Don’t Drink Your Wallet Dry!

man pouring water from a water purifying pitcher into a glassIt’s hot out, so make sure you’re drinking up!

You probably already know water is the best beverage choice for your health and for your money. But did you know bottled water may be costing you a fortune?

It’s true: Many people pay exorbitant amounts of money for bottled water without even realizing how inflated the price is.

So, let’s take a look at the costs of bottled water when compared to ordinary tap water.

For 1,000 gallons of tap water, it will cost you approximately $11. With that amount of water, you could fill 7,570 bottles of water at 16.9 fluid ounces each, with each bottle costing you just $0.0014!

Assuming you drink three 20-oz bottles of water a day, you’ll need 1,095 bottles a year. If you’d fill those bottles with tap water, you’ll only pay $1.53 a year!

There are many ways to get sweet-tasting water without busting your budget. Here are some options to consider:

DIY chilling
Love the taste and convenience of bottled water? Save big by buying your bottles in packs of 24 and refrigerating them at home instead of buying them cold on the go. Instead of $1 a bottle, you’ll pay just $0.16.

Water coolers
Water coolers cost an average of $170 and can help you fill all your water needs at home. After springing for the machine, you’ll only be paying for refills.

A 5-gallon refill of spring water will run you approximately $7. Order multiple bottles at once, and you can get discounts as steep as $5 a bottle. With each gallon filling 7.5 water bottles, you’re getting more than 37 bottles worth of bottled water for the price of one purchased bottle!

Pitcher filters
These contraptions snap right onto your pitcher of water and filter it on the spot. You can also purchase a pitcher with the filter already attached. Either way, you’ll have your bottled water needs met with just a one-time purchase averaging $20.

The downside here is the minimal amount of water a pitcher filter can purify in one shot.

Water treatment system
Having an indoor water treatment system installed in your faucet will give you access to unlimited amounts of filtered water. These filters average $250 to $400, but usually work with only one faucet. Some companies will install a purified water tap alongside your existing faucet instead of filtering it.

Take the tap challenge!
Tap water is definitely the cheapest way to drink up. If it’s a safe option in your area, try drinking only tap water for a month. It may just become a lifelong habit!

Here are some ways to make tap water more palatable:
Slice some citrus fruits and let them float in your pitcher.
Invest in a SodaStream to add some sparkle to your glass.
Freeze pureed blueberries and strawberries and use them as ice cubes.

Drink wisely this summer and save big!

Your Turn:
How do you hydrate? Share your own cost-effective water sources with us in the comments!


Staying Active at Your Desk Job

You don’t have to sacrifice your health for your 9-to-5

Young woman in workout attire performing a calf stretch on her desk at workStaying active and fit is difficult for everyone and for those with a desk job, sitting for eight or more hours per day and finding the time to be active can be even more challenging. But having a 9-to-5 doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your health. Consider these few easy ways to increase your activity at work.

Standing desk
Many offices will arrange for you to have a standing desk upon request. Your desktop is raised to chest-height when you’re standing in your cubicle or office. Having a standing desk will improve your posture, circulation and overall energy levels. You can also have a chair nearby if you get tired of being on your feet. If your office doesn’t have a standing desk option, try sitting on a balance ball. It will help improve your posture and it forces you to focus on your balance throughout the day, therefore strengthening your core.

Take the stairs
If you work on an upper floor, opt for the stairs instead of the elevator. Now, if you work on the 35th floor of a sky rise, no one expects you to climb all the way to the top. However, by taking the stairs up or down three or four flights, then hopping on the elevator, you’re upping your activity levels in the morning and at the end of the day.

Make in-person visits
If you have a quick question for a colleague, skip the email. By walking over to their workspace to speak with them directly, you’ll add to your activity levels. Plus, you’ll strengthen your relationship with that individual and encourage a friendlier working environment.

Take a break
Instead of flipping over to one of your many social media accounts during your break, go for a walk. If the weather is nice, take a stroll outside and enjoy the fresh air. If it’s cold, take a few laps around the interior perimeter of the building. You may even run into someone you know or meet someone new.

Stretching doesn’t require a whole lot of space or excessive amounts of energy. From your seat, you can reach your arms up to the sky and stretch your arms, back and neck. You can even stand up and stretch your legs if you’re feeling antsy. Stretching will improve blood flow throughout your body and keep your muscles awake.

Go out for lunch
Instead of eating lunch at your desk, consider going out to eat. Even if you pack a lunch, take a walk to a nearby park or another dining area where you can sit and enjoy your food. Walking to and from the off-site location will help get your legs moving and give you a change of pace.

Finding time to exercise is tough when you’re working a full-time desk job, but you don’t have to give up an active lifestyle. Try incorporating these few techniques into your daily routine. The results may surprise you.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Legal Forms Every College Student Should Fill Out

Health documents your child should complete before starting school

At times itcollegeforms_featured can seem like the road to college is paved with paperwork. In addition to the roommate questionnaires, room and board forms and other administrative paperwork, there are three other forms that should be taken care of before your child starts college, and they are probably not ones you’ve thought of before.

When your children go off to college, chances are they are or soon will be 18. When your children become legal adults, you and your spouse’s legal rights in matters that concern them become limited. If you aren’t prepared for that change, you could run into some unexpected legal complications.

Below are the three legal forms your college-ready child needs to fill out to ensure that you are prepared for any legal situation ahead:

1. HIPAA Release Form — HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. It lays out the regulations that doctors, insurance companies and other healthcare providers must adhere to in order to protect a patient’s privacy. These regulations apply to all adults, so once your child becomes an adult, you are no longer entitled to special parent privileges, like overriding the child’s right to privacy before the age of 18.

“If your student ends up in the hospital, this document, a permission slip of sorts, will allow the doctors to share information with you,” stated Accredited Investment Fiduciary Charles C. Scott, president of Pelleton Capital Management Ltd. “And if your student is on your family health insurance plan, and you need to deal with your health insurance company about any medical claims for your student, this form is very important.”

2. Healthcare power of attorney — A healthcare power of attorney can also be known as a medical power of attorney or healthcare proxy.

“You will need it to make health-care decisions if your student ends up in a medical crisis or has some mental health issues that make him or her unable to communicate or understand their own wishes,” Scott said. “Some states will allow next of kin to make basic decisions, but if it’s a critical situation, such as removal of life support or advanced mental health issues, without this POA, you would have to get a court order to take care of things.”

If there is a medical situation serious enough for a HIPAA release form and a healthcare POA to be applicable, you will be glad that the paperwork has already been taken care of, enabling your child to get the care you know they want as efficiently as possible and with decreased stress.

3. Living will — A living will is a form that helps ensure your child’s medical wishes are carried out no matter what. Because students typically have few possessions of substantial net worth or other assets, a will is far from their mind; however, a living will is a different matter entirely. It deals with medical issues, such as whether or not life-extending medical treatments and resuscitative measures should be used.

“Don’t find out too late that your student has been admitted to a hospital and you’re not authorized to discuss treatment plans or make urgent decisions regarding care,” states Ray Martin, CBS MoneyWatch contributor. “A living will outlines the student’s wishes about life-extending medical treatment and addresses other intentions, such as organ donations.”

It is an exciting time for you and your child, so get these forms taken care of and out of the way now so you can get back to shopping for dorm supplies and celebrating the new chapter ahead.

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Healthy Desserts That Won’t Ruin Your Diet

Indulge yourself without feeling guilty with these healthy treats

When you’re on a diet, HealthyDessert_Featuredyou tend to restrict yourself to only healthy foods, leading you to cross desserts entirely off your list. However, being on a diet doesn’t mean eating dessert is totally out of the question. In fact, allowing a small daily indulgence can help curb any cravings you might have.

Here are some delicious yet healthy desserts that won’t ruin your diet but will leave you feeling satisfied.

Yogurt parfait
A yogurt parfait is an ideal way to get a sweet fix, while also watching caloric intake. Combine a flavorful, yet low-fat yogurt with a variety of fresh fruits like berries or melon. Then, top this concoction off with either a drizzle of honey or the much-needed crunch of granola. The resulting parfait will leave you feeling full without adding majorly to your calorie count.

Frozen banana sandwich
For the peanut butter-lover, a frozen banana sandwich is the healthy dessert of choice. They’re easy to make, too. Cut a banana into individual, round pieces. Place a small amount of peanut butter between two pieces, making a small sandwich. Then, freeze them. After an hour or so in the freezer, these protein-packed banana sandwiches are ready to eat. They almost taste like banana ice cream sandwiches, which is the perfect way to end the day without worrying about calories.

Apple and peanut butter
An apple is the perfect vessel to indulge in peanut butter. To create the perfect apple-and-peanut-butter dessert, chop up an apple and place it in a bowl. Then, heat up one serving (usually two tablespoons) of peanut butter in the microwave for 30-45 seconds or until melted. Drizzle the peanut butter onto the apples, and then top it off with a serving size of dark chocolate chips. This dessert will satisfy your sweet tooth, while making sure you’re not frowning when it comes time to weigh yourself.

Dessert smoothies
A dessert smoothie is a healthy, filling and sweet indulgence. Combine a variety of fruits to create the dessert of your dreams. Consider adding other flavors like vegetable juice or flavored yogurt. Even a dollop of peanut butter is a great addition to a dessert smoothie. No matter what is added, a smoothie is a healthy way to satisfy the need for dessert.

Dark chocolate
Who knew chocolate could be healthy? According to Women’s Health magazine, chocolate is considered a superfood, which means it has a number of health benefits. Cacao, which is dark chocolate’s main ingredient, can help heart health. Because of this, eating chocolate that has at least 70% cacao in it is beneficial to one’s wellbeing.

Women’s Health also mentions a study from the University of Copenhagen which found that dark chocolate is more filling and can help increase weight loss. So, if you are looking to indulge, consider eating a small portion of dark chocolate for your dessert.

Even if you’re on a diet, it’s easy to satisfy your sweet tooth. One of the most important ideas to keep in mind, though, is to use portion control and to not overindulge. Enjoy these healthy treats in moderation and you will begin seeing results without sacrificing your happiness.

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Health Benefits of Chocolate

A piece of chocolate a day keeping the doctor away? It may not be as absurd as it sounds

When one imaginesChoco_Featured the kind of indulgences that quickly derail diets, chocolate is certainly one of the first things to come to mind. It may come as something of a surprise, however, to learn that there are actually a number of health benefits to eating chocolate.

Before you go grab a whole handful of chocolate candies, it is important to understand the caveats. If you eat chocolate with reckless abandon, you will gain unwanted weight. Commercial chocolate products are high in added fat and refined sugar, which adds up to unnecessary calories. Eating chocolate to excess puts you at risk not only for weight gain, but also for high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. As such, you should always eat chocolate in moderation; using a calorie-counting app to monitor your intake will help prevent adding on extra pounds.

It is also important to note that not all chocolate is created equal. Of all varieties of chocolate, dark chocolate, cacao and cocoa are considered by several experts to have the most beneficial qualities. According to Scientific American, a 2012 review of 20 different studies found that daily, moderated consumption of dark chocolate or cocoa resulted in an average drop of two to three points in blood pressure readings over a period of time.

To be sure that you are getting the proper benefits, Mary Engler, Ph.D., a professor of physiological nursing at the University of California at San Francisco, recommends to Women’s Health that, in a day, you eat no more than seven ounces of chocolate that consists of no less than 70 percent cacao or cocoa.

Just what are those benefits, though?

According to WebMD, if a chocolate product contains a sizable amount of nonfat cocoa solids, then it tends to have a high level of antioxidants. Dark chocolate in particular contains a great deal of antioxidants, which help rid your body of cell-damaging free radicals. Steady consumption of antioxidant-rich foods is associated with a lowered risk of cancer and a slowing of the aging process.

Reduced heart attack risk
The presence of flavanols in cocoa not only introduces antioxidants into the body, but the flavanols are also the ingredient best associated with lowered blood pressure and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. According to Diane Becker, M.P.H., Sc.D., a researcher at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, daily consumption of flavanol-rich dark chocolate can reduce the risk of heart attack by up to 50 percent due to its connection with slowing clotting in blood vessels.

Weight loss
Overconsuming chocolate will lead to gaining unnecessary weight, but according to the University of Copenhagen, tempered chocolate intake can actually help you shed pounds. The research also showed that eating a small amount of dark chocolate on a daily basis helps curb your appetite for other sweets and fatty foods. By indulging your sweet tooth within reason, you will better overcome the mental hurdle that comes with cutting junk foods out of your diet.

Rich in essential vitamins and minerals
Another added benefit of dark chocolate in particular is its high potassium, copper, magnesium and iron content. These vitamins and minerals are key components to ensuring your health: copper and potassium are useful in lowering your risk of stroke and heart disease; iron helps prevent anemia; and magnesium fights high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

Again, it should be noted that chocolate will only prove beneficial for your health if you consume it in an appropriate fashion. If you are able to regulate your intake and limit it only to the purest chocolates possible, then you may find yourself benefitting in a number of surprising ways.

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Healthy New Year’s Resolutions You Should Actually Stick To

Make 2016 a year unlike any other with these resolutions

It is a common practiceNewYearsRes_Featured for individuals to set resolutions for the New Year. Typically, health-related goals are chief among these aspirations. Typically, they involve going to the gym more, eating better or quitting some degree of bad habit. It can be quite easy to fall off the wagon with resolutions once the shimmer of the New Year has worn off, but 2016 can be the year where you finally stick to your pledges and improve your quality of life. To help, here are resolutions for 2016 that you should strive to achieve.

Cut down on cigarettes
If you are a smoker, then you probably know the difficulty in trying to quit for good. It is not an easy task to try and quit cold turkey, so perhaps the best approach is to slowly wean yourself from the need to smoke. One method is quantifying how much you smoke. If you are a pack-a-day smoker, then you are smoking around 20 cigarettes a day and spending anywhere between $6 and $10 on your habit. Making a conscious effort to cut that number will not only help you better see the financial advantages of quitting for good, but it could also help your body adjust to a point where quitting becomes a possibility.

Increase your exercise at home
If you work 40 hours a week (or more), then trying to carve out an hour or more every day to go to the gym can become a chore. However, you can save yourself a lot of climbing over mental hurdles by performing simple and effective bodyweight exercises in your own home. Spending between 15 – 30 minutes doing burpees, crunches, push-ups or resistance band routines will not only have you feeling fitter, but it will also help you create a rhythm should you decide to spring for a gym membership down the line.

Planning and portioning your meals
One of the reasons that fad diets tend not to work is because they are temporary solutions to a long-term problem. In order to lose weight, you should understand that you have to change your lifestyle as opposed to adopting a diet for a handful of weeks or even months. One of the best ways to change your lifestyle is to create good habits, and there are no better habits than preparing your own meals and portioning out your food correctly, according to By preparing food at home, you can determine your caloric intake down to the gram, and you will manage to save yourself a ton of money in the process. Rather than spring for lunch out at the office, consider spending a few hours on the weekend preparing your meals for the week to come; this habit will better attune you to your dietary needs and it will teach you the dedication necessary to stick to dietary changes for the long-term.

Be mindful of your fluids
You can easily lose some excess weight by simply giving up carbonated colas, especially if you drink one or more cans of soda a day. If you demand something flavorful, there are countless flavored water products that should satiate your sweet tooth without the exorbitant sugar. Alternatively, green tea is a great means to get antioxidants into your system, and black coffee – both caffeinated and non-caffeinated – keeps you alert during the day without the added risk of tooth decay. The greatest alternative to soda, however, is water. WebMD recommends consuming roughly eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day (although much of this water comes from the food you eat). Being mindful of your water intake and keeping track of it promotes better hydration and more energy.

The saying goes that it takes three weeks to form a new habit or break an old one. If you want to look better, feel better and be better, try one or all of these easy resolutions in 2016.

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The Most Important Documents for Unmarried Couples

Two documents that no couple should be without

If you were incapacitatedDocs_Featured in any way, and someone else had to make important financial or health-related decisions for you, who would you choose? The next important question to ask yourself is if that person would be legally able to step in and make these decisions.

It is important for unmarried couples to realize that their partner doesn’t automatically have the same legal rights that married couples do, even if they’ve been living together for many years. In order to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the way you want and by whom you want, you need to set up two important documents: a durable financial power of attorney and a healthcare proxy (also known as a power of attorney for healthcare).

Setting up a healthcare proxy is the most important step that unmarried couples can take to protect their ability to speak on their partner’s behalf in medical situations. Without these documents, you or your partner might find yourselves unable to take part in important decision making that can affect you both. Furthermore, if you aren’t established as each others healthcare proxies, you may not even be allowed to visit at the hospital since you aren’t legally family.

Setting up a financial power of attorney is also a critical step that unmarried couples need to take. Couples that have been together awhile tend to combine finances, especially if they live together. If your partner becomes incapacitated, you may not be able to make financial decisions on your partner’s behalf, even if those decisions have a dramatic impact on your own finances.

“A court may grant a family member authority to make decisions about your partner’s finances,” states Sandra Block from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

You may assume that your partner’s family will respect your relationship and allow you to have a say in the decision making process, but that is a risky prospect to gamble upon. Furthermore, times of emotional stress can make people act in unpredictable ways. So even if your partner’s family tells you that they will defer to your opinion in medical or financial situations, you can’t depend upon them acting in a predictable manner and not changing their mind.

Even if you do have a power of attorney set up, if you haven’t read the conditions carefully, it may not include everything you think.

“When it comes to powers of attorney, just because you have one does not mean that it covers both healthcare and financial decisions, unless it specifically says so,” according to Investopedia.

“An estate-planning lawyer can help you draw up power-of-attorney documents…” states Sandra Block. “Some banks and brokerage firms won’t honor power-of-attorney documents unless they meet certain conditions, so make sure the form you use will be accepted by your financial institutions.”

It is also important to make sure that your family knows who you have selected as your financial and healthcare power of attorneys, so that there is no delay in seeking that person out in the event of an emergency. Also, relevant documentation should be in a safe and easily accessible location, with multiple copies in convenient and safe locations.

Once you set up these important documents, you will feel much safer knowing that you and your partner will have their rights and wishes protected.

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Five Easy Green Beauty Swaps

Quick changes to your beauty cabinet to save time, money and your carbon footprint

Eliminate questionsTeenage Girl Applying Make Up about some of your favorite commercial beauty products by switching to natural alternatives for your beauty routine. Consider these five easy green beauty swaps.

Reduce eye puffiness with cucumber slices
Cucumbers have been proven to help with the swelling and puffiness of eyes. Because cucumbers are usually cool, the cold from the cucumbers can help reduce puffiness of the skin. Ingredients within cucumbers may also help reduce skin irritation. Slice two thick pieces of cucumber and place each piece over eyes for at least 10 minutes. Choose cucumbers over your typical eye cream, and you have a natural product that costs only pennies and can be thrown in the compost pile for recycling after your mini spa treatment.

Treat acne with strawberries
Struggling with skin breakouts? Clear your skin with strawberries. Mix a half cup of diced strawberries with a spoonful of sour cream. Rub gently onto your face and leave as a mask for at least 10 minutes. The strawberries will help remove dead skin cells, tighten pores and give your skin a healthy glow.

Use teabags to highlight hair
Before picking up a box of hair brightener at the drug store, consider soaking your hair in black tea. The tannic acid in black tea can highlight your hair if you soak your hair regularly over time. Start by making several servings of very strong black tea. Pour the tea carefully over your hair and allow it to sit for 30 minutes before rinsing.

Combine corn meal and banana for a foot cream
Soften your feet naturally with items from your pantry. Begin my mashing a ripe banana in a bowl Add several tablespoons of corn meal, until the banana has a gritty consistency. Spread liberally on feet and allow to sit for 30 to 45 minutes. Wipe off the mixture and rinse well with water.

Reduce frizz with banana and avocado
Does humidity make your hair a frizzy mess? Before buying a bottle of anti-frizz hair product, make your own in just a few minutes by mixing banana and avocado. Begin by mashing one ripe banana with a fork. Cut an avocado in half, remove the seed, and scoop out the green fruit. Mash the avocado with the banana. Apply to hair and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes, and then rinse hair thoroughly.

Some beauty items are a little more difficult to swap with natural items (like makeup or hairspray). Check the eco-rating of your beauty products at found here: With just a few easy changes, you can reduce the cost of your beauty routine while making choices that are better for your skin and hair, as well as the environment.

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Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Antibiotics: Proper Use and Cautions

Avoiding antibiotic overuse

Prior to the discoveryantibiotics1 of antibiotics, many common conditions like strep throat and ear infections were deadly. But with the advent of these drugs in the 1940s, bacterial infections, which were sometimes impossible for your immune system to fight off, became relatively easy to treat.

Antibiotics work by attacking the bacteria that cause infections. The word antibiotics actually means “against life.” Depending on the type of antibiotic you’re taking, it might work by directly attacking and killing the bacteria or it may just stop the bacteria from being able to grow and reproduce.

While antibiotics will help you recover if you have an infection caused by bacteria, such as strep throat, it’s important to note that they aren’t effective against viral infections, such as a cold or the flu.

Knowing when and how to take antibiotics is critical to ensuring that they will work against these bacteria in the future.

A growing problem
If you take antibiotics too frequently, don’t take an antibiotic exactly as your doctor prescribes, or don’t finish the entire dose they gave you, the bacteria the medicine is fighting can change and become resistant to the antibiotic. This means that the medicine will no longer be able to fight the bacteria in the future, a condition called antibacterial resistance. Some two million Americans contract a bacterial infection that is resistant to antibiotics every year.

Sometimes your doctor will be able to prescribe a different type of antibiotic to treat the resistant bacteria. However, in some cases, the bacteria become resistant to all types of antibiotics and make an infection impossible to treat. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 23,000 Americans die from antibiotic-resistant infections every year.

So what can you do to prevent this growing problem?

Proper antibiotic use is critical
First, only take antibiotics if you have a bacterial infection, which your doctor has diagnosed. Remember, antibiotics won’t work if you’ve got a cold or the flu. They also won’t work for most sinus infections, sore throats or ear infections, which are often caused by viruses.

If your doctor does prescribe an antibiotic, follow the directions carefully and be certain to finish the entire dose you are given.
Don’t share antibiotics with others and don’t take them unless a doctor has prescribed them for your specific condition.

By understanding how antibiotics work and taking them only when you truly need them, you can help fight antibiotic resistance and ensure that these medications continue to be life-savers in the future.

For further reading
Visit these websites to read more about the proper use of antibiotics.

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Home Remedies for Nasal Congestion

Smart tips to help clear up that stuffy nose

You’ve been up all night withistock_nasal-congestion_1 a stuffy nose and you’re looking for relief. The good news is that there are a number of home remedies that can help you breathe easier.

But first, it’s important to understand what’s causing your condition. That stuffy nose can be caused by a number of different problems, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAOHNS), including:

An infection, like a cold or sinus infection
A structural problem, such as enlarged adenoids
A nerve problem that causes swelling inside your nose, called vasomotor rhinitis

If you have any question about what is causing your condition, it’s best to see a doctor who can help you get to the root of the problem and find a solution.

If you’re sure your congestion is being caused by a minor issue, like a cold, you may want to try the following home remedies from MedlinePlus.

Use a saline nasal spray
This gentle mist of saline can help thin the mucus inside your nose to drain and ease congestion.

Try a vaporizer or humidifier
Warm, steamy air has the same effect as saline mist, thinning your nasal mucous and helping clear your nasal passages.

Use breathing strips
These strips can be found at your local drugstore. Stick them on the outside of your nose to help pull nasal passages open and ease your breathing.

Nourish yourself with hot beverages or soup
Hot tea or your favorite soup not only warms you up, they can also keep you hydrated and help ease congestion.

Prop your head up at night
Sleeping with your head slightly elevated can keep congestion from getting worse during the night.

Use a neti pot
A neti pot is a specially designed teapot filled with a saline solution. It’s used to flush out your nasal passages, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These pots can help ease congestion, but it’s important to use boiled, specially filtered or disinfected water, according to the CDC.

Consider medication
While over-the-counter medicines won’t cure your cold or allergies, they can help make it easier for you to breathe by clearing out congestion, according to the AAOHNS. There are two main types of medicines used for nasal congestion:

Antihistamines, which can help reduce congestion caused by allergies
Decongestants, which can reduce swelling inside your nasal passages

It’s also important to be aware of potential side effects of these medications. Antihistamines can make you feel tired or drowsy, so don’t take one before you drive or operate heavy machinery. Additionally, you shouldn’t use a decongestant if you have heart problems, high blood pressure, glaucoma, or are taking other medicines that contain a decongestant, such as diet pills.

When taking an over-the-counter medicine, always let your doctor know if your condition doesn’t improve after seven to 10 days, you start to feel worse or you develop a fever. Also, don’t use a decongestant nasal spray or drops for more than three days, or they may worsen your condition, according to MedlinePlus.

In addition to over-the-counter options, your doctor may also prescribe other medications to help your condition, such as medicated nasal sprays, according to AAOHNS.

The good news is that most nasal congestion will clear up on its own over time, but these home remedies can help ease your symptoms until it does.

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