Health and wellbeing expert Dr Michael Mosley recommended how best to treat a blocked nose after research found the drug in over-the-counter cold medicine doesn’t work when you swallow it.
He explained research for the US Food and Drug administrations found products that contain phenylephrine are “pretty useless at unblocking nose”, while writing for Mail Online.
He advised if you want to use phenylephrine it needs to be in a nasal spray, rather than swallowed in a pill or hot drink. But two things he uses himself to fix a blocked nose are menthol steam and pillows.
He said: “Steam thins out your nasal mucus. I found that a combination of doing this and drinking plenty of water (which keeps you from getting dehydrated and also thins out the mucus) helps.”
While the menthol doesn’t act as a decongestant, the strong fumes trick your brain into thinking you’re breathing more easily.
Dr Mosley added using a pillow to prop yourself up can also help reduce the bunged up feeling.
He said: “I propped myself up with pillows at night, because that way gravity ensured the snot went down my throat, reducing pressure on my sinuses.”
The NHS says decongestants should only be used between one and four times a day.
You should also check the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine for advice about how much to take and how often to take it.
The health body adds: “Decongestant nasal sprays and drops should not be used for more than a week at a time because using them for too long can make your stuffiness worse.
“Speak to a GP if your symptoms do not improve after this time.”
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