How to Keep Head Congestion From Going Into Lungs

Head congestion is an annoying side effect from a cold or flu. When a virus attacks, the nasal passages swell and produce mucus. This results in congestion. Nasal congestion, sometimes called sinusitis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC, is not usually dangerous. However, congestion in the lungs can lead to a chronic cough, which can become a very serious condition.

A woman with a cold lays in bed, next to an end table with assorted medications on it. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Step 1

Drink fluids to thin congestion. Keep a water glass at your bedside and drink water each time you wake up during the night.

Step 2

Eat nutritious foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, because they are high in vitamins. Fruit juice is a good choice because it offers nutrition.

Step 3

Blow your nose frequently. Nasal secretions can harbor bacteria and viruses that could cause further congestion. The sooner you get rid of these secretions, the better. Put tissues next to the bed and blow your nose each time you wake up.

Step 4

Sleep with your head elevated by using an extra pillow or two. Medline Plus suggests sleeping with your head elevated to lessen head congestion and ease one of its side effects, tinnitus. This allows congestion to drain from the head. Try to get six to eight hours of sleep each night.

Step 5

Use nasal spray to thin nasal congestion and a humidifier to thin secretions deeper in the sinus cavities. Thinning these secretions will make it easier to get rid of them.

Step 6

Breathe deeply and cough frequently to expel any congestion that has seeped from your head into your lungs. Coughing out secretions may keep them from building up in your lungs.

Step 7

Breathe through your nose, especially in cold weather. Your nose is specially designed to warm, moisten and filter the air. Blow your nose before going into the cold so the nose can do its job.

Step 8

Take prescription drugs your doctor has ordered, including antibiotics. If you have not yet seen a doctor for this ailment, several over-the-counter products are available that help relieve a congested head.

Step 9

Wash your hands frequently to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria to others. This may also prevent you from catching more viruses that may lead to chest congestion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, says washing your hands is one of the most important steps in preventing the spread of germs.

Things You'll Need

  • Tissues

  • Pillows

  • Nasal spray

  • Humidifier

Tip

Tissues with soothing lotion are available to prevent irritation to the nose.

Use hand wipes to keep hands clean.

Warning

Do not stick foreign objects in the nostrils in an attempt to clear congestion.

Chest congestion can be a life-threatening condition. Seek help immediately if it becomes hard to breathe.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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