Nasal congestion, better known as a “stuffy nose”, is caused when the membranes lining your nasal passages become inflamed and irritated. Tissues and blood vessels become swollen with excess fluid, making you feel that your nose is plugged. Colds, allergies, or the flu are common causes. A sinus infection or pollutants in the air can also irritate your nasal passages. Thankfully, several simple home remedies can be used to get relief:
1. Breathe steam
Warm, moist air can relieve the irritated tissues and swollen blood vessels as well as break up mucus. Humidifiers add moisture to the air by converting water into moisture and filling the air with it. Taking a hot shower can have a similar effect. The steam created by a hot shower can help thin the mucus in your nasal cavities and reduce the inflammation. You also can warm a pot of water and breathe in the steam. Cover your head with a towel and position your head over the pot.
2. Use a saline spray
A saline spray is a safe, non-medicated way to help with a stuffy nose. The salt solution helps to moisturize your nose and thin mucus buildup. Inflammation of your blood vessels decrease helping to relieve the stuffiness. These sprays are inexpensive, easy to use, and safe for all ages.
3. Try a neti pot
A neti pot is used to flush out your nasal passages. For safety reasons, distilled or sterile water should be used instead of tap water. Steps in using a neti pot for the first time should include:
- Dissolve one teaspoon of salt into one pint of sterile water.
- Place head over sink sideways.
- Place the pot’s spout into your upper nostril. Squeeze the pot or breathe in to cause the water to enter your nostril.
- The water will exit your nose through your other nostril.
- After about a minute, switch sides and flush out the other nostril.
4. Warm towel compress
Soak a towel in warm water, squeeze out the excess water, and place over your face. The warmth will help relieve the inflammation in your nostrils and relieve the stuffy feeling. The warm towel will also help to provide comfort from the pain.
5. Hydrating fluids
Taking in lots of hydrating fluids help to thin out the mucus in your nasal passages. This thinning will help your nose to drain relieving pressure in your sinuses. If your nasal congestion is accompanied by a sore throat, warm liquids will help to soothe your throat.
A stuffy nose can be uncomfortable. These simple home remedies can help relieve the pressure. Elevating your head when lying down will also assist with your breathing.