Facial or sinus pressure, mild
headache, or nasal stuffiness are common with a cold or
flu. Home treatment can help relieve your
Drink plenty of fluids. Extra fluids help keep
mucus thin and draining, which may help prevent blockage of the sinuses.
humidifier to keep the air in your home
Inhale steam from a vaporizer, or take long, steamy showers.
You may also try breathing the moist air from a bowl of hot water. Put a towel
over your head and the bowl to trap the moist air. Make sure the water isn't
too hot. Be careful not to get burned by the hot water or
saltwater nasal washes to help keep the nasal passages
open and wash out mucus and bacteria. It also may help to gargle with warm salt
water. [Add 1 tsp (5 g) to
16 fl oz (500 mL) of water.]
Put warm, wet
compresses on your eyes and cheekbones if you have pain around that area.
Washcloths dipped in hot water work well. Make sure the water is not too hot so
you do not get burned.
Avoid alcohol. It makes the tissues lining
your nose and sinuses swell up.
Do not swim in chlorinated swimming
pools. Chlorine can irritate nasal and sinus linings.
head at night. Some people find it helpful to sleep on 2 or 3
Decongestants can be taken by mouth or used as nose drops or sprays. Oral
decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), are probably more effective
and provide longer relief, but they cause more side effects. Sprays and drops
provide rapid but temporary relief.
Check with your doctor before using
nonprescription medicines if you have high blood pressure or kidney disease. Some state laws require that medicines containing pseudoephedrine (such as Sudafed) be kept
behind the pharmacist's counter or be prescribed. You may need to ask
the pharmacist for it or have a prescription from your doctor to buy the
Use decongestant nasal sprays sparingly and for only 3 days or less. Continued use may lead to a rebound effect, which causes the mucous membranes to become more swollen than they were before you started using the spray.
Note: Decongestants may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems. Before you use them, check the label. If you do use these medicines, always follow the directions about how much to use based on age and, in some cases, weight.
Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. Smoking slows
healing because it decreases blood supply and delays tissue repair. For more
information, see the topic
Medicine you can buy without a prescription
Try a nonprescription
medicine to help treat your fever or pain:
Aspirin (also a nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drug), such as Bayer or Bufferin
Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
Be sure to follow these
safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
Carefully read and follow all directions
on the medicine bottle and box.