When my little ones are congested, there are three simple tools I always pull out of my kit first.
1. Warming Socks Treatment
This is an easy, effective way to boost the immune system and ease congestion. Start by taking toasty warm feet. (I recommend soaking them in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes.) Then take a clean pair of thin cotton socks that has been soaked in cold water and wrung out thoroughly. Put the cold, wet socks on those warm (dry) feet, put a dry pair of dry socks on over the wet ones (preferably wool, but another cotton pair works, too) and immediately put the child to bed, tucked in under warm blankets. It may sound uncomfortable, but this treatment is actually quite soothing and really helps with coughs in particular. I learned about it years ago from a friend and you can find more details on why this works from Dr. Dishman.
2. Cool Must Humidifier or Diffuser
Adding cool moisture to the air helps the nasal passages drain effectively and is good for overall immune function. I like to turn on our diffuser at bedtime whenever my kids have a virus, respiratory or otherwise.
3. Natural, Kid-Safe Vapor Rub
There are a number of essential oils that are safe for children over the age of two and very effective at fighting congestion. I have four of them in my Natural Vapor Rub: sweet orange, cedarwood atlas, fir needle, and cinnamon leaf. Just the act of rubbing this cozy-smelling rub onto my kids' chests, backs, or feet is soothing and comforting to them when they are sick, and it really helps open the airways, without all the nasty chemicals in traditional chest rub.
It's a good idea to have some go-to tricks and remedies on hand before your little ones get sick. Make a note on your phone with things to try the next time a virus hits the house. It really helps to reduce panic if you feel prepared. :)