Nasal congestion is a very common condition. In fact, most people get a stuffy nose from time to time. Although annoying, it is rarely serious. Nasal congestion can develop when the blood vessels inside the nose become inflamed and the nasal tissues swell. Excess mucus drainage may also occur with a stuffy nose. A stuffy nose can make people feel awful. Those who have all stuffed up want relief quickly so that they can breathe easily again. Fortunately, there are many natural solutions for a stuffy nose.
1. Hit the shower
Taking a hot shower can help decrease nasal congestion. The steam from the shower may help mucus drain from the nose and improve breathing. Although the benefits of the steam may not last, it will at least provide temporary relief.
2. Try a saline spray
A saline spray may help decrease tissue inflammation in the nose and reduce stuffiness. Saline-only sprays do not contain medication, so they are usually safe to use during pregnancy. Over the counter, saline sprays are also available.
3. Flush out the sinuses
There are different devices on the market, such as a neti pot, which can be used to flush the sinuses. Neti pots have been used for hundreds of years to clear the nasal passages of mucus. People can also use a saline solution to flush the mucus out of each nostril. Distilled or previously boiled water that has cooled should be used to avoid bacteria from tap water entering the nose.
4. Apply a warm compress
A warm compress may decrease sinus congestion and that stuffy feeling in the nose and face. People can wet a washcloth with very warm water and apply it to the face. They just need to be sure the water is not so hot that it burns the skin. Some people add sliced fresh ginger to the water before soaking the washcloth.
5. Try eucalyptus oil
Eucalyptus oil is made from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree. The oil has been used for hundreds of years for its healing properties. Inhaling the oil can decrease inflammation of the nasal lining and make breathing easier. Simply place a few drops of the oil in a pot of boiling water and inhale the steam.
6. Use a humidifier
The added moisture in the air from a cool or warm mist humidifier can thin the mucus in the nose. This makes draining easier. A cool mist may also reduce inflammation of the mucous membranes inside the nose. It’s important to keep a humidifier clean to prevent bacteria growth. People should always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations.
7. Other methods
Because having a stuffy nose is so common, there is also a range of alternative methods that some people have found to relieve the sensation. Although evidence is lacking they include:
– Horseradish – snacking on this spicy vegetable is believed by some to help clear the passages.
– DIY acupressure – applying light pressure to the bridge of the nose with the thumb and index finger. At the same time, with the other hand, grab the muscles at either side of the back of the neck.
– Facial massage – giving the sinuses a gentle massage with the fingers may relieve some symptoms.
– Apple cider vinegar – mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into a glass of water and drink.
– Peppermint tea – menthol may reduce stuffiness.