Congestion in medical usage means an unusual accumulation of body fluids. This normally occurs as a natural bodily reaction to infections and allergies. The immune system protects the body by the activities of the white blood cells called Leucocytes. There are different types of leucocytes for varied functions. When a foreign body is detected by the immune system, it increases the blood supply to the area to fight out the infective agents or allergens. Both in infections and allergies, additional fluid is produced to wash out these foreign substances adding to congestion. Suffering from a cold or nasal congestion is often distressing.
Over-the-counter nasal congestion remedies like naphazoline, oxymetazoline or phenylephrine, and pseudoephedrine are available in nasal-administered and tablet forms. Nasal decongestants provide relief from cold and nasal congestion after a three-day use while oral drugs can be used for up to a week. By that time, the body gets used to them. The FDA, however, does not permit any of these for use for children who are less than 4 years old.
That being the condition of over-the-counter congestion remedies, one has to resort to time-tested home remedies for quick relief. Drink plenty of fluids; warm ones are better. Home remedies such as saline rinse and steam inhalation are also beneficial in providing relief from cold and nasal congestion. One can also put a few drops of eucalyptus oil, a few grains of camphor, or menthol when inhaling the steam. They are vasoconstrictors and help provide relief from cold and nasal congestion.
Congestions have many causative factors. These congestion remedies can provide relief from cold and nasal congestion; however, if the condition persists for more than 7 to 10 days or if one has a high fever that worsens by each passing day, it would be best to consult a doctor. A timely consultation will help in the effective treatment of the condition.