When the cold virus attacks the nasal passages, swelling occurs and mucous production is increased. This will result in congestion, stuffiness or runny nose, sometimes influencing the ears and producing a feeling that the whole head is congested 1. Aside from blocked sinuses and cold symptoms, head congestion can be worsened through lack of sleep, lying down too long, lack of exercise or food allergies 1. Over-the-counter medicines can work. Sudafed and other products are effective as decongestants by shrinking blood vessels and swollen membranes in the nasal passages. Nasal sprays help if used properly. They will clear the nasal passages but can make the problem worse if they are overused.
To help deal with the uncomfortable feeling naturally, drink a lot of fluids, maybe twice or three times more than you usually do, according to Rutgers University health services. The fluids help keep the mucous thinner and prevent complications in the ears such as infections or bronchitis. Hot tea or spicy soups work to clear the sinuses. The old favorite, chicken soup, has been shown to relieve the dizzy feeling that sometimes accompanies head colds. Use steam inhalation for about 10 minutes, three to four times a day. Steam from a teapot, vaporizer, hot compresses or even a hot shower can clear the mucous and help open the sinus passages. Avoid alcohol, which draws water from the body’s cells and interferes with the body’s natural responses to improve the system.
Another way to attack congestion is with cold and hot water to move blood about. This idea comes from seekinghealth.com and supposedly works by pulling the blood away from your head to your feet. Put a pair of light cotton socks in a bowl of ice water or place in the freezer. Heat your feet in a bucket of hot water or take a hot bath. After drying the feet, wring out the cold cotton socks and immediately put them on the feet. Cover with a pair of dry wool socks. Leave them on during sleep or even the next day.
Point pressure exercises, according to Acupressure.com, are also known to relieve nasal congestion 2. Place your thumbs on the upper ridge of you eye sockets to press into the slight hollow near the bridge of your nose. Do this for one minute while you close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Let the weight of your head relax forward onto your thumbs. Or, place both of your middle and index fingers beside each side of your nostrils. Press up and underneath the cheekbones for 1 minute.
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