Case No. 5: Clearing Your Stuffy Nose
Forty-five—that's how many times a day we blow our nose when we get a cold. The problem: Each time we honk, the pressure pushes virus-and-bacteria-laden mucus into the sinuses, increasing the risk of a nasty sinus infection, found a study at the University of Virginia Health Science Center.
Try instead: Sniff, don't blow, at least not forcefully, says otolaryngologist Birgit Winther, MD, associate professor of clinical research at the University of Virginia. Sniffing is "more natural" because it carries mucus from the front to the back of the nose—and down to the stomach where the cold virus is killed. For severe congestion, Winther recommends a decongestant nasal spray during the day (up to three times) and an oral antihistamine (like Benadryl) at night (it reduces mucus by nearly 40 percent).