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10 Home Remedies For Stuffy Nose Relief
One of the most annoying problems ever is when you have sinus congestion (often called a stuffy nose, stuffed up nose, or blocked nose) that just doesn’t seem to go away. When your sinuses are stuffed up, you really have no choice but to breathe through your mouth. No one wants to be known as “the mouth breather.”
Worse yet is when you can breathe just a little bit, but because of the congestion, your nose makes those little snorting sounds– or you whistle like a kid’s toy! When this happens, sleeping is next to impossible! Who can sleep when it sounds like someone is calling for the dog?!
When the tissues inside the nasal cavity swell, they block the flow of mucus. This leads to a backup that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to breathe normally. Although this often happens when you have a cold, the flu, or some type of allergic reaction, there can be other causes.
Our noses have a huge network of blood vessels and valves that open and close. When the tissues inside the nose become irritated, regardless of the reason, the nervous system kicks into action. This will cause some of these valves to open, allowing more blood to enter the nose. This causes swelling in the nasal passages.
Besides being really annoying, it is important that you don’t “learn to live with it,” as many are prone to do. Left untreated, nasal congestion can lead to ear infections, sinus infections, and a serious case of sleep deprivation.
Most people turn to over-the-counter nasal sprays or nose drops but, over time, these actually make things worse. Yes, the first squirt of that decongestant can feel like a huge weight has lifted off of your … nose, but the most commonly used sprays (such as Neo-Synephrine and Afrin) come with the risk of what has become known as “rebound congestion.” This starts a vicious cycle of overuse and dependence that feels like a drug addiction — because that is exactly what it is. After just three or four days of using these products, your body becomes dependent on them to reduce swelling. Before you know it, you are using these chemical sprays every few hours; otherwise, your nose feels as if someone shoved a potato inside it!
You Do Have Other Options
You might feel as if you have no other choice but to use decongestant sprays or suffer endlessly, but this isn’t the case. You do have other options, and you might be surprised by how easy it can be to find relief.
Want to know more? Keep reading! We are going to clue you in on top 10 home remedies for stuffy nose relief:
1. Humidifier Or Vaporizer
If your stuffed nose is due to cold or flu symptoms, most people find relief by using humidifiers or vaporizers. By adding extra humidity to the air, you can thin out the mucus in your sinuses, allowing them to drain. There are both warm and cold mist humidifiers, and both are equally effective. If you have a child, however, it might be better to use the cold mist to avoid accidental burns. Follow the instructions with your model to ensure that you avoid the growth of mold or bacteria.
2. Garlic To The Rescue!
Everyone knows that garlic is good for the heart, but did you know that garlic has antibacterial and antifungal compounds that make it great for treating a wide variety of problems? In fact, one British study found that those who consumed a garlic supplement during the 12-week cold and flu season had fewer colds than those who did not indulge in garlic. You can add more garlic to your meals by sautéing it with your vegetables or adding it to soups and salads. For almost instant relief from sinus congestion, make a garlic “tea” by cutting up a clove of garlic into very thin slices and adding it to one cup of boiling water. Breathe in the steam (don’t burn your face) until the water cools or until your sinuses are clear.
3. The Neti Pot
No, it’s not a new brand of marijuana — we are talking about those tiny teapot-shaped devices you see in almost every pharmacy or drug store. This is an ancient way to effectively “wash” out all of your sinus passages quickly and easily. You can buy a neti pot almost everywhere for less than $20. You should also buy some pharmaceutical grade salt or the saline solution that is sold, in many stores, right next to the neti pot for best results. Mix up a saline solution according to the directions, then insert the spout of the pot into one nostril, tilt your head to the opposite side. It feels strange the first time or two that you try this, but once you get the hang of it, you will look forward to your “Neti time!”
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
This is an easy way to clear up clogged sinuses because you probably have a bottle of apple cider vinegar in your kitchen! This method thins out the mucus, allowing it to drain easily, and restoring free breathing. Apple cider vinegar is also rich in several nutrients, so it can give your immune system a little boost at the same time. In one glass (eight ounces) of warm water, mix one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of honey. Mix well, then drink it right down. Repeat at least twice each day until your symptoms subside. This is a bit strong, but you will find that it works very well!
5. The Essential Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil can be essential for those who suffer from congestion due to allergies or environmental irritants. When you are at work or other places that make using a humidifier or a neti pot impossible, a bottle of eucalyptus oil in your purse or pocket can be a lifesaver! Eucalyptus oil has powerful anti-inflammatory and decongestant properties. You can take a few sniffs directly from the bottle, or put a few drops on a cloth or cotton ball and take some deep breaths. You can also use this to get your Z’s by putting a few drops on a cotton ball and placing it between your pillowcase and the pillow.
6. Pop Some Peppermint
Peppermint contains a powerful decongestant called menthol. Besides clearing out your nasal passages, let’s face it — peppermint tastes great! You can use this in several different ways:
1. Drink some peppermint tea, and be sure to breathe in the steam.
2. Sniff from a bottle of peppermint essential oil, or add some to your humidifier.
3. Chew on some peppermint gum or peppermint candies.
This might sound too easy to work, but try popping a few peppermints in your mouth before you give up on this idea!
7. Tomato Tea
No, we aren’t kidding! This is a really excellent way to not only get a ton of healthy antioxidants, but you can also get some major relief from congestion by improving the flow of the mucus. All you need to do is boil one cup of tomato juice with one tablespoon of chopped garlic, the juice from half of a lemon, and a pinch of salt. Boil for just one minute, then turn off the flame. Drink while this is still hot. You don’t have to gulp it — sipping it slowly will work just fine. Drink two cups each day for best results.
8. Hot Or Cold Packs: More Than For Muscle Aches
If you thought hot or cold packs were just for aches and pains, think again! By applying either of these packs directly across the bridge of your nose, you can naturally relieve congestion. This is a temporary fix, but it will make you feel better. A hot pack will cause your nose to drain as it thins the mucus. A cold pack will temporarily shrink the nasal passages, allowing the mucus to drain. Be careful not to use a heat pack that is so hot it will burn you. Cold packs should never be placed directly on the skin. Wrap them in a washcloth or paper towel first.
9. The Only Safe Spray
Unlike many over-the-counter nose sprays that cause the “rebound” affect, there is one type of nasal spray that is effective, non-addictive, and completely natural. Saline sprays increase the moisture inside the nasal passes and thin mucus. This will greatly decrease inflammation and swelling. You need to read labels carefully, however, as some of these sprays also contain decongestants, which will only make things worse over time. If you aren’t sure, ask your doctor or pharmacist for a recommendation.
10. Fenugreek Seeds
These seeds are not as common in the U.S. as in other parts of the world, but they are a wonderful way to treat sinus congestion, as they contain powerful anti-inflammatory agents. They also help cleanse the membranes of the sinus passages. Drinking tea made with fenugreek seeds can help to break up congestion quickly and easily. You can buy fenugreek seeds in almost all health food or natural stores. Lightly crush your fenugreek seeds in a coffee grinder or spice grinder. Mix two teaspoons of crushed seeds in one cup (eight ounces) of boiling water. Cover and steep for five to seven minutes. Strain and drink warm. Drink at least two cups each day for best results. Please note that pregnant women should not consume fenugreek as it can stimulate uterine contractions.
Remember to stay hydrated. Drinking eight to 10 glasses of water can help to keep mucus thin and easier to drain.
If you have difficulty sleeping, buy a wedge pillow, use two pillows, or prop up the head of your bed with some pieces of wood so that your head is slightly elevated.
Adding hot spices, such as black pepper, chili powder, horseradish or cayenne pepper to your food can help to keep mucus thin.
Keep your immune system strong to fight off colds and flus by eating plenty of vitamin C-rich foods, getting 30 minutes of safe sunlight exposure, sleeping at least seven hours each night, and eating a more natural, organic diet filled with fresh vegetables and fruit.
Know When You Should See A Doctor
Although almost all cases of congestion clear up naturally within seven to 10 days, sometimes they don’t. If your stuffy nose does not subside within 10 days, you might have a sinus infection.
If you believe you suffer from seasonal allergies or some other type of allergic reaction, see your doctor about other possible treatments to get at the source of your problem.
If you should have other symptoms in addition to congestion, such as wheezing, difficulty breathing, one-sided nose bleeds, a fever of more than 102, shortness of breath, persistent tooth, jaw, or facial pain, seek medical attention immediately.