Effective decongestant alternatives to phenylephrine: Expert recommendations I NBC News

Opinion Article

The Problems with Phenylephrine and Alternatives for Decongestion

The common cold is one of the most frequent illnesses faced by individuals around the world, affecting not only the nose and throat but also the entire respiratory system. One of the most prevalent symptoms of the common cold is nasal congestion, which is the blockage of the nasal passages due to inflammation of the blood vessels. People often turn to over-the-counter decongestants to alleviate their congestion. However, recent studies show that phenylephrine, one of the active ingredients in many decongestant medications, may not effectively relieve nasal congestion.

The Problems with Phenylephrine

Recent research has shown that phenylephrine, the most common substitute for pseudoephedrine, may not be as effective as originally thought. This new data has indicated that phenylephrine may not be effective at reducing nasal congestion, and has received criticisms for having inadequate efficacy levels. With limited alternatives to phenylephrine, many individuals are left without proper relief from their symptoms. Additionally, phenylephrine shares adverse side effects with other decongestants, such as dizziness, headaches, nausea, and difficulty sleeping, making it a less than ideal option for congestion relief.

Natural Remedies for Decongestion

If phenylephrine is not an effective option for nasal decongestion, are there any natural remedies to relieve congestion? There are several alternatives available to those looking for a more natural approach to decongestion. The following natural remedies have all proven to be effective at relieving nasal congestion:

1. Steam Inhalation

Steam inhalation is an easy and effective way to reduce nasal congestion. Fill a clean bowl with boiling water and add a few drops of essential oil, such as eucalyptus oil. Cover your head with a towel, lean over the bowl, and inhale the steam for five to ten minutes. This practice can help to loosen congestion by moisturizing the nasal cavity

2. Saline Solution

Rinsing your nasal passages with a saline solution can help to reduce inflammation and clear out mucus from the nasal cavity. You can buy pre-made saline solutions, or you can create your own by mixing 1 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water.

3. Exercise

Exercise is a proven effective remedy for nasal congestion. Exercise stimulates the body to take in more oxygen, which can help to relieve congestion. Even simple activities such as walking and yoga can help to reduce congestion.

4. Ginger

Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to reduce congestion. Add sliced ginger to boiling water and let it steep for around 10 minutes. Strain and sweeten with honey, then drink it for quick relief.

5. Neti Pot

A neti pot is a small pot used to flush mucus and debris from the nasal passages. Fill the pot with saline solution, lean over a sink, and pour the solution into one nostril while tilting your head to the side. The solution will flow through your nasal cavity and out the other nostril, flushing out congestion-causing mucus.

6. Humidifiers

Add moisture to the air with a humidifier or vaporizer, which will help to loosen congestion. Humidifiers can be especially beneficial in dry climates or during winter months when indoor heating may cause dry air.

7. Liquids

Staying hydrated with fluids helps to keep the mucous membranes moist, which can help to reduce congestion. Drinking warm liquids like tea, broth, and soup can also provide relief by warming the airways.


With recent evidence against phenylephrine, it is clear that seeking alternative resources for nasal congestion relief may be the best option. Fortunately, it is now easier than ever to find effective natural remedies for decongestion, which come without the harmful side effects that can accompany traditional medications. With a little bit of research, and a willingness to try new things, individuals can find relief and stay healthy even when suffering from a cold.

Natural Remedies for Decongestion-

We Can't Be Younger But We Can Age In Good Health

Retirement is a time in life where individuals can finally enjoy the fruits of their labor, after years of hard work and dedication. However, maintaining good health in retirement can be a challenge, especially if one has not taken the necessary precautions. The good news is that it's never too late to start taking care of one's health, and with the right steps and mindset, retirees can enjoy a happy and healthy retirement. In this essay, we will discuss some tips for maintaining good health in retirement, including proper nutrition, physical activity, socialization, and stress management.

Proper Nutrition

One of the keys to maintaining good health in retirement is having a balanced and nutritious diet. This means eating a variety of foods from different food groups, such as fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. It's also important to limit the amount of processed foods, sugar, and saturated fat in one's diet.

In addition to having a balanced diet, retirees should also be mindful of their portion sizes and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hydration is crucial for overall health, and drinking enough water can help prevent constipation, fatigue, and other health issues.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is another important aspect of maintaining good health in retirement. Regular exercise can help retirees maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, and improve overall physical and mental health.

Retirees can choose to participate in a variety of physical activities, such as walking, swimming, cycling, or even gardening. The important thing is to find an activity that is enjoyable and can be done on a regular basis.


Socialization is also a key factor in maintaining good health in retirement. Staying connected with friends and family, and engaging in social activities, can help retirees maintain their mental and emotional well-being.

Retirees can participate in social activities such as volunteering, joining a club or organization, or taking a class. They can also take advantage of technology and stay connected with loved ones through video calls, social media, and other online platforms.

Stress Management

Stress can have a significant impact on one's health, and retirees are no exception. It's important for retirees to practice stress management techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness, in order to maintain good health.

Retirees can also engage in leisure activities that they enjoy, such as reading, listening to music, or gardening, in order to help relieve stress and improve their overall well-being.


In conclusion, maintaining good health in retirement requires a combination of proper nutrition, physical activity, socialization, and stress management. By incorporating these habits into their daily routines, retirees can enjoy a happy and healthy retirement, free from chronic diseases and other health issues. It's never too late to start taking care of one's health, and with the right steps and mindset, retirees can lead fulfilling and active lives for many years to come.


What Is A Midwife And Should You Hire One For Your Pregnancy And Child Birth?

When it comes to pregnancy and childbirth, expectant mothers have many decisions to make. One of the most important is choosing the right care provider for them and their baby. There are many options available, including obstetricians, midwives, and doulas. In this essay, we will explore what midwives and doulas are, the benefits of having a midwife deliver your baby, and the costs and risks associated with hiring a midwife.

Is a midwife a doctor or an ob-gyn?

A midwife is not a doctor or an obstetrician-gynecologist (ob-gyn). Midwives are trained healthcare professionals who specialize in providing care for women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. They typically receive a master's degree in midwifery or a related field and are licensed by the state.

Midwives are trained to identify and manage normal pregnancy and birth processes and to refer women to physicians or other specialists if necessary. Midwives provide a wide range of care and support services, including prenatal care, labor and delivery support, and postpartum care.

Can a Doula provide pregnancy care?

Doulas are not healthcare providers and do not provide medical care. Instead, doulas are trained birth and postpartum support specialists who provide emotional, physical, and informational support to expectant mothers and their families during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.

Doulas are not trained to perform medical procedures or diagnose medical conditions. However, they can help women understand their options and advocate for their preferences during childbirth. They can also provide information on pain management techniques and offer comfort measures during labor and delivery.

What benefits are there to having a midwife deliver your baby?

There are many benefits to having a midwife deliver your baby, including:

  1. Personalized care: Midwives provide individualized, woman-centered care that focuses on the unique needs and preferences of each woman and her family. This can lead to a more positive birth experience and better outcomes for both the mother and the baby.
  2. Emphasis on natural childbirth: Midwives are trained to support women who desire a natural childbirth, without the use of routine medical interventions such as induction, epidurals, or cesarean sections.
  3. Lower risk of interventions: Midwife-led births are associated with lower rates of medical interventions such as induction, episiotomy, and cesarean section.
  4. Emotional support: Midwives are trained to provide emotional support and are often seen as a source of comfort and support during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
  5. Continued care after birth: Midwives often provide postpartum care, including follow-up visits and support in the first few weeks after birth.

Is a midwife right for you and your baby's birth?

Whether a midwife is right for you and your baby's birth depends on your individual needs and preferences. Some women may prefer the medical model of care offered by obstetricians, while others may prefer the more holistic approach of midwifery care. It is important to consider your personal values and priorities when making this decision.

It is also important to consider any medical conditions or complications that may affect your pregnancy or childbirth. Midwives are trained to manage normal pregnancy and birth, but in some cases, a woman may require the care of a physician or specialist. In these situations, a midwife may refer the woman to a physician or specialist for additional care.

How much does a midwife cost and is it covered by insurance?

The cost of a midwife can vary depending on the location, services offered, and the individual midwife. In general, midwifery services are often less expensive than obstetrical care provided by a physician.

However, it is important to check with your insurance provider to determine what services are covered and what your out-of-pocket expenses may be. Some insurance plans may cover midwifery services, while others may only cover a portion of the cost. It is also important to consider additional expenses, such as prenatal and postpartum visits, laboratory tests, and delivery-related costs.

Where can you find a midwife?

Midwives can be found in a variety of settings, including hospitals, birth centers, and private practice. You can start by asking for recommendations from friends, family, or your healthcare provider. You can also search for midwives in your area through the websites of professional organizations, such as the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) or the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA).  Regional One Health Center's Midwife Program in Memphis TN offers the best of both home delivery and hospital support during and after pregnancy.  

When searching for a midwife, it is important to consider their qualifications, experience, and areas of expertise. You should also meet with the midwife to discuss your birth preferences and determine if they are a good fit for you.

What risks or downsides are there to hiring a midwife?

There are potential risks and downsides to hiring a midwife, including:

  1. Lack of medical intervention: In some cases, a midwife may not have the necessary medical training to manage complications that arise during pregnancy or childbirth.
  2. Limited ability to perform procedures: Midwives are not trained to perform medical procedures such as cesarean sections, which may be necessary in certain circumstances.
  3. Difficulty transferring care: In some cases, a woman may need to transfer care to a physician or specialist during her pregnancy or birth. This can be disruptive to the continuity of care provided by the midwife.
  4. Limited access to technology: In some cases, midwives may not have access to the latest technology and equipment available in hospital settings.


In conclusion, midwives and doulas are trained healthcare professionals who can provide expectant mothers with personalized care and support during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. Whether or not a midwife is right for you and your baby's birth depends on your individual needs and preferences. It is important to consider the benefits, costs, and potential risks associated with hiring a midwife and to carefully research and select a qualified and experienced provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a midwife?

A midwife is a health care professional who specializes in providing care and support to women during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. They have received specialized education and training in midwifery, and can provide medical and emotional support throughout the pregnancy and birth process.

2. What is a doula?

A doula is a trained and experienced professional who provides physical, emotional, and informational support to individuals and families before, during, and after childbirth. Unlike midwives, doulas do not provide medical care or deliver babies. Rather, their role is to offer comfort, encouragement, and advocacy for the woman and her partner throughout the birth process.

3. How does a midwife differ from an obstetrician?

Obstetricians are medical doctors who specialize in pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care. Midwives, on the other hand, are trained in natural and low-intervention birth practices, and often have a more holistic and woman-centered approach to pregnancy and birth care. Midwives may also provide care in out-of-hospital settings, such as birth centers and homes, while obstetricians typically work in hospitals.

4. Should you hire a midwife for your pregnancy and birth?

The choice of whether to hire a midwife or an obstetrician for pregnancy and birth care is a personal one that depends on your individual needs, preferences, and medical history. If you are interested in a natural, low-intervention birth, or if you prefer a more personalized and holistic approach to your care, you may prefer a midwife. However, if you have a complicated medical history or a high-risk pregnancy, an obstetrician may be the better choice.

5. What are the benefits of having a doula?

Having a doula can provide a number of benefits during pregnancy and birth, including reduced stress and anxiety, lower rates of medical interventions (such as c-sections or epidurals), improved birth satisfaction, and increased bonding with your baby. A doula can also provide support, information, and advocacy for you and your partner throughout the birth process.

6. How much does a midwife or doula cost?

The cost of a midwife or doula varies depending on where you live and the specific services you need. On average, the cost of a midwife can range from $2,000 to $7,000, while the cost of a doula can range from $500 to $1,500. Some health insurance plans may cover the cost of a midwife, while others may not.

7. Is it safe to have a home birth with a midwife?

Home birth with a qualified midwife can be a safe option for women with low-risk pregnancies. However, it is important to consider your individual health and medical history, as well as access to emergency medical care in case of complications. It is also important to choose a qualified and experienced midwife who is licensed and insured, and who is trained in emergency procedures.

8. Can a doula replace a partner or support person during birth?

While a doula can provide valuable support and advocacy during birth, they cannot replace the role of a partner or support person. A doula's role is complementary to the role of a partner, and is not meant to take their place. A doula can provide additional support and help to ensure that both the woman and her partner have a positive birth experience.