When inflammation affects the blood vessels inside the nose, it can cause the nasal tissues to swell and mucus to build up. This leads to a stuffy nose. People often think that a stuffy nose is caused by too much mucus in the nose. But a stuffy nose is usually caused by blood vessels in the sinuses that are swollen.
There are many ways to get rid of the pain it can cause. This video shows 11 ways to deal with a stuffy nose, from breathing in steam to eating horseradish. Even though not all of them are backed by science, some people may find them useful.
1. Try Steam Inhalation
One of the most common ways to relieve the symptoms of a cold or sinus infection at home is to breathe in steam. This helps to open up the nasal passages and calm the nose. Even though breathing in steam won’t cure an infection like a cold or the flu, it may help you feel a lot better while your body fights it off.
Bring the water to a boil, and then pour it into the bowl. Wrap the towel around the back of your head, close your eyes, and slowly lower your head until it’s about 8 to 12 inches from the hot water. For 10 to 15 minutes, take slow, deep breaths through your nose.
You could try adding oil of chamomile, eucalyptus, or peppermint. Warmth and moisture can temporarily help the membranes inside the nose feel better. Click the link in the description to see which steam inhalers are recommended.
2. Use Saline Spray
With saline, a saltwater solution, you can get even more water. Using a nasal saline spray can make your nose and sinuses moister. Using saline spray may help reduce swelling in the nose’s tissues and clear up a stuffy nose.
You can buy saline sprays over the counter or on the Internet. You can make saline solution at home by mixing salt and water in the right amounts. Or, you can click the link in the description to see what saline sprays are recommended.
To make your own, take 4 cups of bottled water, add 2 teaspoons of table salt, and mix until the salt is completely dissolved. Using a rubber ear bulb syringe, draw the saline solution into your ear. Then, tilt your head down over a sink and turn to the left. Squeeze half of the solution into your right nostril, and then do the same thing on your left side.
3. Take Antihistamine
A stuffy nose can sometimes be caused by an allergic reaction. People can find different options online, but they should talk to a doctor or nurse before taking an antihistamine. Some allergy medicines can make you feel sleepy.
You could try a Quercetin supplement as a natural antihistamine. Quercetin is a flavonoid that is found in a lot of plants and foods, like apples, berries, black tea, broccoli, and so on. According to research, adding quercetin to your diet might help relieve allergy symptoms.
It will work better to take Quercetin supplements than to eat foods that already have it in them. This is because this flavonoid is found in foods in much lower amounts. Click on the link in the description to see what Quercetin supplements are recommended.
4. Try a Warm Compress
If congestion is giving you a headache or sinus pain, try putting a warm compress right on your nose and forehead. This can help relieve swelling and pressure in your nose and make you feel better.
You can buy a compress (link in the description) that can be heated in the microwave, or you can just soak a washcloth or dish towel in warm water, squeeze out the excess, fold it, and place it over your nose, cheeks, and forehead. Try this for 20 minutes, and if you need to, do it again.
5. Take Decongestant
With swollen and painful nasal passages, a decongestant can help reduce the swelling and ease the pain. Small blood vessels in the nose get smaller when you take a decongestant. This makes the inside of the nose less swollen and makes it feel less stuffed up.
Some decongestants can be bought over the counter, while others need a prescription. They come as sprays for the nose, drops, pills, or syrup. Afrin and Sinex are two well-known decongestant nasal sprays. Sudafed and Sudogest are two common decongestant pills.
When using decongestants, be careful. Without a doctor’s supervision, you shouldn’t take a decongestant for more than 3 days. After 3 days, a nasal decongestant might make your stuffy nose and congestion even worse.
6. Use Humidifier
A simple and effective way to get rid of nasal congestion is to run a humidifier or cool-mist vaporizer in your home or office. When you breathe in humid air, it helps to calm down irritated nasal tissues, reduces inflammation in the sinuses, and thins mucus. Click on the link in the description to find out which humidifiers are recommended.
Both warm-mist and cool-mist machines are good at making the air more humid and relieving congestion. No matter what type of unit you choose, make sure to change the water every day and clean the unit as directed by the manufacturer to keep bacteria and mold from growing.
7. Stay Hydrated
Even though it won’t help right away, drinking a lot of fluids will thin the mucus in your nose, making it easier for your sinuses to drain. Even though a lot of people swear that hot tea helps clear up congestion, it probably doesn’t matter if the drinks you drink are hot or cold.
In a study, researchers gave half of a group of people with cold and flu symptoms a hot drink and the other half a warm drink. They measured nasal airflow and found no difference between the two groups. Interestingly, the people who drank the hot drink said they felt better.
8. Try a Nasal Strip
Nasal strips are a great choice for people with stuffy noses. Nasal strips work right away to clear up stuffy noses by making it easier to breathe. In fact, they can open your nose up to 38% more than decongestant sprays alone and help you feel less stuffy.
The strip gently lifts the outside of the nose to open the nasal valve, which is the narrowest part of the nasal passageway. This makes it easier to breathe. Nasal strips can be used at any time of day or night to feel better right away.
9. Try Zinc Supplement
Zinc supplements work by binding to zinc receptors on common cold and flu viruses. This could lower the number of viruses in the body. Zinc might help by making congestion symptoms go away faster, but it doesn’t work like a decongestant.
Other dietary supplements, like echinacea, vitamin C, and probiotics, are often sold as cures for colds and congestion, but they are better at boosting the immune system as a whole than getting rid of a stuffy nose. Click the link in the description to see what Zinc supplements are recommended.
10. Eat Chicken Soup
When you have a cold or congestion, chicken soup can help ease the inflammation that comes with it. One study showed that the soup decreased the activity of neutrophils, which are a type of white blood cell. This could, at least in theory, help reduce inflammation.
A hot bowl of soup could also help clear a stuffy nose by making the mucus thinner so it can drain more easily. In the same way, drinking hot tea, soup, or water can help, as can taking a steaming hot shower.
11. Other methods
Here are some other tips that might help:
- Eating spicy vegetables, such as horseradish.
- Drinking a glass of water mixed with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
- Consuming peppermint or ginger tea.
- Boiling two or three cloves of garlic in water and drinking the mixture twice per day.
When you’re stuffed up, it can make you feel bad. It can make it hard to breathe, give you headaches, and keep you from sleeping. There are many things you can do at home or buy over-the-counter to help ease this pain.
If you still have sinus pressure symptoms after a week, or if you have new symptoms like a fever, you should see a doctor. This could mean that you have a more serious infection that needs antibiotics.