Nasal congestion is commonly known as having a stuffy nose. In most cases, this happens due to colds, the flu and some allergies. When you suffer from any of these conditions, the membranes lining the nasal passages become irritated and inflamed. As a result, more mucus gets produced to flush out the cause of the irritation from the nose.
Many people try to get rid of nasal congestion by blowing their nose but in some cases that does not work. This is because the stuffiness does not result from an excess of mucus but from an inflammation of the nasal passages. Or the stuffy feeling may be caused by factors like allergies or environmental irritants.
Nasal Congestion Due To Sinusitis
When the nasal cavity becomes infected, swollen, and inflamed, then the condition becomes known as sinusitis. Nasal congestion caused by sinusitis will affect how well you can breathe through your nose. And because the infection brings about swelling in the nasal passages, you may not be able to smell or taste as well as before.
In addition to sinusitis your stuffy nose may also be brought on by dry air, hormonal changes in the body, occupational asthma or thyroid disorders.
While home remedies will work well to relieve the stuffiness, sometimes getting rid of nasal congestion will depend on the cause of the condition.
When you get a stuffy nose, try to keep your nasal passages and sinuses moist. This technique is most effective as drying out the membranes will only make them more irritated. Keeping nasal passages moist can be done in a number of ways such as:
Use A Humidifier
A humidifier is a quick and easy way to minimize sinus pain and ease a stuffy nose. The humidifier works by converting water to moisture which slowly fills the air. This action will increase the humidity indoors and make it more comfortable to breathe.
At the same time, breathing the moist air will also soothe the inflamed tissue and swollen blood vessels in the nose. The moisture exuded from the humidifier will also thin out the mucus in your nose and empty out nasal fluids.
So put a humidifier in your room to get rid of nasal congestion.
Take A Hot Shower
You may have noticed that taking a hot shower can help you breathe better when you have a stuffy nose. This happens because the steam from the shower moistens your nasal passages and thins out the mucus inside. The moisture also assists in reducing nasal irritation and inflammation.
So, to get rid of nasal congestion, take a hot shower for some temporary relief.
Try Steam Inhalation
Another simple way to get rid of nasal congestion is to inhale steam. This technique has the same effect as taking a hot shower but offers a more targeted relief.
To inhale steam put some very hot water in a basin or bowl. Lean forward toward the bowl and cover your head with a towel. Allow the steam to build up and take in deep breaths.
This method of steam inhalation will loosen mucus, open up nasal passages and make it easier to breathe.
Drinks Lots Of Fluids to Get Rid of Nasal Congestion
It is important to keep the fluids flowing when you experience nasal congestion. While water is the best option, almost all liquids will help you stay hydrated when you are sick.
You can choose from drinking clear broths, fruit juices, and herbal teas. Just take care to stay away from caffeinated drinks as these tend to dehydrate rather than hydrate the body. It is also recommended to have warm beverages as they can help with unclogging blocked sinuses. Beverages such as warm tea and soup can be very comforting if you also suffer from a sore throat at the same time.
Use A Saline Spray
A simple treatment to get rid of nasal congestion is to use a saline spray. This treatment is also suitable for people who may suffer from different allergies. The treatment only uses distilled water mixed with some salt so there is no risk of any irritants.
The saline solution works by restoring moisture to the nasal airways and curbing inflammation of the mucus membranes. You can purchase over-the-counter solutions or make some at home.
To treat allergy related nasal congestion, a saline solution can help clear away pollen from the nasal lining. Plus, you can use the saline spray to moisten your nose if it feels dry during winter months.
To make a homemade saline solution, add 2 teaspoons of non-iodized salt to 4 cups distilled water. Add in one teaspoon of baking soda and stir well together.
Store the saline solution in a jar or bottle and use twice a day.
Try A Neti Pot
A neti pot moistens the nasal passages by a method called nasal irrigation. This is a therapy to get rid of nasal congestion by using a saline solution to flush out the nasal passages and keep them irritant free.
The neti pot itself is a plastic or ceramic pot that has a long spout. After pouring the saline solution into the pot, place the spout close to one nostril. Tilt your head sideways slightly and let the salt water run through the upper nostril and out the lower one. The saline solution thins the mucus and flushes it out. This can help you get rid of nasal congestion faster.
Experts recommend using a neti pot treatment about three times a week.
Apply A Warm Compress
A warm compress can be helpful in getting rid of nasal congestion when used with other remedies. To prepare a warm compress, soak a small towel in warm water. Rinse out excess water and place the damp towel over the nose and then forehead.
The compress will give off a warm sensation that can provide comfort from the pain of a stuffy nose. It will also help relieve inflammation in the nostrils and facilitate breathing.
Other Home Remedies to Get Rid Of Nasal Congestion
Along with keeping your nasal passages moist, you can also try other home treatments to keep your sinuses clear and get rid of nasal congestion.
Do A Face Massage
Massaging the face is relieving congestion the old fashioned way. You can perform a face massage to get rid of nasal congestion and make it easier to breathe.
To do the massage, take both index fingers and press the bridge of the nose. This point is located at the very top of the nose where it connects to the ridge of the eyebrows. Press in and upwards to activate this point. This movement will help relieve pressure behind the eyes due to sinus congestion
Another pressure point is under the cheeks. Take both thumbs and place on either cheek bone. Massage the area in outward circles to find relief from sinus congestion.
Use A Decongestant
Decongestants are medications that assist in reducing the swelling in the nasal passages. This can help ease the discomfort of stuffiness and sinus pressure.
Decongestants work by reducing the size of blood vessels inside the nose. This action also helps in reducing the size of the inflamed membranes and allow you to breathe more freely. These medications are available in different forms such as nasal sprays or nasal drops. They can also be taken in pill form. The decongestant starts to work immediately and can offer quick relief to people with a stuffy nose.
A word of caution when using decongestants is the duration of usage. Typically decongestants should not be used for more than 5 days at a stretch. For example, using nasal sprays for long periods can actually cause swelling in the nasal passages. Plus, if you are allergic to any ingredients in the decongestant, then do not use it.
Antihistamines to Get Rid of Nasal Congestion
If you are trying to get rid of nasal congestion caused by allergies, then you could use antihistamines. These are allergy medications that contain an antihistamine to ease the symptoms of nasal congestion.
Antihistamines are also used by people who suffer from colds since they can also help with relieving a runny nose and sneezing. Some antihistamines will also make you drowsy.
There are also combination medicines available that contain both decongestants and antihistamines to help relieve a stuffy nose.
Although pain relievers do not clear nasal congestion, they can ease the discomfort brought on by sinus pressure. They can also relieve headaches associated with the condition and lower fever.
Use A Mentholated Salve
A mentholated salve is a useful remedy to get rid of nasal congestion. The menthol content stimulates receptors in the skin and nose causing a cooling sensation when applied or inhaled.
The cooling sensation of menthol can help open airways and make a stuffy nose feel better. This action will also help calm labored breathing making you feel more relaxed. At the same time, this can also help you sleep better.
To ease nasal congestion, apply the salve on the chest or throat so that menthol vapors are inhaled.
When medicated products do not provide relief from a stuffy nose, you can turn to your own kitchen and find some pretty effective remedies there. These remedies to get rid of nasal congestion come from everyday common kitchen ingredients. The remedies given here and safe and effective to use and only need a little prep time.
Remedies from the Kitchen
Homemade Cayenne Decongestant
This remedy uses a blend of ingredients like cayenne pepper, honey lemon juice, ginger, and apple cider vinegar for stuffy nose relief. Among these cayenne pepper, ginger and honey are expectorants while cayenne is also a decongestant.
Apple cider vinegar and lemon lend antiseptic features to this remedy and help clear out irritants trapped in the nose. To prepare this remedy, you will need:
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
- 3 tablespoons honey
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup ACV
Pour lemon juice and ACV in pot and bring to simmer. Stir in honey and cayenne and ginger powders. Mix well and store the tonic in a glass jar. Shake well before each use.
Adult dosage is 1 -2 tablespoons daily as needed.
Prepare A Hot Ginger Compress
Slice a small piece of ginger and add to a pot with two cups of water. Bring to boil and let simmer for 15 minutes. When the mixture cools down a little, soak a washcloth in it and rinse out excess liquid. Place washcloth on face and leave on for 15 minutes.
The ginger soaked compress can help drain your sinuses giving you some relief from nasal congestion. Plus, inhaling the strong ginger scent will open blocked nasal passages.
Making a ginger tea and sipping on it will also help you get rid of nasal congestion. The tea is effective because of ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties.
Garlic Remedy To Get Rid Of Nasal Congestion
Garlic is anti-inflammatory in nature and can help relieve swollen nasal passages. When you prepare it as a tea, it can help control overproduction of mucus and prevent infection. Using garlic can even expedite recovery as it is a natural immune booster.
To prepare a garlic tea, use 2-3 cloves garlic boiled in one cup of water. To improve taste, add in some honey. Drink this concoction two times every day until the congestion clears.
You could also eat garlic raw to help relieve stuffiness or take garlic suppleness. However, experts recommend using garlic in its natural form since supplements may not necessarily give you all the benefits.
Try Herbal Steam Inhalation
When you add the potency of certain herbs to steam, you can get rid of nasal congestion faster. To steam with antiseptic herbs, you will need the following:
- 3 teaspoons dried thyme
- 3 teaspoons dried peppermint
- Bowl of steaming water
Place the dried herbs in the bowl of hot water and lean over with your face close to enough to inhale steam. Cover your head with a towel to trap the steam within and inhale the infusion for a few minutes.
The thyme lends antibacterial properties to the steam while the menthol in peppermint is a natural decongestant. Together, these two herbs can help ease your breathing and get rid of nasal congestion.
Try using bromelain to get rid of nasal congestion. This is a substance found in pineapple and is believed to help reduce inflammation. Bromelain may also reduce mucus production.
You can get bromelain by consuming pineapple or use it as a dietary supplement instead. It is available in capsule or tablet form of various strengths. But be sure to consult with your doctor first as bromelain can interact with some medications.
Eucalyptus oils has decongestant and anti-inflammatory features that can help you get rid of nasal congestion. It can help clear the airways of mucus and facilitate breathing. To use eucalyptus oil to ease nasal congestion, you will need:
- 3-5 drops of eucalyptus oil
- Pot of boiling water
Add the oil to a pot of boiling water and inhale steam by covering your head with a towel. Since the oil can sting eyes, keep them closed while inhaling steam. Repeat two times every day.
If you find it hard to steam inhale eucalyptus oil then you can put 1-2 drops of the oil on a face towel. Simply inhale the aroma repeatedly throughout the day to get rid of nasal congestion. Or do the same with your pillow so you can inhale it at night.
Eucalyptus oil can also be added to a warm bath and inhaled once every day.
How to Get Rid Of Nasal Congestion at Night
Being unable to breathe properly during the day is bad enough but when the same discomfort transfers to night time, it gets worse.
Trying to sleep with a stuffy nose makes nasal congestion more noticeable. One reason for this is that you are busy during the day and not so at night. Another is the way you lie down to sleep.
When you lie down to sleep, your blood pressure changes and you experience an increase in the blood flow to the upper body. This includes the head and nasal passages. If you already have inflamed nasal passages, this added blood flow can make blood vessels even more inflamed. So congestion at night become worse.
Plus, lying down in a supine position makes it harder to clear mucus from the nose. Lying down vertical can make the mucus pool and back up.
Allergy Sufferers and Nighttime Nasal Congestion
People who suffer from allergies and nasal congestion often complain of staying up at night and find it hard to sleep. With nasal allergies people suffer from itching, sneezing, runny nose and mucus formation. The result is nasal congestion and swollen membranes.
As a result, you may find out that you cannot breathe through your nose when you lie down to sleep. To feel more comfortable, you may try to position yourself differently. However, post nasal drip can start to collect at the back of the throat causing you to cough instead.
If congestion only happens at nighttime, then maybe it is something in your bedroom. The most common cause of this could be dust mites or may be indoor humidity levels are too high. This can cause mold to grow in the bedding, carpet or upholstered furniture.
Smoking or even second hand smoke can cause the nose to become congested at night.
Nasal allergies can sometimes cause a person to snore as well.
Tips for Getting Rid of Nasal Congestion at Night
To get a good night’s sleep, you can do the following:
- Prop Yourself Up
Place an extra pillow under your head when you sleep at night. This can help with relieving congested nasal passages. Propping yourself up at night by avoiding lying down vertical can help. Positioning your head higher than the rest of the body will make it easier to breathe.
While this may not actually get rid of your nasal congestion, keeping your head elevated will help you sleep better.
- Use A Humidifier
Remember that dry air aggravates nasal soreness and discomfort. So to get rid of nasal congestion at night, you can also run your humidifier when you go to sleep.
A humidifier with a cool mist can counter this problem to some extent. But make sure to keep it clean to maintain good indoor air quality.
- Take Medications That Make You Drowsy
For allergy related congestion, take the drowsy kind of antihistamines to help you sleep better. Antihistamines can help with both nasal drip as well as sneezing. And using decongestants can help with stuffiness and nasal congestion.
- Eliminate Allergy Triggers From The Bedroom
For allergy sufferers, one way to get rid of nasal congestion at night is to keep your room dust free. Apart from keeping your bedding clean, you can also sleep in a room with hard floors instead of one with rugs.
To get rid of nasal congestion due to allergies, keep your sleeping space free of pets as well. In addition, to prevent pollen from entering the room, keep windows closed at night.
- Skip The Nightcap
Alcohol, especially wine can make you more congested as well as dehydrated. Both conditions will only make your nighttime nasal congestion worse. So if you have nasal congestion but want to sleep well, stay away from alcohol.
- Avoid Caffeine Before Bed
Likewise, stay away from caffeine as it is a stimulant. It is also dehydrating so it can make your congestion worse at night. If you want to go to bed hydrated, choose to drink water or a warm non-caffeinated tea instead.
- Use Breathe Right Strips
While breathe right strips do not really get rid of nasal congestion, they can help in other ways. Breathe right strips work by pulling the nostrils apart and make the breathing passage bigger. This can possibly help you breathe easier and get a good night’s sleep.