What are some ways to deal with sinus congestion?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
A new study shows that sometimes that stuffy, pressured, my-head's-gonna-explode sinus feeling is triggered by heated air and humidity, not actual congestion. In this case, cold, dry air helps most.

Think about it. You know how sometimes when you feel totally congested, stepping outside on a cold, crisp day opens up your nasal passages in minutes? When you go back inside, back comes the stuffiness. Sucking on a menthol drop helps, too; just the sensation of coolness clears your sinuses.

Of course, if it's the real deal -- you can tell from tissues that your head is a mucus fiesta, and you feel like you're breathing through a mask -- don't let it get worse. In addition to a blocked nose you'll get sinus headaches, hacking and a full-blown sinus infection. (Honey may help your cough, and that sinus infection, too.)

Put your neti pot to work daily. Just fill it with salt water and rinse your sinuses, pouring the water in one nostril and letting it run out the other. If you've never tried this, it sounds weird but it's not uncomfortable. And it works.

Continue Learning about Rhinitis


The are two kinds of rhinitis (pronounced rye-NITIS): allergic and non-allergic. In allergic rhinitis (also called hay fever) your nose starts to run and your eyes itch because you are breathing something you are allergic to - -su...

uch as pollens, smoke or even perfumes. An allergist can help determine what you are allergic to and to determine if allergy shots might help. Some people have non-allergic rhinitis (not caused by allergies) that can last all year. The symptoms are a runny nose, nasal inflammation and stuffiness. Causes of this kind of rhinitis can be pollution, smoke or can be a side effect of medicines. There are effective ways to control non-allergic rhinitis including nasal sprays and decongestants; however, it's always safe to check with a doctor or pharmacist before beginning any medication. The right diagnosis is critical to controlling and treating your rhinitis.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.