Get Rid of Your Stuffy Nose

stuffynose01.pngNasal congestion is miserable, no doubt. With the wild temperature swings associated with this time of year, we thought it would be good to reintrouduce this post from last year. If you are suffering you might want to try one or more of these tips to find relief. 

No matter the cause of your stuffy nose – allergies, viral colds, environmental irritants – it would be nice to open up the blocked passages and turn off the mucous faucet. Here are some potential remedies ranging from simple to surgical that can help.

Possibly helpful (but also completely safe) home remedies:

Taking a hot shower, or even just sitting in the bathroom with the shower running hot, can help relieve nasal and sinus pressure and stuffiness.

In dry environs, using a humidifier in the house, or even just in the bedroom when you sleep, helps keep mucous hydrated and flowing.

Drinking plenty of water help lubricate and loosen mucus when you are stuffy.

Peppermint tea
The menthol in the tea, inhaled from the steam arising from the cup when you take a drink, may help reduce stuffiness.

Facial Massage
Gentle massage the areas of the face over the sinuses can be effective.

Applying light pressure with your fingers to both sides of the bridge of your nose, under both nostrils, and on both cheeks may provide some relief.

Warm or cool compresses applied to the forehead and cheeks may relieve the feeling of pressure and loosen mucus. Adding some minced fresh ginger root, eucalyptus oil, or menthol to the compress adds an aromatic element that some find soothing.

Saline Nasal Spray
Gentle irrigation with a saline spray helps soothe tissue inflammation, loosen mucous, and reduce stuffiness.

Nasal Passages Flushing
Flushing the nasal passage with warm, salty water reduces congestion and improves nasal mucous flow very well. The neti pot (an ancient Indian nasal washing device) and nasal saline irrigation bottles are both effective ways to accomplish this technique.

Potentially helpful (but also more medical) remedies:

Non-prescription medicines
Oral decongestants, over-the-counter antihistamines, and mucus thinners are very helpful for more persistent stuffy noses. If you need to be on these for a prolonged period of time you should probably discuss your condition with a doctor.

Prescription medicines
If you end up in the office, your doctor might prescribe medications that are not available OTC (topical anti-allergy medications or even antibiotics and steroids if you have an infection) to help you clear the congestion.

Surgical procedures
If all of the medications and maneuvers are ineffective, a surgical remedy to reshape nasal airways, to correct a deviated septum, or to shrink swollen turbinates may be your best bet. You will have to visit with a specialist to make this decision.