Ways to deal with a stuffy nose

Ways to deal with a stuffy nose

Phlegm is a strangely spelled word for an equally strange substance made by the body. The “Ph” is pronounced as an “F,” and the “g” is silent. This thick, goopy secretion is the body’s counterattack against foreign bodies that invade it from time to time.

When dust, grass, pollens and other respiratory irritants enter the body, it responds by creating a mucous coat to trap them and prevent them from doing further harm. Exposure to these invaders is inevitable. Phlegm settles in the chest and throat.

Constant coughing is nothing more than trying to expel phlegm from the lungs. Persistent throat clearing is due to a post-nasal drip of phlegm. A runny nose is nothing more than a spigot of phlegm.

Phlegm may eventually become infected because it can contain bacteria and viruses, which can lead to upper respiratory tract infections, sinusitis and allergic symptoms.

The trick is to treat the backup of phlegm before it becomes infected. Steam from a shower is a highly effective way to loosen phlegm. Steaming dilutes the phlegm, changing it from a solid to more liquid state, which is easier to break up and remove. A towel surrounding the head over a steaming bowl of water with added essential oils such as eucalyptus oil, menthol, lavender oil, peppermint, sandalwood, basil and thyme oil also is a very successful congestion buster.

A tablespoon of table salt to a cup of warm water is a recipe for gargling. Many people gag at the thought of gargling, but tilting the head back and open mouth breathing through this mixture can dilute the thick, sticky phlegm and aid in breathing.

The healing power of honey is well-known. It can provide throat relief. It also is known to contain antiseptic, antibiotic, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. Honey also is regarded as an immune system booster that helps the body fight infection.

Mix about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with a tablespoon of honey in a glass of warm water. Drinking this mixture three times daily will loosen phlegm and reduce phlegm production.

Making a watery mixture of turmeric, ginger or cayenne pepper clears congestion by breaking up the phlegm, making it easier to be blown into a tissue. Fresh spices work the best. Apple cider vinegar also has been known for the breakdown of phlegm when mixed with warm water.

The healing powers of homemade chicken soup should not be dismissed as it has been proven to be very effective. Consuming multiple cups of chicken broth a day can help battle the phlegm and boost the immune system.

A strange but highly effective way to break up phlegm is horseradish. Blocking one nostril and taking a deep breath of a fresh jar of horseradish will cleanse the sinuses and cause phlegm to become drippy enough to blow into a tissue. Alternate the sides of the nose for the most effective treatment. Don’t let your drippy nose touch the jar of horseradish. It is a crazy treatment, but it works.

Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes care and education specialist and registered, licensed dietitian. Email her at bobbierandallrd@gmail.com.

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