forget that they can be beneficial for adults as well. Winter weather often results in dry air, and the heat our furnaces produce can dry out the sinus mucosa. If our sinuses become dry, they may begin to produce more mucous which can lead to congestion or add to congestion already spurred on by a cold virus. Using a humidifier can help keep the air moist to prevent excess mucus.
Breathe Right strips: Breathe right strips were popular many years ago, but they can be very handy during a cold. A simple strip across the bridge of a nose can help air move through the nasal cavity and may relieve some congestion symptoms overnight to aide with sleep.
Nasal washes: If you have never tried a sinus wash, you are in for an experience. Neti pots use a saline solution with sterile water to help wash bacteria and other irritants out of the nasal cavity. There is a sinus wash called Alkalol that works differently than the saline, but it can be very refreshing. Note: Sterile water must be used to avoid adding bacteria to the nasal cavity from tap water.
Essential Oils: There are various essential oils that claim to help eliminate bacteria, help with breathing and other health benefits. For example, diffusing peppermint oil can help relieve a headache and many brands of oils make blends specifically for colds and better breathing.
Hot showers: Hot showers can offer temporary relief of congestion. Essential oils that are recommended for diffusing can be sprinkled in the bottom of a shower to breathe as it steams into the air.
Herbal teas: Hot herbal teas recommended for specific symptoms can also be of some benefit. For a sore throat or cough, add honey to the tea. For added Vitamin C, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Writer Bio: Summer Bolte
I spend most of my time and days with my three kids, husband and dog. My kids frequently play near me as I garden, cook, DIY and volunteer. My most unusual paying job has to be feeding fruit flies in a research lab, and my most fulfilling job was being an oncology nurse for seven years.