Nasal Congestion Treatment

A host of factors can be the cause of nasal congestion (or a stuffy nose), including the flu, the common cold, and exposure to allergens. Regardless of what your triggers are, you do end up experiencing the annoying symptoms of nasal congestion.

The root cause of that stuffy sensation is that when you get a cold or are exposed to an allergen, the tissues along the nasal passages get dilated and inflamed which prompt them to produce more mucus in defense to expel whatever it is that is causing all the inflammation.

Here are some tips to relieve nasal congestion and breathe more comfortably.

At-Home Remedies

A golden rule to relieve stuffiness is keeping enough moisture in the nasal cavity and tissues. While some believe that dryness can help relieve a runny nose, this is, in fact, a common misconception. Drying up the nasal tissues results in more irritation. Here are some things you can do to prevent your nasal passages from getting dried out:

– Take a hot shower and inhale the steam as much as you can. You can also place your face over a bowl of hot water to breathe in the vapor.

– Get a humidifier or vaporizer if you do not have one.

– Take in plenty of fluids to loosen mucus, which can unblock your sinuses.

– Try a nasal saline spray to keep your nasal airways moist.

– Use a nasal irrigation system or a neti pot, which is a very effective way to clear your nasal passages using distilled water.

– Use a warm, damp towel as a compress over your face to ease discomfort.

– Keeping your head propped up can allow you to breathe more easily.

– Chlorine can be an irritant to the nasal airways, so keep out of pools containing chlorine.

Over-the-Counter Drugs

These are some medications that do not require a prescription but can relieve congestion symptoms.

Decongestants: Nasal decongestants lessen the inflammation in the nasal cavities and improve blocked sinuses. Decongestants are available in spray form and contain ingredients such as oxymetazoline (Afrin or Vicks Nasal Spray), pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), and phenylephrine (Sinex or Neo-Synephrine). Be sure to adhere to the instructions for use with these medicines, and you mustn’t use a nasal decongestant for longer than 3 days as this can be counterproductive and worsen your symptoms.

Antihistamines: If you can determine that your nasal congestion is a result of exposure to an allergen, addressing your body’s reaction to allergens can simply relieve your symptoms. You should choose allergy medicines that contain an antihistamine to alleviate a runny nose and sneezing in addition to a decongestant to relieve your congestion. Some cold medications that address multiple symptoms also come with antihistamines to ease sneezing and a runny nose.

Contact your primary physician if you experience nasal congestion for longer than a week or your symptoms are too difficult to manage with home remedies and OTC medications.

Featured Image: Depositphotos/© Tharakorn

Posted on May 5, 2023