This time of year, whether you’re dealing with allergies from the cedars here in North Texas or if you’ve been hit with a cold or the flu, it’s good to know what things you can do to improve your congestion. Stuffy noses, post-nasal drip, phlegm in the throat and coughs can be instantly worsened by ingesting dairy products. The jury is still out (when it comes to studies) on whether or not dairy actually causes an increased mucus production, but it is a fact that dairy makes existing mucus thicker and harder to clear. However, I would contend that even when you’re well, if you eat a meal containing heavy amounts of dairy that you’ll find yourself needing to clear your throat more than before…practically speaking it would seem that it does increase mucus production to some degree. So, what do we mean when we say “dairy products?” Milk, butter, ice cream, sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, regular cheese, you get the idea…and the double-whammy would be adding sugar while you’re dealing with congestion in your head, throat, ears or chest. Sugar instantly impedes your white blood cells from fighting off infection. So, while you’re congested in any way – AVOID dairy and sugar! Now that we know what to avoid, here are some things that can help: drinking hot tea (black, green, or herbal) with fresh squeezed lemon and honey to taste, eucalyptus and/or peppermint essential oil diffused or applied topically (use great caution when applying essential oils topically, there are great online resources and books available to help you safely apply e.o.’s). Chestal Honey is a favorite of mine when it comes to chest congestion. There are many homeopathic remedies that can be of great help; these are available at Bee Healthy in Granbury or online.