Nasal congestion can make you uncomfortable and interfere with you daily activities. It can interfere with your sleep and leave you feeling fatigued the next day. So how do you relieve nasal congestion? Read on to find out how to relieve it using over-the-counter medications and natural remedies that can easily be prepared at home. We’ll also list several lifestyle changes that can help relieve a congested by easing the symptoms. We’ll also highlight the treatment options available for babies.
How to Relieve Nasal Congestion
Some of the best ways on how to relieve nasal congestion include the following:
Saline Nasal sprays or drops
Saline nasal sprays or drops is one of the most popular and effective ways to relieve nasal congestion. Saline (salty water) relieves nose congestion by thinning out the mucus clogging the nasal passages.
You can get a saline nasal spray or drop at your local drugstore; otherwise you can make your own saline solution using the following procedure:
- Boil a cup of water and let it cool down to lukewarm temperature. Add a ¼ teaspoon of salt and stir thoroughly.
- Tilt your head backwards and deposit 2 to 3 drops of the saline solution into one of your nostril with a dropper (or Neti pot if you have one).
- After 30 seconds, blow the nose to remove any nasal discharge that comes out (Saline solution and mucus)
- Follow the same procedure for the other nostril
- Repeat this 2 to 3 times everyday until the congestion clears
Taking it further with nasal irrigation
Nasal irrigation with a saline solution may bring quick relief for nasal congestion without necessarily using any medications.
Nasal irrigation involves pouring a saline solution into one of your nostril using a Netipot or a pre-filled container and having it move out through the other nostril. As the saline solution passes through the nasal cavity, it flushes out any mucus and allergens stuffed inside.
For this procedure you require a Netipot (you can also use a bulb syringe or a squeeze bottle). Neti pots are available in most drugstores. Neti pots look more difficult to use than they really are. They come with usage instructions that you should follow carefully, but here is a general guideline on using a Neti pot for nasal irrigation:
- Prepare the saline solution: If you want, you can buy a saline solution in a pre-filled container at your local drugstores. Otherwise, prepare your own by mixing a ¼ tsp of non-iodized salt to a cup of warm water (previously boiled). Add a pinch of baking soda to the solution and stir thoroughly.
- Pour the saline solution into your nostril: Tilt you head to an angle of 45 degrees over a sink or small basin. Now position the spout of the Neti pot inside one of your nostrils at not more than a finger’s width and tilt the Neti pot to pour some of the solution into your nostril. As you do this, you should keep your mouth and use it to breathe rather than the nose; otherwise you might “snort” some of the solution.
- Let the saline solution drain: The saline solution will flow through your nasal passages and get discharged through the other nostril. Some will most likely run into your mouth; just spit it out.
- Blow your nose and repeat: Now blow your nose to clear the solution remaining in the nose and repeat the process with the other nostril.
- Perform nasal irrigation daily: Repeat this procedure daily to thin out the mucus in your nasal passages and flush out any allergens. After a while, you can reduce this to 3 times a week. Use a freshly prepared solution every time.
Decongestants and antihistamines
Decongestants are as well a great way to relieve nose that is congested. Decongestant medications are available over-the-counter as nasal sprays such as phenylephrine (Sinex and Rhinall) naphazoline (Privine) and oxymetazoline (Afrin and Duramist) or as pills such as Phenylephrine (Sudafed PE and Lunasol) and pseudoephedrine (Sudogest and Sudafed). Decongestant sprays should not be used for longer than 3 days.
Antihistamines do a great job at relieving nasal congestion caused by exposure to allergens such as moulds and pollen. Antihistamines suppress the production of histamine by the body as a response to foreign bodies.
Some nasal sprays contain decongestants as well as antihistamines. [Read more on best medicine for nasal or nose congestion].
Drink plenty of fluids
Adequate hydration is important to keep the nasal passages properly moisturized. Water, tea, broth, energy drink and even juice all helps but cola and coffee are not advisable when suffering from congested nose.
When the air around your house gets too dry, the nasal passages can get irritated and inflamed, culminating in congested nose. Humidifiers can help b restoring moisture in the air. You should however be cautious not to over-use a humidifier. This can be counterproductive since excess moisture in the air may create a favorable environment for growth of moulds which can worsen the congestion
Other ways to relieve nasal congestion:
- Take a warm shower for 10 to 15 minutes. The steam in the shower offers relief for a congested nose albeit temporarily
- Inhale steam from a pot of hot water while covering your head with a towel
- Sleep with your head elevated a bit with some more pillows
Severe Nasal Congestion Relief
Using saline nasal sprays, nasal decongestants, antihistamines and steroid nasal sprays may offer relief for severe nasal congestion. It is however very important that you follow the instructions for these medications carefully. Severe nose congestion may also result from over-use of nasal decongestant; longer than 3 days. If that is the case, you should discontinue the use.
The measures we have discussed above can also help offer severe nose congestion relief. If your nose congestion however seems to be getting worse or not responding to any such measures, you should seek the attention of your doctor.
Natural Nasal Congestion Relief – Home Remedies for Nose Congestion Relief
Some natural nasal congestion relief options include:
- Tomato tea
- Eucalyptus oil
- Tea tree oil
- Ginger and wine (boiled together and allowed to cool)
- Chicken soup
Tomato tea is perhaps the best home remedy for nasal congestion based on user reviews posted online but you may find the other remedies such as eucalyptus oil easy to use and prepare.
Read more on home remedies for nose congestion
Infant Nasal Congestion Relief – Kids, Babies, Toddlers
Nasal congestion in babies is commonly triggered by a bout of common cold, flu or sinus infection. It usually makes the baby uncomfortable and may interfere with the breastfeeding or feeding routine of your little angel.
Saline nasal drops (from a drugstore or prepared by mixing ¼ tsp salt and 1 cup warm water) is the safest way to relieve infant nasal congestion.
In addition to nasal drops, you should rest your child with the head propped up a bit (place a pillow beneath the crib’s mattress), drain the mucus with nasal bulb, and encourage the infant to drink plenty of fluids (or breastfeed/formula-feed the baby well).
Nasal decongestants are however not recommended for use in babies aged below 2 years unless under the prescription of a doctor.