I came down with a cold Saturday a week-and-a-half ago. My nose was stuffed, my throat hurt and I felt a bit crappy. Fortunately, it didn't last long. By Monday, I could feel it lifting. But, all that mucus my body generated during the cold was stuck somewhere in my upper respiratory system, most likely my paranasal sinuses. As of Tuesday, I could barely speak and my throat hurt. Wednesday morning after taking a 12-hour Pseudoephedrine the previous night, I had bloody (not to mention green) mucus out of my mouth and nose; it cleared-up quickly, but it was my first hint that I had progressed to a sinus infection and past a plain cold.
My dad had gargled with salt water when I was a kid, so I gave that a try. I later learned that gargling with salt water can lessen congestion. My dad had an awful time with his sinuses when he was younger, once having to have surgery to clear out a serious sinus infection. His advice to me was to use a saline nasal spray and decongestant medicine to prevent a cold from becoming a sinus infection. That sounds like good advice to me. I used allergy medicines, like Cetirizine, and expectorants, like Guaifenesin. I think a regular decongestant would have done a better job of clearing out the mucus. Allergy medications are good at drying-out my upper respiratory tract, but don't clear out existing mucus. I think Guaifenesin was a mistake as I later realized it works best on chest congestion, which I didn't have. Here's hoping that the nasal spray plus decongestant recipe works better the next time I get a serious cold.