Great White Snark: Trust me, I'm a Blogger.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Trust me, I'm a Blogger.

So I'm no doctor or fact, I'm pretty much as far from a doctor as you can get. But having spent my entire life with a somewhat sickly constitution, I've tried just about every remedy in the book: nettie pots, ear candles, IV's, nebulizers...the whole nine. I just want to rec one that I find extremely soothing and effective. And it's free. And since it's cold/flu season, I figured maybe someone might find it useful. Not that I'd wish a cold or flu on any of my readers.
Just humor me, guys.

Using steam to clear sinuses, nasal, and lung congestion is one of the oldest and most "tried and true" home remedies. There were some studies a while back about whether or not steaming killed the cold/flu virus (apparently viruses die at 109 degress...who knew, right?), but the jury's still out on that one. BUT it is pretty conclusive that using steam helps loosen up congestion and when you have a cold, you pretty much want ANYTHING that will bring some relief.

So here's a step-by-step.

1. Boil water.

Pretty self-explanatory. You won't need tons and tons. I'd say 2 cups or 3 cups would be the max. You're just using it for the steam.

2. Pour into a glass bowl.

Any glass bowl will work, as long as it can hold boiling water. Just don't use plastic or something that'll melt.

3. Add essential oil.

This step is optional, but I am a major believer in aromatherapy. For sinus congestion, my favorites are Eucalyptus and Peppermint. Both work well to clear out your head. I prefer Eucalyptus just because it's LONG been used as a decongestant, but the mint works well too. Just be careful with the mint--let it steep into the water for a minute or so before inhaling, otherwise, it'll sting your eyes. And that's no bueno.
Add JUST ONE DROP of essential oil. They're extremely concentrated and any more will be overkill. Especially with peppermint.
Can you tell peppermint is for the sickie who likes to live dangerously? ;)

4. Get a tissue box, some water, and a towel.

And no, that's not a clever "Hitchhiker's Guide" reference. You really will need a towel.
When you're sick, it's SO IMPORTANT to drink lots and lots. When you have a cold, your body is in mucus production overdrive, so it's way important to drink lots to keep all that production thin. I'm not going into any more detail than that because it's gross. Just google it. And when you steam, because it's so hot and you will probably sweat, it's really important to drink plenty before and after.

Also, the whole point of steaming is to open up your sinuses and nasal passageways, so keep tissues handy.

5. Put the water and your head under the towel and BREATHE.

It's like your playing "ghostie" or "tent" with yourself and a bowl of hot water. Just put your head under there and breathe deeply in and out through your nose. You can inhale through the mouth so it goes directly into your lungs if chest congestion is your bigger problem. But either way, it's just really soothing.

When you're sick, your nasal passageways tend to get really dried out from excessive nose-blowing, and I find that this REALLY helps to remoisturize everything. Steam and saline. If you've never used saline before when you're sick, you are seriously deprived. And it costs like $3 at Walgreens.

So all digressions and amateur photos aside, yes, this is a step-by-step on how to use steam to relieve nasal congestion. I hope that if any of you are sick this fall/winter that you'll give it a shot because at least in my opinion, it WORKS awesomely!


  1. Your "ghostie" picture is absolutely adorable! You must make a children's first-aid-for-themselves book, complete with self-pics like these. :D