Dealing With Throat Congestion
We all experience throat congestion from time to time. It may just last for a day or so if we have a cold, and somewhat longer with the flu, bronchitis, or other disorders which tend sometimes to linger on. The environment we are in can contribute to throat congestion as well, and if we live or work where the air is polluted, our throat problems may become chronic.
Throat congestion can be a real nuisance, but usually is no more than that. If accompanied by pain, fever, or difficulty in swallowing however, it may be best to see your care provider, especially if there is no near term improvement or the condition appears to be getting worse. If it's just a matter of congestion, and noting more, there are a number of ways to deal with it, mostly with things you have around the house.
There are things that can one can chew, gargled with, inhale, or drink to loosen the mucus and otherwise combat throat congestion, including things found in most kitchens. If you've ever put a little too much horseradish on something you're eating you know how quickly it can clear up the sinus passages, and any other congestion you might be suffering. The relief may be somewhat temporary, and we usually don't wish to nibble on horseradish all day to keep congestion away, even though it might work. Too much horseradish might bring on its own set of problems. But you get the idea. There are things we can eat that seem to always offer some temporary relief, and sometimes produce more permanent results.
Salt Is A Great Congestion Fighter - Consider warm salt water, one of the best "medications" for breaking up mucus. Gargling with salt water is good whether one has congestion or not, but not many of us think of a salt water gargle in terms of a remedy. Perhaps we were brought up knowing that if stranded in a life boat in the ocean, drinking salt water to quench the thirst is counterproductive, and one will simply die more quickly. Actually, a little salt water won't hurt, but that's another story. A salt water gargles one of the most effective things one can do to relieve throat congestion, and swallowing a little of it won't hurt you one bit.
Garlic Is Great Also- If salt water or horseradish don't appeal to you there's always garlic. Fresh, crushed garlic not only breaks up congestion but has medicinal value as well, having both anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. A few cloves a day will often do the trick. If you chew on it, and eat that much per day, you'll probably keep people at a distance too. Not a bad thought if they have a throat infection, but the garlic will keep healthy people at a distance as well!
Herbs And Spices - Check out the spice cabinet, as there are several herbs and spices which effectively loosen congestion. Licorice root is one, turmeric is another. As far as turmeric is concerned, it's recommended that it be mixed in some milk, perhaps with a pinch of salt. Turmeric is an infection fighter, and a teaspoon of it in a glass of milk should be sufficient. Ginger extract and eucalyptus oil are two other herbal remedies worth considering. Eucalyptus oil can be ingested, but eucalyptus leaves which have been crushed, added to boiling water, and the steam then inhaled, will usually clear up congestion in no time. Maybe when you were young you spent some time sitting over a hot plate with a towel over your head inhaling some mixture designed to clear up your throat and sinuses. Eucalyptus is a very pleasant aroma to inhale, besides being a powerful decongestant.
Prevention - Of course there are things that one can do to help prevent throat infections or throat congestion in the first place. Avoid areas where the air is polluted whenever possible. Don't smoke, smoking is about the worst thing one can do if one has any kind of a throat problem. Avoiding ice cold foods can help, as can bundling up when going out into the cold weather. Also, increasing the daily intake of Vitamin C can be helpful. Anything that keeps you in basic good health, and most importantly, keeps your immune system in top-notch shape can keep incidents of throat congestion to a minimum.