One of the oldest and most common human complaints is stuffiness of the nose. If not a serious condition, being unable to properly breathe through your nostrils can be a big nuisance and cause of extreme discomfort. People will have the tendency of breathing through their mouth, which often causes dry, chapped lips. For older children and adults, stuffy nose is just a nuisance but may become serious if such condition occurs in infants.
The term stuffy nose, or nasal congestion, refers to an obstruction of the flow of air in and out of the nose. Stuffy nose must not be confused with runny nose, which pertains to a fluid flowing from the nasal passages. Nasal congestion happens when excess fluids cause the swelling of blood vessels and nasal tissues, causing stuffed nose. There are wide ranges of causes for nasal congestion like infections, structural abnormalities, allergies, colds and influenzas. There are people who have congested nose for no evident reason, a condition called non allergic rhinitis.
Nasal congestion caused by infection occurs when the virus enters the nose through hand-to-nose contact, causing the body to release chemical called histamine that increases blood flow to the nose making the nasal tissues swell. The nasal membranes are stuffed up with blood, where excessive mucus produced stuffs up the nose. Structural abnormalities like deformities in the nose and nasal septum, enlargement of the adenoids and nasal tumors especially among children may cause the same condition.
Allergic rhinitis like rose fever, grass fever and summertime colds also lead to nasal congestion. In the case of stuffy nose, allergic conditions are exaggerated inflammatory response to molds, pollens or household dusts resulting to congestion and production of watery nasal mucus.
Prefer calling your doctor when your condition lasts for 10 days or more, is accompanied by high fever, excretes green or bloodied nasal discharge. However, adults who find nasal congestion simply as a nuisance may resort to taking antihistamines to help relieve the runny nose and sneezing caused by allergies. You can also resort to the following all-natural ways to help relieve and get rid of that annoying stuffy nose you’ve been suffering for days.
A perfect and simple home remedy for nasal congestion is saline drops or saltwater nasal washes. It helps wash out mucus and kill bacteria. There are many over-the-counter saline drops available at your local drugstore, however, you can make your own solution by mixing salt and water. Mix ½ cup of lukewarm water with ¼ teaspoon of salt. Place 2 to 3 drops of the solution to each nostril using eyedropper while lying on your back and lifting your head and neck slightly. Be still for a minute, and then turn over to your stomach to drain the solution from your nose to your towel. This procedure will help relieve irritation in the nose and lessen the stuffing. Repeat as often as necessary to provide relief.
Steaming your nose relieves stuffy nose. Simple steaming even from shower, kettle or a cup of kitchen soup can help, but chamomile steam may just give you the best results. The ability of the chamomile tea to soothe and relax when drank has been proven for ages, but its vapors may also just leave the same effect for nasal stuffiness. Allow 1 quart of water to boil into the pot. Once it boils, remove the heat and place 10 chamomile tea bags to the pot and cover it. Wait for 15 minutes and remove the pot’s lid. Lean over to the steam and cover the pot and your head with a large towel, then start breathing deeply to inhale the steam. Stop when you need to blow your nose and continue until steaming is gone or your nose feels less stuffed.
Aside from being a great food ingredient, raw onions can also help relieve nasal congestion. Just like how menthol and other strong vapors clear stuffiness, you can also use onion to open nasal passages. Cut an onion in half and sniff it as deep as you can. The smell it releases acts as a powerful decongestant and causes the mucus membrane to produce a thin liquid that runs the nose and cleans it. This has the same effect as when you use a nasal decongestant. Inhale it for five minutes and you will find that stuffy feeling disappearing almost instantly.
Drink Lots of Water
Drinking lots of water and keeping the body hydrated helps keep the moisture of the nasal cavity. Watching the fluids you drink is important, for not all liquids help in alleviating nasal congestion. Lots of water and non-caffeinated hot tea will help, but you must avoid caffeinated beverages as caffeine provides dehydrating effect and dries out and irritates the nasal lining. Drinking warm brothy soups with added garlic, horseradish and other herbs will give a decongesting power.
Go for Ginger or Lemon Tea
Drinking hot tea or other hot beverages significantly helps in alleviating nasal congestion. Its steam helps clean the nose and the liquid itself helps thin the mucus in the nose as hot drinks most especially tea melts the thick mucus. Best teas include ginger and lemon tea. Ginger tea, aside from being a great recipe flavoring, contains antibiotic properties to help remove infections. To cure your congestion, sip the tea and inhale the steam at the same time.
Take Warm Baths
Pampering your self with hot bath in the tub or in the shower works as good as taking nasal steamers. The steam from the hot bath will help relieve the stuffiness by thinning the swollen mucus, making it easier to drain the mucus out of the nose. You can adjust the warmth as hot as you can handle. The steam from the bath works for it all. Be sure to have a tissue handy nearby for cases of blowing your nose once in a while when you are in bath.