Addresses: Congestion and runny noses
How it works: Cuts down on nasal inflammation.
Over the counter: Sudafed, Zyrtec-D
Time to take: Daily, as soon as symptoms develop
Downsides: These drugs raise your blood pressure, which can be dangerous if you have a heart condition. Other possible side effects include urinary retention and difficulty sleeping.
How it works: Shrinks blood vessels and nasal tissue, reducing mucus.
Over the counter: Afrin
Time to take: Can be used twice per day up to 3 days.
Downsides: After a few days’ use, the blood vessels aren’t as responsive to the spray, so you need to use more frequent and higher doses to experience relief.