Home treatment for congestion with an upper respiratory infection includes: includes 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
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- Fahey T, Stocks N, Thomas T. Systematic review of the treatment of upper respiratory tract infection. Arch Dis Child. 1998 Sep;79(3):225-30. 
- Islam J, Carter R. Use of Echinacea in upper respiratory tract infection. South Med J. 2005 Mar;98(3):311-8. 
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- Ray DA, Rohren CH. Characteristics of patients with upper respiratory tract infection presenting to a walk-in clinic. Mayo Clin Proc. 2001 Feb;76(2):169-73.