The Best Decongestants for COVID-19 Relieving Symptoms

The Best Decongestants for COVID-19 Relieving Symptoms

The Best Decongestants for COVID-19 Relieving Symptoms

COVID-19 can cause a variety of symptoms, including nasal congestion. Decongestants can help to relieve this symptom by narrowing the blood vessels in the nose, which reduces inflammation and swelling.

There are two main types of decongestants: oral decongestants and nasal decongestant sprays.

Oral decongestants

Oral decongestants are available over-the-counter in the form of tablets, capsules, or liquids. Some common oral decongestants include pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and phenylephrine (Sudafed PE).

Oral decongestants should be taken with food to avoid stomach upset. They should also not be taken for more than 10 days without talking to a doctor.

Nasal decongestant sprays

Nasal decongestant sprays are also available over-the-counter. Some common nasal decongestant sprays include oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine).

Nasal decongestant sprays should not be used for more than 3 days in a row, as they can cause rebound congestion.

The best decongestant for you will depend on your individual symptoms and medical history. It is always best to talk to your doctor before taking any decongestant, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have any other underlying health conditions.

Here are some tips for choosing a decongestant for COVID-19:

  • Look for a decongestant that is labeled as “non-drowsy.”
  • Choose a decongestant that is available over-the-counter.
  • Start with the lowest possible dose and increase it as needed.
  • Do not take a decongestant for more than 10 days without talking to your doctor.

In addition to decongestants, there are other things you can do to relieve nasal congestion at home, such as:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Using a humidifier or taking a hot shower
  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Applying a warm compress to your sinuses

If your congestion is severe or does not improve after a few days, be sure to see your doctor.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind when taking decongestants:

  • Decongestants can interact with other medications, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking.
  • Decongestants can raise blood pressure, so people with high blood pressure should use them with caution.
  • Decongestants can also cause side effects such as anxiety, insomnia, and dry mouth. If you experience any of these side effects, stop taking the decongestant and talk to your doctor.

If you are looking for natural ways to relieve nasal congestion, some home remedies that may help include:

  • Echinacea: Echinacea is a herb that has been shown to boost the immune system and may help to shorten the duration of a cold.
  • Zinc: Zinc lozenges or nasal spray can help to reduce the severity of a cold.
  • Garlic: Garlic has antiviral and antibacterial properties that may help to fight off a cold.
  • Honey: Honey can help to soothe a sore throat and loosen mucus.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before taking any decongestants or other medications.

A Decongestant in Cold Medicines Doesn’t Work at All


Cold and flu season often sends us rushing to the pharmacy in search of relief. Among the myriad options available, decongestants have long been a popular choice. Promising to clear nasal passages and provide much-needed relief, these medications seem like a godsend. But is there more to the story? Recent studies suggest that the decongestant in cold medicines might not be as effective as we once thought.

The Promise of Decongestants

Decongestants are a common ingredient found in many over-the-counter cold medicines. They work by narrowing the blood vessels in the nasal passages, reducing swelling and congestion. This, in turn, allows for easier breathing and relief from the discomfort of a stuffy nose.

The Science Behind Decongestants

To understand why decongestants might not work as well as we hope, it’s important to delve into the science behind them. The active ingredient in most decongestants is pseudoephedrine, a sympathomimetic amine. It mimics the effects of the sympathetic nervous system, causing vasoconstriction.

The Problem with Pseudoephedrine

Diminished Efficacy Over Time

One of the main issues with pseudoephedrine is its diminishing efficacy over time. Initially, it may provide relief, but with continued use, the body can build a tolerance. This means that over-the-counter decongestants may become less effective the more you use them.

Potential Side Effects

Moreover, pseudoephedrine is not without its side effects. These can include increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and even difficulty sleeping. For individuals with certain medical conditions, using decongestants can be risky and may exacerbate existing health issues.

Natural Alternatives to Decongestants

Saline Nasal Sprays

For those seeking an alternative to decongestants, saline nasal sprays offer a gentle and natural solution. By flushing the nasal passages with a saline solution, they can help clear mucus and reduce inflammation.

Steam Inhalation

Another effective method is steam inhalation. This involves inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water, which can help moisturize nasal passages and provide relief from congestion.


While decongestants have long been a staple in the medicine cabinet, it’s important to recognize their limitations. The active ingredient, pseudoephedrine, may not offer the long-term relief we hope for. Considering natural alternatives like saline sprays and steam inhalation can provide a safer and potentially more effective solution.


  1. Are decongestants safe for everyone to use?
    • Decongestants may not be suitable for individuals with certain medical conditions. It’s best to consult with a healthcare professional before use.
  2. Can I become addicted to decongestants?
    • While addiction is rare, dependence on decongestants can occur with prolonged and excessive use.
  3. How often should I use a saline nasal spray?
    • It is generally safe to use a saline nasal spray multiple times a day, as needed.
  4. Are there any contraindications for steam inhalation?
    • Individuals with respiratory conditions like asthma should exercise caution with steam inhalation, as it may exacerbate symptoms.
  5. What are some natural ways to prevent colds and congestion?
    • Maintaining good hygiene practices, staying hydrated, and getting regular exercise can help bolster the immune system and reduce the likelihood of colds.

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