Is there anything more vexing than one or two clogged nostrils? Probably, but nasal congestion makes the short list of most annoying. It’s tough struggling to breathe through the mouth all day; even more so when you’re trying to sleep. Good thing finding relief from nasal congestion is feasible and relatively simple.
Luckily it’s not a permanent condition, otherwise life would be much worse, but even though it’s short term, the experience feels like months when it’s only days. Before we jam the accelerator on relief tips, we need to consider what causes nasal congestion and how to prevent it. We could consider prevention a form of relief from nasal congestion, but this is more about reactive responses rather than proactive responses.
What causes nasal congestion
Here’s a short list of nasal congestion causes:
- Sinus infections
- Chronic sinusitis
- Deviated septum
- Dry air
- Sleep apnea
- Food, specifically ones that thicken mucus (dairy)
So, basically there’s a lot of factors leading to nasal congestion, some we can control, others not so much. The point is, we’re facing the risk of this daily.
But where there’s bad news, there’s good news, at least in this respect. Finding relief from nasal congestion isn’t inconceivable or improbable, it just takes a little effort.
Relief from nasal congestion
Before we get into it, remember that proper nasal congestion relief comes from attacking the origin of the problem, not just the symptom. Sometimes, temporal relief is necessary until a permanent solution can be executed. For example, you may not be in a place where you can get a proper diagnosis of the source, so finding short-term relief is necessary.
Whether it’s from a hot shower or from a boiling pot of water, breathing in steam is a great way to break up the mucus and get those nostrils flowing. It may differ from person to person, but doing this just before bed is a great way to prevent a sleepless night.
Neti pot is a nasal irrigation system that pumps water up into the sinuses via one nostril and flows out the other. Using both water and saline, the mixture breaks up thick mucus and keeps the sinuses flowing.
This one should be obvious, but a lot of times it’s not. The solution to nasal congestion isn’t iced coffee, believe it or not, it’s actually water. Things like dairy or coffee can thicken the mucus, but water thins it out so everything flows better. Not only that, but water’s just a healthier beverage all around (duh).
When you’re sleeping, sitting higher up rather than lying flat will help you breathe a little better. This one’s important because lacking sleep just makes matters worse and can even exacerbate the symptoms.
Generally this comes after seeing a doctor in the first place, so what they prescribe may help you in the long run, but depending on the cause of the problem, seeking over-the-counter medications may not be the answer you need. For instance, if you have chronic sinusitis, but you keep getting OTC medications, you’re not going to find actual relief until proper diagnosis and treatment happen.
Hopefully, these tips will get you the quick relief you need for a short time until you receive the correct diagnosis and treatment.
The Ear, Nose and Throat Institute treats congestion with a variety of options, depending on the source of the problem. Call 770-740-1860 or fill out the form at the top of the page for a same-day or Saturday appointment.
- Mayo Clinic Staff (2019, Feb 16) Nasal Congestion Causes [Medical Website] Retrieved on August 24th, 2020 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/nasal-congestion/basics/causes/sym-20050644
- Swiner, C., (2020, January 27) Nasal Congestion & Pressure: Home and OTC Remedies [Medical Website] Retrieved on August 24th, 2020 from https://www.webmd.com/allergies/sinus-congestion
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