The 7 Best Sinus Decongestants of 2019

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First Look

Flonase Allergy Relief Nasal Spray at Amazon

“One spray a day promises relief from allergy-related symptoms.”

GoodSense Nasal Decongestant at Amazon

“The non-drowsy formula promise temporary relief from stuffiness.”

Sudafed PE Pressure + Pain + Relief at Amazon

It also contains acetaminophen to help provide relief from pain and fever.”

NasalCrom Nasal Allergy Controller at Amazon

The non-drowsy formula can be used anytime, day or night.”

Mucinex Sinus-Max Night Time Relief Liquid at Amazon

“Its triple-action formula is designed to work quickly.”

Breathe Right Clear Nasal Strips at Jet

“They come in different sizes so you can get a comfortable fit. “

Afrin Original Nasal Spray at Amazon

Its non-drowsy formula provides relief from symptoms for up to 12 hours.” 

Our Top Picks

Flonase Allergy Relief Nasal Spray

One spray of Flonase a day promises relief not just from nasal congestion, but also from other allergy-related symptoms like sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. Unlike other nasal decongestant sprays that are meant to be only used for a few days, this one can be safely used regularly.

While not a traditional decongestant (uses active ingredient fluticasone propionate) it acts much like one and then goes beyond to provide comprehensive relief from other allergy symptoms. Users rave about the relief Flonase provides, saying they couldn’t survive allergy season without it. Some note that you must be consistent with your usage, but when you are, it works remarkably well.

An important note: Everyone reacts differently to different types of decongestants. Make sure to talk with your doctor about which kinds of decongestants are least likely to cause you problems.

GoodSense Nasal Decongestant

For all the power of brand-name decongestants with a lower price point, many turn to these pills from GoodSense. The non-drowsy formula promises temporary relief from stuffiness and pressure associated with colds, hay fever, and allergies with the same active ingredient (phenylephrine) as Sudafed. The recommended dosage is one tablet every four hours, but no more than six tablets in 24 hours.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our list for best medicines for a stuffy nose.

Sudafed PE Pressure + Pain + Relief

When it comes to that pounding pressure inside your nose that shoots up into your head, relief can’t come quickly enough, and many swear by this Sudafed PE Pressure and Pain to deliver it. The non-drowsy formula comes in pill form, with a recommended dosage of two pills every four hours (no more than 10 in 24 hours). In addition to the decongestant (phenylephrine), it also contains acetaminophen to help provide relief from pain and fever.

NasalCrom Nasal Allergy Symptom Controller

If it’s allergies that have you stuffed up, relief may be just a spray away with NasalCrom nasal allergy spray. Not only does it promise to help eliminate symptoms, but it can also help prevent them from bothering you in the first place. It doesn’t contain any steroids (the active incredient is cromolyn sodium), and you can also use it while you’re taking other allergy medications. The non-drowsy formula works for both day and night.

If you need more allergy-fighting power, check out the best OTC allergy medications.

Mucinex Sinus-Max Night Time Relief Liquid

If you’d simply rather take a shot of cold medicine than mess with sprays or pills, there’s this decongestant from Mucinex. Not only does it promise clear up your nasal passages with phenylephrine but it also contains acetaminophen and will help alleviate chest congestion, fever, headaches, and coughs (qith diphenhydramine) as well. This nighttime aid will help you rest easy, and its triple-action formula is designed to work quickly.

Trying to kick a cold? Take a look at the best cold medicines available today.

Breathe Right Clear Nasal Strips

Breathe Right Strips
Courtesy of Jet.

For instant relief from nasal congestion, there are these strips from Breathe Right. You simply stick one on your nose, and it starts working right away to help you breathe easy. They can be used alone or in conjunction with a decongestant spray for extra relief.

Designed for sensitive skin, they come in sizes small, medium, and large, so you can get a comfortable fit. They work by opening up your nasal passages and claim to be 38 percent more effective than decongestant sprays alone. For extra relief, you can use them with a nasal spray as well.

Afrin Original Nasal Spray

Spray away nasal congestion from colds and allergies with this decongestant from Afrin. Its non-drowsy formula provides relief from symptoms (using oxymetazoline hydrochloride) for up to 12 hours.

One note of caution: The label notes that you shouldn’t use for it for more than three days in a row or could, in fact, cause more congestion. Consult with your doctor about best use. But for short-term, quick relief of nasal congestions, this is a go-to for many. Online reviewers say it works almost immediately.

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Article Sources

  • Acetaminophen. MedlinePlus. Revised 08/15/2014.

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  • Laccourreye O, Werner A, Giroud J-P, Couloigner V, Bonfils P, Bondon-Guitton E. Benefits, limits and danger of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine as nasal decongestants. European Annals of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Diseases. 2015;132(1):31-34. DOI:10.1016/j.anorl.2014.11.001

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