Nasal congestion is cumbersome to put up with, especially on busy days. Not only does it make breathing harder but it’s also incredibly disruptive to our daily lives. You keep having to reach for tissues or go to the bathroom sink to clear your nose.
Plus, most of the time you don’t even know why. It could be the flu, allergies, or you might just be really cold. Want to know how to unstuff your nose at home? Here are some tips and suggestions you can try out that might help unclog your nasal passages.
What Causes Nasal Congestion?
Nasal congestion is caused by an irritation or inflammation of your nasal tissues. That includes infections like cold and flu, allergies, and pollutants like tobacco or vehicular fumes. Nasal congestions can also be caused by a tumor.
Mayo Clinic has listed all of the following as potential causes of nasal congestion:
#1. Acute sinusitis (nasal and sinus infection)
#3. Chronic sinusitis
#5. Decongestant nasal spray overuse
#6. Deviated septum
#7. Dry air
#8. Enlarged adenoids
#9. Food, especially spicy dishes
#10. Foreign body in the nose
#11. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener’s granulomatosis)
#12. Hormonal changes
#13. Influenza (flu)
#14. Medications, such as those used to treat high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, depression, seizures, and other conditions
#15. Nasal polyps
#16. Nonallergic rhinitis (chronic congestion or sneezing not related to allergies)
#17. Occupational asthma
#19. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
#20. Sleep apnea
#22. Thyroid disorders
#23. Tobacco smoke
8 Ways To Unstuff Your Nose
A stuffy nose is one of the most bothersome symptoms to deal with. Fortunately, there are many ways you can treat this symptom at home. Here are some tried and tested methods that have been recommended by doctors and nurses alike.
#1. Use A Humidifier
A humidifier is an electric machine that converts water into steam but at a gentler pace than a kettle. It can provide instant relief for sinuses and a clogged nose. To do this right, you want to either sit in a small closed room or drape a towel over your head while using the humidifier to focus the steam more.
Humidifiers soothe swollen blood vessels and irritated tissues in your nose. If you can’t inhale the steam through your nose, inhaling it through your mouth will also help. The steam helps in thinning out the mucus that’s clogging your nose and allows you to breathe again.
#2. Take A Shower
A nice hot shower helps in the same way steam does. The warmth and humidity of the air you inhale while showering can help thin your mucus and soothe irritation in your nose and sinuses. It also helps provide relaxation and eases headaches that often accompany a cold. A hot shower can also help return your breathing to normal, at least for a while.
#3. Stay Hydrated
Be it allergies, the common flu, or a serious illness, staying hydrated is crucial to expedite recovery. Drinking fluids can help thin your mucus and push more fluids out of your nose. It can also alleviate the pressure on your sinuses.
It doesn’t have to be water; you can make drinks like warm green tea, orange juice, and honey lemon tea. Not only do these drinks keep you hydrated but they also ease discomfort and provide some essential nutrients for your recovery.
#4. Use A Saline Spray
Saline sprays are used to prevent the inside of your nasal cavity from becoming too dry and keep the cilia healthy. Cilia are small hair-like structures that exist along your breathing passage and play an essential role in removing toxins or pollutants inhaled during breathing.
A saline spray helps to increase the moisture in your nostrils, thus reducing inflammation and thinning the mucus in your nose. There are different types of saline sprays available that you can purchase over the counter at any pharmacy. But make sure you consult your physician because overuse can make your congestion worse.
#5. Drain Your Sinuses
A dirty task, yes, but it’s also necessary. To help make things easier, use a humidifier to thin your mucus out first. Then drain each nostril individually in your sink, or if you’re bed-ridden, use tissues. Make sure you dispose of the tissues into a personal wastebasket to avoid risking the spread of infection around your house.
You can do this by hand or purchase what is known as a Neti pot. It’s a tool designed to help you funnel water into one nostril and push it out the other nostril.
#6. Use A Warm Compress
You can make a warm compress by soaking a towel in warm water. Lay back and rest the towel on your forehead or face. The warmth and moisture emanating from the towel will help you alleviate your congestion in the same way a humidifier does.
#7. Try Decongestants
There are several over-the-counter medications available that can decongestant clear your nose and relax your sinuses with tremendous efficacy. However, you should only use them in severe cases when breathing has become too difficult and after you’ve tried self-care treatments but they haven’t worked.
Decongestants can come in the form of a spray or drops that you can insert into your nostrils. The chemicals they contain break down mucus almost immediately and alleviates swollen blood vessels and irritated tissues.
#8. Take Antihistamines or Allergy Medicine
If you’re allergic to something, such as wool, and you know that your allergies are causing your stuffy nose, you can purchase an over-the-counter antihistamine. They help treat common symptoms brought on by allergy. However, if you have an uncommon allergy, it may be better to consult a doctor and get a prescription allergy medication.