General Question

BoyWonder's avatar

What's the best nasal decongestant out there?

Asked by BoyWonder (806points) March 27th, 2009

Do you ever get that nasal blockage that only affects one nostril, so you have to turn to your other side when you sleep to make the blockage leak to the other nostril?What the heck can I do to stop this? Or what’s the best medicine out there for this?

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30 Answers

marinelife's avatar

You should probably go to the doctor and figure out the cause. The best medicine depends on whether you have allergy problems, sinus problems or something else.

casheroo's avatar

neti pot! and simply saline.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I can answer this one! Sudafed. But now in most states you have to get a doctor’s prescription for it. Nothing else works for me at all. Sudafed works for allergy or sinus problems. I prefer when it is mixed with a pain killer. Like Advil Allergy.

If you want to use a natural method I have one of those too. It is SO nasty but it works beautifully. Trust me on this. I wouldn’t write this in public if it didn’t work. It is a nasal/sinus flush. You mix 1/4 teaspoon of salt in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water. Then you plug one nostril and snort the mix up the other one. Spit out your mouth. Switch nostrils and keep doing it until you are finished. This also helps when you have a sore throat because it keeps the bacteria from sliding from your nose to throat. Nasty but recommended by doctors all the time. Or at least 3 have recommended it to me. You should do with both nostrils even if one is affected. This works for allergies or sinus problems.

Also a natural allergy remedy. Drink nettle tea daily for about three months. It seems like a long time but it works wonderfully and you’ll be allergy free for about a year. Well I was and so was a good friend of mine.

scamp's avatar

Good ole fashioned warm salt water with a pinch of baking soda.

gailcalled's avatar

Buy a little rubber syringe (used for babies). Make a solution of 1 t salt to 1 C. warm water. Lean over sink; squirt the saline solution into clogged nostril. Let dribble out. Repeat as necessary. You can try this for post-nasal drip, usually caused by allergies and particularly those of spring…mold, mildew (and dust mites that are around your mattress and pillow.

Read warnings on Neti pot before trying. It can cause severe pain.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Just want to clarify the snort and spit doesn’t cause pain. I think I have the same recipe as you @gailcalled but it’s snort and spit. No pain thankfully! LOL

edit to add: Oh i see that pain was in regards for the neti pot suggested above.

gailcalled's avatar

@RedPowerLady; The little syringe makes a slightly less messy mess.

My sis and I have narrow Eustacean tubes and suffered for several hours because we didn’t read the fine print on the Neti pot instructions.

fireside's avatar

Boil some salt water, take it off the burner and put a towel over your head to breathe in the steam. Repeat daily for a while.

But I agree, you should find out the cause from a doctor.
If you are allergic to your cat, it will keep happening even if you clean out the irritants.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@gailcalled That is horrible about the neti pot. I don’t see a reason for buying one if you can make the recipe at home anyhow.

I think the syringe is a good idea. Less mess is always good especially with this type of thing!

casheroo's avatar

@gailcalled What went wrong when you used the Neti-pot?

@redpowerlady They are quite safe, and not messy at all. Nor are they expensive, and you use them over and over…

RedPowerLady's avatar

@casheroo I thought they’d be expensive for sure

pekenoe's avatar

I’ve had the same problem most of my life so I do sympathize with you. Do not use any nasal sprays other than saline solutions, they cause more harm to they do good. I do the saline and also a light mix of hydrogen peroxide once in a while.

Believe it or not, a vibrator placed at the base of my skull on the back of my head will open my sinuses in minutes. I prefer this method.

seekingwolf's avatar

Sudafed is pretty good, especially before going to sleep. I wake up feeling better if I take it.

Saline works wonders though.
Be sure to just buy regular saline or make it yourself (see a doctor for concentration of salt in water to use). Some stores like to trick you with “purified sea water” that costs 12 dollars per tiny bottle, but it’s just saline. :)

gailcalled's avatar

@casheroo: I tried the Neti pot per instructions; my sinuses were cleared but I had severe pain in my Eustachean tubes. It went away after several hours but was very uncomfortable. My sister, being of the same gene pool, I guess, had the identical experience.

Bagardbilla's avatar

Hot peppers!
Also a great blood cleanser.
—but man do you pay for it when it comes out the other end! guess there’s no Free lunch;)—

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

Horseradish. Full strength. Chase with a little Wasabi.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@pekenoe That is a good tip. I got this massage pillow awhile ago. To wash it we took out the massaging piece. I bet that would work. I’m going to try it sometime.

Benny's avatar

@RedPowerLady is correct—nasal irrigation works the best, but I recommend buffered saline.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Benny Thanx. That method has been told to me by so many doctors I can’t count anymore. It really works. What is buffered saline??? Does that mean add the baking soda??

Benny's avatar

@RedPowerLady Yes, exactly. For some reason the buffering hypertonic solution is better than just plain saline.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Benny For some reason that sounds odd to me. But I might try it next time. The baking soda isn’t harmful?

gailcalled's avatar

@RedPowerLady : Isn’t baking soda an ingredient in chocolate chip cookies? I also use it, sometimes with vinegar, in place of cleanser. The OTC buffered sprays are Ocean and Ayre. I carry them in my purse and have a squirt from time to time for chronic post-nasal drip.

Benny's avatar

@RedPowerLady Actually no. It’s beneficial. Regular salt will cause a solution to get acidic, and the baking soda makes it pH neutral. It stings a little the first couple of times you do it, but after that you get over it. It really is better than just straight saline.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Benny Thanx for the information. Never knew.

@gailcalled Ya it’s in cookies. But I wouldn’t snort them. LOL. It’s the snorting bit. LOL.

The “it might sting a bit” turned me right off. LOL

xenializ's avatar

I love Mucinex. It’s not so much a decongestant as a mucus-thinner. I know, gross. But it gets the stuff flowing so it can get out of your system. Works wonders.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@xenializ Last time I was sick, about a month ago, I used Mucinex for the first time. I also used my salt water treatment. Combined it worked wonders and I was sick for a much shorter time than any of my friends.

BoyWonder's avatar

@ Xenializ: can you tell me more about Mucinex?

RedPowerLady's avatar

@BoyWonder I know I’m not the person you asked. But basically it’s a pill and it works kinda like cough syrup or any typical nasal decongestant. It looses up your mucus so that it will get out of there. It may make your nose runny or you cough stuff up (gross but necessary) but that is why it is effective because it gets the nastiness out of there. You by it over the counter in the pharmacy area. Works pretty well. For me I also needed to use salt water but if you just have a minor issue it might work really well.

xenializ's avatar

@BoyWonder Mucinex is the brand name for GUAIFENESIN—which has been used in cough syrups like Robitussen for a long time. It helps thin the mucus and makes coughs more productive. Like @RedPowerLady says, it gets the nastiness out of there.

I use it even without a cough, especially if I’ve got a lot of pressure from mucus in my nose and sinuses. It just gets stuff flowing, and out of your head, and I haven’t had any side effects.

I try not to take a lot of unnecessary drugs, but this is one I keep on hand for those bad colds.

I like it because unlike a decongestant that supposedly dries up mucus (which doesn’t help it get out of the body), it helps the mucus flow out. I haven’t experienced drowsiness or insomnia with it, either.

There are a lot of other issues that people use guaifenesin for, such as increasing the fluidity of cervical mucus for fertility purposes. Some also use it as an alternative therapy for treating fibromyalgia symptoms.

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