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Over the Counter Remedies for Snoring

Snoring is not always simply noisy mouth-breathing during sleep. It can also be a symptom of an underlying health condition that is causing a blockage of the nasal passageways. Many of the common respiratory diseases cause snoring. Treat the underlying condition, and the snoring goes away. These conditions can often be treated with over the counter remedies.

Decongestants act by reducing swelling of the mucous membranes which line the nose and sinuses, reducing and relieving congestion. Among other things, viral infections and allergic reactions can cause irritation and inflammation of the mucous membranes.

When the membranes lining the nasal and sinus cavities are attacked, the blood vessels in the membrane enlarge and engorge to allow increased production of mucous. Decongestants cause the blood vessels to tighten, forcing the blood out of the vessels, reducing the swelling and opening the air passages.

Decongestants are available to take orally in pill, capsule and liquid form. They are also available as nasal sprays or drops. It is important not to overuse decongestant sprays and drops as overuse can cause more harm then good. It is best to use sprays and drops only as emergency or short term solutions.

Decongestants are stimulants, and as such, may cause a jumpy or jittery feeling, and prevent sleep. Since many diet pills also contain stimulants, those using diet pills should avoid decongestants.

Cough Remedies
While cough remedies do little to resolve snoring, they may improve the comfort of the sufferer. Mucolytic preparations that make mucous less sticky and easier to cough up may be helpful if the snoring problem is caused by mucous blocking the airways. Some cough remedies contain a mild sedative which can help those who have a persistent cough to get some sleep.

Cold and Flu Remedies
While there is no cure for the common cold or flu, there are many remedies that will either suppress or alleviate their symptoms, easing discomfort and reducing the associated problem of snoring. Many over the counter remedies are combinations of drugs such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and decongestants. Some include caffeine and vitamin C. 

There is also the school of thought that believes cold and flu viruses are best left to run their course and that the use of drugs just prolongs the problem. In this case, the snorer (and his loved ones) would simply have to wait it out. 

Although corticosteroids are available prescription only, they deserve a mention here. Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that reduce inflammation in the nasal passageways in allergic conditions such as hay fever.

The body is capable of producing its own supply of corticosteroid and it is only given as medication when additional supplies are required to assist with a crisis and to support an overworked immune system.

While none of these over-the-counter remedies are cures for snoring, they can help to alleviate the symptoms of other health conditions that cause snoring. A key to ending snoring is to treat any underlying conditions, and in some cases, over-the-counter medications can do just that.