With winter in full swing, upper respiratory infections are at an all-time high. While these infections generally clear up in about a week, they can make you feel downright miserable. With plenty of sneezing, congestion, and coughing, it’s important to do everything you can to clear up the condition as soon as possible. So to help you and your family stay healthy this winter, here are a few steps you can take at home to fight off upper respiratory infections.

One of the first steps you should take is to reconsider the temperature, humidity, and air quality in your home. Since it’s winter, you probably have the heat cranked up. But while it’s true that heating and cooling accounts for 50% of a home’s energy, there are other things to be concerned about. Your HVAC system circulates contaminants and allergens throughout the home each day, which can lead to lower air quality. It may be a good time to consider getting your ductwork cleaned and your HVAC filter changed to ensure the air you’re breathing in is as clean as can be. Furthermore, humidity is key to alleviating congestion and coughing. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology shows that normally, a relative humidity measuring lower than 50% can decrease indoor allergens. But when you have a cough or are feeling congested, it’s important to make sure the air isn’t dry. Investing in a humidifier can come in handy this winter.

Along with focusing on air quality, you may want to consider trying out some different home remedies and herbs. Ginger is always a great option because it has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that can help fight off the infection. Honey is another great option because it has antibacterial properties and can help soothe a sore throat. A few other remedies you may want to try include echinacea, garlic, antimonium tart, and licorice root. All of these herbs and homeopathic remedies have unique properties that can help clear up an infection and provide relief from a cough and congestion. And of course, don’t forget about getting plenty of Vitamins C and E, both of which can give the immune system a much-needed boost.

And lastly, gargling salt water and using saline nasal drops have both proven to be effective in treating upper respiratory infections. Gargling salt water in the morning can thin the mucus that is built up in the throat, which helps make it easier to cough up. This can significantly help relieve a congested nose and sore throat. Take a glass of warm water and add a teaspoon of salt to it. Once the salt dissolves, gargle for a minute in the morning and you should feel better in no time. Saline nasal drops work great too. These can be bought over the counter and can be used in both adults and children. These drops will help alleviate congestion and clear the nasal passages for more comfortable breathing. With acute upper respiratory infections being one of the most common illnesses diagnosed at urgent care centers in 2015, there are plenty of salt water and saline solutions available that can help break up mucus and soothe congestion.

Upper respiratory infections are extremely common, which means someone in your family may catch the virus this winter. So keep these tips in mind so you can be prepared to fight off the infection if one comes your way.