Flu Congestion in Adults
Home treatment measures for congestion in adults with influenza include general measures and medications. Medications include oral decongestants, decongestant nasal sprays and antihistamines.
- Blow your nose gently. Forceful blowing can cause pain and bleeding.
- Apply petroleum jelly to the nostrils if the skin becomes dry.
- Drink plenty of liquids.
- Place a vaporizer or nebulizer in the bedroom at night.
- Use saline (saltwater) nose spray, such as Ocean Nasal Mist: saline helps to keep the lining of nasal passages moist. Saline may be used to flush the nasal passages:
Oral decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), help to thin the mucus responsible for the congestion. Decongestants are safe for adults and adolescents.
- Decongestants can elevate the blood pressure. Do not use oral decongestants if you have high blood pressure.
- Talk to your doctor before you take oral decongestants if you have:
Decongestant nasal sprays, such as pseudoephedrine (Afrin) can relieve congestion faster than oral medications.
- Afrin Nasal Spray
- Duration Nasal Spray
- Four-Way Fast Nasal Spray
- Neo-Synephrine Nasal Spray
- Vicks Sinex Nasal Spray
- Do not use decongestant nasal sprays for longer than 3 days. After three days, the nasal tissues become dependent on the medication. When the medication is stopped, the nasal tissue swells and congestion worsens.
Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) brompheniramine and chlorpheniramine, dry nasal tissue.
- Sudafed Cold and Allergy Tablets
- Triaminic Syrup
- Tylenol Allergy Sinus Medication
Continue to Flu Congestion in Children
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Ebell MH, White LL, Casault T. A systematic review of the history and physical examination to diagnose influenza. J Am Board Fam Pract. 2004 Jan-Feb;17(1):1-5. 
- Flu.gov, HHS Interagency Public Affairs Group on Influenza Preparedness and Response
- Jefferson T, Smith S, Demicheli V, Harnden A, Rivetti A, Di Pietrantonj C. Assessment of the efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines in healthy children: systematic review. Lancet. 2005 Feb 26-Mar 4;365(9461):773-80. 
- Montalto NJ. An office-based approach to influenza: clinical diagnosis and laboratory testing. Am Fam Physician. 2003 Jan 1;67(1):111-8. 
- Strategy for Off-Site Rapid Triage(c) (SORT) and Real-time Epidemiological Assessment for Community Health(c) (REACH), Emory University, Principal Investigators: Alexander Isakov, MD, MPH; Arthur Kellermann, MD, MPH, Collaboration with the Emory at Grady Health Literacy Team (Ruth Parker, MD; Kara Jacobson, MPH, CHES; Lorenzo DiFrancesco, MD)
- VHA Office of Public Health Surveillance and Research; Influenza Algorithm Work Group