When your nose and sinuses are all stuffed up because of a cold or allergy common pharmacy medicines such as decongestants and antihistamines can help. They come in different forms, and they're often mixed into combination formulas that you can buy without a prescription.
When you have a cold, virus-infected cells in the nose, sinuses, and throat attract a flood of white blood cells. These infection fighters churn out substances that kill the cold virus but also swell nasal membranes and make the body produce extra mucus.
In allergic rhinitis, the immune cells trigger the same type of response in the nose, sinuses and throat.
It pays to do a little homework to make sure you're picking the right medicine for your symptoms.
How Do Decongestants Work?
They help reduce swelling in the passageways of your nose, which relieves the feeling of pressure and improves the flow of air. You'll be able to breathe a whole lot better.
Decongestants come in pill form or nasal sprays. Don't use the sprays for more than 7 days, or you may get more stuffed up.
How Do Antihistamines Work?
Some types of them can help relieve your runny nose and sneezing when you have a cold.
They block a chemical your body makes called histamine that makes the tissues in your nose itch and swell.
Some combination products have a range of ingredients and separate formulas for day time or night time use.