We've all been there: Waking up in the morning ready to start the day when – oh no, your nose is clogged.
In this week's medical column, Dr. Michael Daignault shares everything you need to know about congestion woes, including common causes and how to prevent it from happening.
For anyone struggling with seasonal stuffiness, here are a few of his tips:
For those not suffering from an infectious or allergic cause, vasomotor rhinitis might be the culprit. Consider propping your head up with an extra pillow or two to reduce the gravity-induced vasodilation of nasal blood vessels. If you notice one nostril is always clogged more than the other, try sleeping on your side opposite to the clogged nostril.
As we head into the winter months, that means a lot of us will be turning on the heat at night. But that could result in drier air which can also irritate nasal passages. Check out the now more-compact and inexpensive humidifiers on the market. A humidifier can add moisture to the air that can soothe nasal passages over the course of the night. Pro tip: Set up the humidifier at least 3 feet from your bed and away from upholstery (to prevent mold buildup).
Before bed, use a nasal rinse or neti pot in a steamy shower to thin out mucus in the nose and soothe the nasal passages.
Try to avoid nightly use of decongestant medications that have many side effects and will make you groggy the next day. Start with a saline spray and then consider a fluticasone nasal spray instead.
Wishing you a weekend of breathing easy!
To read the full column, click here.
The dangers of queerbaiting
Kit Connor, star of Netflix's "Heartstopper," recently came out as bisexual. But not the way he wanted. My colleague David Oliver broke down what happened and the harms of queerbaiting. Here's a bit of his piece:
"Back for a minute. I'm bi. congrats for forcing an 18 year old to out himself," Connor wrote in a short tweet. "I think some of you missed the point of the show. bye."
Gay coming-of-age drama "Heartstopper" focuses on a budding romance between doe-eyed high schoolers Nick and Charlie – played by Connor and Joe Locke, respectively – with Nick not sure of his sexuality. Fans accused the star of "queerbaiting" – when a straight, cisgender person seems to cash in on LGBTQ fashion, music, acting roles and more.
Experts say this Kit Connor debacle shows what happens when queerbaiting goes awry – but that doesn't mean celebrities are immune from accountability.
"There is a vast difference between audiences raising legitimate concerns about exploitative, LGBTQ-mediated representations and queerbaiting, and the online trolling of Kit Connor," says Melvin Williams, associate professor of communication and media studies at Pace University.
Many LGBTQ fans of certain stars desperately wish celebrities are gay – so much so that they spin narratives that may not be true. Some Taylor Swift fans call themselves "Gaylors," for example. They pick apart song lyrics and try to piece together a narrative of Swift's queerness despite no statement from the Grammy-winner that would verify this. (The singer told Vogue in 2019 that she is not a member of the LGBTQ community.)
To read the full piece, click here.
Is Netflix ruining your sex life?
We pay a lot of attention to Netflix and other streaming services, but are we paying attention to how TV is impacting our relationships?
In this week's column, Millennial Therapist Sara Kuburic says there are some things to consider when evaluating your relationship with TV and other people in your life.
A movie night or a designated time to binge-watch a new show with your partner (or even family and friends) is great, but here are a couple things to ask yourself:
Is it impacting your sex life?
I am not saying "don't stream." I am just saying to pay attention to the ratio of TV to other activities. Anytime we choose to watch something, we need to be aware that we are choosing not to do something else with that time. When we say yes to a 30-minute episode, we are simultaneously saying no to something else. Such as, for example, sex. Many couples feel too exhausted for intimacy after they have played “just one more episode” and consumed all their snacks.
And sex is not the only thing that may be neglected. Often we postpone important conversations or opportunities for deepening our understanding and connection with our partner.
Is it all that you do together?
I get it, most of us don’t feel like we have the energy to do much else a lot of the time, but we have to be intentional about our relationships, and our shows can get in the way of that. And – let’s be clear – this is not our TV's fault, it’s the way we choose to consume it.
Here are some alternative activities you can do with your partner:
Try a new recipe together or explore new coffee shops in your area
Play cards or a game
Do a physical activity you both enjoy (sex, jogging, tennis)
Read a book together
Invent a cocktail or bake a dessert for your partner and make them guess what’s in it
To read the full column, click here.
Machine Gun Kelly says he has 'Peter Pan syndrome.' What is it?
This week's advice column: I'm dating again. When do I talk about my diagnosis?
Foods like frozen pizza and hot dogs linked to early death, study finds.
How long can you go without food? Plus signs of dehydration.
Burnt turkey? Ruined gravy? Celeb chefs' tips on how to survive Thanksgiving disasters
Say hello again to Mary Kat.
We've met Mary Kat in a previous newsletter, but Lonnie Hull DuPont shared a recent photo of her cute cat: "The election is over, Mary Kat. You can come out now," she writes of the photo.
We totally understand how you feel, Mary Kat!
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Stuffy nose? What you need to know to relieve congestion