View Full Version : what to use to break up sinus congestion

04-25-2007, 12:49 PM
I have had this darn cold for over a week now, I thought I was getting better, but now my sinuses are getting conjested again and I need to get them to drain.

I took sudafed, and nothing I blow, (sorry this is kind of gross), the stuff is there, but wont drain out.

Is there something else that will help with this



04-25-2007, 01:03 PM
Mucinex!!! The package says it's to thin chest congestion, but it thins all mucous, the stuff in your sinuses too (my doctor confirmed this when I asked him). I was using it every day for the last couple weeks. It helped a LOT. I know how miserable that congestion makes you. Hope you feel better soon!

04-25-2007, 01:05 PM
Have you tried Mucinex -- always works well for me. Hope you feel better!

04-25-2007, 01:16 PM
Thanks, I think it was Mucinex my mom gave me a few pills to try, I took it when I first started my cold because it was in my chest at first and really helped that

Now off to the the drugstore!

And also, I blew so hard this morning something happened to my ear. I got a piercing pain and now its slightly painful. I sure hope I didnt do anything to it as I am flying to Italy in 3 weeks!


04-25-2007, 01:30 PM
If the ear doesn't improve soon once you get stuff to drain get it looked at as you may have blown your ear drum. It may also be infected which is what almost always happens to me if I get a lot of head congestion. Good luck, these kinds of colds are miserable!

04-25-2007, 01:57 PM
I was just at the Dr. last week for the same thing. She told me to use Mucinex D not just the Mucinex. She said the D has sudafed in it too.

I hope you feel better!

04-25-2007, 02:00 PM
I will warn you that I tried to use Mucinex a few weeks ago when I had the flu and had horrible chest congestion. It gave me horrible, nasty diarrhea. Just a warning.

One thing I do when I have bad sinus congestion is to lay down and put a hot compress on my face. It seems to help break it up to the point where I can blow my nose.

And drink lots of water.

Hope you're feeling better.

04-25-2007, 02:42 PM
Neilmed! I highly recommend this product. It sounds kind of gross and it's not the kind of thing you want an audience for but it really helps. I've reduced both the number and severity of my sinus infections significantly. My whole family uses it - including 7 yo DS!


04-25-2007, 03:19 PM
Drug marketing is a powerful thing. Mucinex just an expectorant, or guaifenesin, which is also found in many Robitussin products too.

I would take something with guaifenesin and a decongestant, like Sudafed.

04-25-2007, 03:39 PM
The nice thing about mucinex is that it is a long-acting form of guafenisen (sp?), so you only have to take it twice a day. For me, that is a lot easier than trying to remember to take robutussin every 4 hours to get the same effect.

Since you are so blocked up, definitely don't take sudafed unless you are also taking something like mucinex or robitussin. Decongestants are designed to dry things up -- exactly what you *don't* need right now. There have been threads about sinus/nasal rinses before. If you can stand to do it, it really does help, but it is certainly not for everyone.

04-25-2007, 04:31 PM
Regardless of which med you use, also get a saline ( salt water) nose spray. It can be used as often as you want and it will wash out your sinuses. It is amazing. The one I use is Ayr because it hase the best force of spray. I now refill that bottle with generic spray.

04-25-2007, 04:50 PM
In regards to the sudafed, Clariea, thats what it feels like its doing, drying me up but not draining.

That nasal gel from looks great


04-25-2007, 05:15 PM
I agree that taking something to dry you up isn't a good idea if you are trying to get the stuff to loosen up and drain. I would just do the mucinex (or generic form, whatever) and take an antihistimine so you quit sneezing (which produces more mucous), but not a decongestant. I hate the decongestants and believe (just based on me and my experiences, so it's anecdotal, I know) that they make me much worse and I always get a sinus infection when I take them. Mucous was meant to "wash out" viruses. When you dry it up, everything stays locked up in your sinus cavity. To me it makes more sense to allow the mucous to run and drain and carry all the virus out.

Taking one med to dry you out while taking another one to make you run seems counterproductive to me. I could be wrong.

04-25-2007, 05:32 PM
Check out sinusbusters.com

It is a pepper spray. I usually get a couple of sinus infections a year. At first sign of sinus congestion I use this and I have not had an ifection (knock on wood) in over a year.

04-25-2007, 05:46 PM
Well, here I go again, talking to the wall. But I am a believer in doing it the natural way first before resorting to all that man made c#*p. If you want to open up your breathing passages, try eating something with hot sauce or hot peppers in it. Make yourself some nice spicy tacos. Put some hot sauce on your scrambled eggs in the morning.

Also, like I have said many times here, pineapple juice is suppose to be natures decongestant. All this works for me and my family. I hope it works for you.

Does anyone else have any homemade suggestions?

Peggy C.
04-25-2007, 07:32 PM
I Don't know cookieee, however I do agree that hot stuff seems to help me and I used to take something prescribed daily. I don't even remember what now. Also A LOT of fresh air helps....oh and sneeze when you can, it breaks up congestion too. (obviously not on anyone!)

04-25-2007, 07:51 PM
I agree with natural methods. All the other methods don't really work for me and I don't know how to do nasal sprays. The few times I tried it ended up running down my throat and everything was burning like hell.

Take a long hot shower or use steam...and eat wasabi!


04-25-2007, 09:16 PM
Some suggestions:

Take a warm shower.

Use Vicks Vaporub.

Drink some hot tea or chicken broth.

Use a vaporizer.

Hope you feel better soon!

04-25-2007, 09:28 PM
I second (or 3rd or 4th) the guafinesen recommendation. It saved a vacation for me! My husband & I took an anniversary trip to Seattle, and both had terrible colds. Mine was so bad, and my sinuses so plugged, that I could barely talk. We found a cold med with guafinesen, and were both amazed at how well it cleared our sinuses. We were able to enjoy our vacation!

04-25-2007, 10:05 PM
I tend to use hot steam and also mucinex. What really helps is to hang your head off the side of the bed for a bit since the sinus drain hole are at the top of the sinus--so the goop pools below the drainage tubes. Hand upside down for a bit and massage your sinuses. It will get things moving!

04-25-2007, 10:20 PM
For my sinus health I've ordered Sinus Rinse from drugstore.com and I'm also thinking about ordering a NetiPot. The thought of putting liquid up my nose bothers me, but many people seem to think it stops their sinus problems and infections. I'm still on the fence about this procedure.

Lucy Lou
04-25-2007, 10:22 PM
I sometimes use those breathe right strips on my nose, when things get bad. They do help me at night when I can't breathe and I'm trying to sleep. They open the passages a bit more.

04-27-2007, 10:45 AM
I had a miserable morning, but hope its for the best. My sinuses finally opened up and drained for an hour. I am exhausted! I have been taking the musinex and drinking a ton of water. Today marks the 11th day I have had this so I do hope things will get better from here.


04-27-2007, 10:53 AM
Just curious, did you try any of the "natural" suggestions?

04-27-2007, 03:05 PM
cookee, I didnt try any of the alternative mehtods. Intersting I did a search on Guaifisen. I towas originally derived from a plant and they were able to make it synthetically


04-27-2007, 04:00 PM
For my sinus health I've ordered Sinus Rinse from drugstore.com and I'm also thinking about ordering a NetiPot. The thought of putting liquid up my nose bothers me, but many people seem to think it stops their sinus problems and infections. I'm still on the fence about this procedure.

I've used a NetiPot before and, while odd, it really does work wonders. I was in Vegas for a getaway when I got sick. My travelling companion had a friend who lived there. He was into yoga and all sort of a homeopathics. He set up the NetiPot and taught me how to use it. It cleared me right up. Once you use it, your nose and sinuses are clear and the air seems crisp. Of course, I did end up clogging up again because it turned out I has strep throat with my cold. But if you are into natural remedies, I'd recommend the NetiPot.

As for the decongenstant talk, isn't that supposed to make you drain? An antihistamine is what dries you up. Am I wrong?

04-27-2007, 04:16 PM
I learned about neti pots (http://www2.oprah.com/health/oz/oz_20070426_350_105.jhtml) last night on Oprah. Dh has sinus problems and I told him it sounded like a great idea. He just looked at me like I was crazy.

04-27-2007, 04:24 PM
I am kind of confused on the Neti pot. Why not jus use the saline sprays? Looks like you are basicly doing the same thing except the neti pot looks like a watering can.

04-27-2007, 05:40 PM
It's been my experience that with the saline sprays, you're sort of just sucking the stuff up your nose. With the neti pot, you're literally flushing the junk up through your sinuses and back out (pause) your mouth. I know it's gross, but that's what it does. It's been years since I used one, but I may have to check into getting one. It really does help.E

ETA: Okay, I checked out the Oprah link and they show it draining the water out the other nostril. That may be the desired way to do it. And maybe that's what I really did all those years ago. For some reason, I have a memory of the stuff just running out my nose and mouth too. Ick. I hope it was just the other nostril. Apologies to anyone I've completely grossed out.

04-27-2007, 06:47 PM
TKay, one review I read said it was far better to send it out through your mouth. The person had tried both ways. I found the reviews when I put NetiPot in the Google search bar.

04-27-2007, 07:00 PM
I used a NetiPot once and almost drowned, at least that is what it felt like. I am sorry to say it did not work for me. I do have to say I have a friend that swears by it and uses it as a preventative.

04-27-2007, 07:44 PM
I used a NetiPot once and almost drowned, at least that is what it felt like. I am sorry to say it did not work for me. I do have to say I have a friend that swears by it and uses it as a preventative.
Did you add salt to the water? The consensus from Dr. Oz was that plain water, especially cold, would definitely give you the feeling of drowning ... something about the tissues needing saltwater.

04-28-2007, 04:15 AM
I did use the salt. I think it was me, I poured too fast.

04-28-2007, 06:59 AM
The Neilmed is similar to the Neti Pot except it's a bottle that allows you to use a little pressure based on how you squeeze it. I use distilled water warmed in the microwave then add the saline packet. Neilmed says that a saline spray - with the small amount of fluid released - can't compare with the results that a large volume flush can give you. The saline spray will be soothing but it's not enough to clean out the passages and remove allergens. Based on my experiences, I would agree.

I appologize for the details but the fluid will run from one nostril through the other and out of the mouth. It's not glamorous but IMO it makes such a difference, it doesn't matter.

04-28-2007, 08:09 AM
I am another one who swears by Mucinex. The higher dose and extended release formula of it seem to make it work much better than the plain Robitussin, at least for me.

04-28-2007, 08:12 AM
DH used the Neilmed -- on the rec of a friend who got it from her allergist. I resisted the idea for a long time, but had to try it a couple of months ago. I was having the worst sinus trouble I've had for a long time. It really did help and it wasn't worth the worry I put into the front end of it. I had a hard time getting over the idea of putting water up my nose, but the above description is right on -- and you never feel like you are drowning or anything. It really isn't a bad thing and the bottle gives you total control.

04-28-2007, 12:50 PM
I use the Neilmed, too. It has worked wonders on my sinuses. I have allergies and was constantly getting a bad sinus infection. Since I use the Neilmed, my sinus issues have dropped tremendously.

I bought my Neilmed at Walgreens in the sinus/allergy section.

04-29-2007, 06:28 PM
TKay, one review I read said it was far better to send it out through your mouth. The person had tried both ways. I found the reviews when I put NetiPot in the Google search bar.

Then maybe I did it the right way!

Laurielee, how are you feeling? Any relief?

04-30-2007, 09:07 AM
A few years ago, when I had a cold for weeks I couldn't shake, a doctor prescribed Claritin and it seemed to really work for me, as far as helping me breath through my nose, etc. Since, I've started taking Claritin everyday for allergies, I've found that I haven't had any really bad congestion with colds since. I've had colds, but no awful congestion. Could be a coincidence, but I think it helps. You can now get Claritin over-the-counter.

I like the pineapple juice suggestion though and will mentally file it. I would rather not take allergy drugs everyday, but my life is miserable if I don't, so there isn't much choice for me. I do like trying natural remedies though.

04-30-2007, 11:36 AM
I actually feel almost normal today. Friday and Saturday I had huge drainage, making me miserable but thats what I needed.

I dont this if this helped or not, but when I got up, I took my bottle of saline spray and tilted my head back and it went up and out thru my mouth yuk! I did sthis several times during the day

I am going to check out that Neilmed since they carry at it Walgreens to see if its something I want to keep on hand


04-30-2007, 02:33 PM
I use my Netipot almost daily in allergy season, which for me is basically all spring, summer and fall. I'm allergic to grass pollen and this has been the best preventative medicine and then also helps when I'm congested. I've always flushed out through the other nostril, maybe I should try tilting my head more towards the back so it goes through the mouth?

Also, I do warm water with 1/2 t salt plus 1/4 t baking soda. I'm not sure why the baking soda, but another friend with terrible allergies recommended it and it seems to help when I'm really bad off.

I'm going to keep the pineapple juice in mind too!

05-01-2007, 06:26 AM
Big NeilMed fan here....after all my sinus stuff last year (tumor, etc) I was told I should use the NeilMed sinus rinse forever. I know docs and nurses that use it daily to ward off issues in this dry Denver climate. BTW, the baking soda neutralizes the salt somewhat. I understand the plain salt water can be a bit harsh up there. The only time I cannot use it is when I am sooo plugged up-it causes too much pressure on my ears.

I quit using any antihistamine products when I have a cold or sinus junk. It dries the mucus too much and it can't run out. The Sudafed-type products alone are better. Also use Mucinex per the ENT doc but I am not sure how responsive I was to it.

05-01-2007, 01:28 PM
Dr. Oz was on the Oprah show last week and he demonstrated the NetiPot. They got someone from the audience to try it and she swore it worked. It's kinda like a bidet for the sinuses. They said you could get one at Walgreen's or CVS. They look like little teapots.