Sneezing, congestion and running nose? Here is what you do at home

If you are experiencing sneezing accompanied with a light headache, sore throat and running nose, very simple, stay home, rest, hydrate and continue supporting your body’s immune health. It may be sensitivity to the environment, seasonal allergy or a common cold and you can improve your symptoms with simple home remedies. You are probably under a lot of stress which causes your immune system to go down and your body’s protective mechanisms to become low.

Be aware that these are not signs of coronavirus. According to WHO World Health Organization, the most common symptoms of covid-19 are fever, dry cough and fatigue and most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.

Like any respiratory conditions, droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose needs to be contained and taken care of, to prevent infection. It is important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow or disposing your tissue safely).

Sneezing frequently can be debilitating specially if your nose is constantly dripping. Although it’s frustrating, be careful with your nose! Over-cleaning and blowing your nose too hard can damage the delicate mucosa. The majority of colds symptoms are caused by virus infection which the body can get rid of in short time.

However, if your symptoms get worse after that time, and you start to experience severe sore throat and cough with yellow sputum, then maybe you are experiencing a bacterial infection, you would require to see your doctor and may take antibiotics. In this case, taking probiotics 30 billions for a few weeks is a good approach in order to support your gut flora and prevent the side effects of the medications.

Besides rest, calming the mind and keeping a good diet, here are the home remedies I recommend:

1- Hydrate

Start your morning drinking a full glass of water. Maintain 8-10 glasses of water daily, drink sugarless fruit juice or dilute 50/50 regular juice of your choice. 

Coconut water helps to replace electrolytes and sooth your throat

Add lemon or lime to your water to motivate you to hydrate.

2- Facial steam with essential oils

Inhaling warm steam can help soothe the mucous and improve nose congestion.

Boil water and place it in a large bowl. Add 4 drops of essential oils in the water. You may choose eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint or use Vicks or Tiger Balm.

Cover your head with a large towel and let the steam soak your face. Breath through your nose in and out. Have a tissue paper ready if you need to blow your nose. Do the facial steam twice a day for a few days.

3- Gargle with salt

Add Himalayan salt in a glass of warm water. Gargle a few times a day when you feel the symptoms are coming. 

4- Nose rinse

Another great home remedy is to wash your nostrils with saline solution using a neti pot. It soothes the mucosa of your sinus and clear germs. Remember to bring the chin to your chest and turn your head to the side before using the Neti pot. It is common to feel sensitive when you first start the treatment and you will get used to it.

5-Guia’s peppermint tea with ginger

I like to make this tea for my kids when I notice congestion and running nose. You may want to make a larger quantity and keep drinking it throughout the day or just make one cup at a time.

1cup of hot water

1Tbsp of peppermint leaves either fresh of dehydrated

2 small slices of ginger

1 tbsp of honey

1 slice of lemon

1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients and let it sit for 10 min to soak the nutritious flavours. Sip slowly.

6- Add spicy foods in your diet

Increase the consumption of raw garlic, ginger, radish, mustard, and chilli pepper. These are excellent foods for a temporary relief of sinus congestion and headache.

7- Hot soups

Choose vegetable of your choice( butternut squash, carrot, potato, cabbage) or lentils, and beans. There are plenty of soup recipes online that you can choose from. I would add cayenne pepper, paprika, coriander, turmeric, lots of ginger and garlic to your recipe, to give you an immune boost and support your digestion.

Other precautions

Supplements such as Vit C. can be very effective in preventing cold symptoms. It is suggested to take between 500-1000mg /day. 

Clean your hands often, do not touch your eyes and be aware of the spread of the infection. 

Also use a dust mask if doing work outdoor and take a warm shower, keep the windows closed during allergy season, and use air conditioning when necessary

Practicing good hygiene is important and often can help stop germs from spreading. Have good bedtime routine, add extra pillows, keep your head elevated to allow you to get enough sleep and allow your body to gain strength to heal itself.


It is important to consult with your doctor before taking any herbal or natural supplements to make sure they don’t interfere with any of the medications you are currently taking.

Guiomar Campbell

View posts by Guiomar Campbell
Guiomar is a performing artist and an Integrated Health Practitioner with over 20 years of experience in depression and anxiety disorders. She has a degree in nursing and obstetrics from the Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Brazil. She received her diploma in shiatsu therapy in 1995 and a diploma in acupuncture in 1999 at the Shiatsu School of Canada where she worked for 15 years as a shiatsu instructor in the diploma program. She is a member in good standing of College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturist of Ontario (CTCMPAO). Guiomar specializes in men and women’s reproductive health, gynecology, pregnancy and post partum care. She also has lots of experience treating digestive issues, migraine headache, and insomnia.

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