Try these measures to relieve your stuffy nose:
* Steam. One of the simplest ways to break up congestion is to inhale steam from a hot shower or a kettle of boiling water. Bring 4 to 6 cups of water to a boil, then make a tent over your head with a bath towel to concentrate the steam. Adding 3 drops of eucalyptus oil to the water may provide even more benefit. Be patient; it may take 10 to 15 minutes for this method to work.
* Fluids. Drink plenty of liquids, such as water, juice or tea to help thin mucus. Avoid caffeinated beverages, which can cause dehydration and aggravate your symptoms.
* Chicken soup. Lots of soups are soothing, but chicken soup has been shown to speed the movement of mucus through the nasal passages. This helps relieve congestion and limit the amount of time viruses are in contact with the nasal lining.
* Salt water. Use an over-the-counter nasal saline spray or prepare your own saltwater solution. Both can be extremely effective at relieving congestion.
* Breathing strips. Most drugstores and some supermarkets sell adhesive strips that you place across the bridge of your nose. These strips open the nasal passages, allowing you to breathe more freely.
* Decongestants. Beware of over-the-counter decongestants. If used for more than 2 or 3 days, they can actually make congestion worse. All decongestants — oral or topical — may have a stimulant effect and raise blood pressure in some people. Children shouldn't use them at all; there's no evidence that they work in children, and they can have serious side effects. Gentler options such as steam, nasal rinses and breathing strips are more effective and don't have side effects.