Nasal congestion is a common condition, which we all experience from time to time. However, it can be super annoying. A stuffy nose may keep dripping through the day and keep you up at night. This makes it important to know how to get rid of a stuffy nose.
Before we take a look at what you can do to relieve stuffy nose and breathe easy, let’s take a look at what causes it. A lot of people believe that excess mucus makes your nose stuffy. However, that’s not the case. The real reason why you feel stuffy when you are sick is that cold, flu, and allergies can irritate blood vessels in the sinus. These inflamed vessels clog the nose, making it feel stuffy. Now that you know what causes a stuffy nose, you can treat it the right way!
How to Get Rid of a Stuffy Nose: 10 Effective Remedies
There are multiple ways to relieve a stuffy nose and breathe normally. So, without further ado – let’s take a look at how to get rid of a stuffy nose.
1. Use a Humidifier
A humidifier works by adding moisture in the air, increasing the humidity in the surrounding area. Placing a humidifier in your room will not only provide quick relief to a stuffy nose, but will also help with sinus pain. The reason why this method works like a charm is that breathing in moist air can help soothe inflamed vessels in the nose and sinus. It also provides relief to irritated tissue in the nose and thins mucus. As a result, the stuffy nose is cleared and your breathing returns to normal.
2. Take a Hot Shower
Have you ever noticed that a stuffy nose always feels better after a long hot shower? Well, it’s because the steam in the shower helps reduce the inflammation in the nose and sinus. It also thins and clears out mucus to help you get rid of a stuffy nose. However, don’t give up just yet if you don’t feel like getting in the shower. You can get the same effect by breathing in steam from just about any source of hot water.
For instance, you can fill up the sink with hot water or boil some water and shift it to a bowl. In either case, facing the steaming water, cover your head with a towel. Now, take deep breaths in the rising steam to get rid of a stuffy nose quickly. However, while this method is super effective, it requires you to be extra careful to make sure you don’t burn your face with hot water or steam.
3. Eat Your Favorite Chicken Soup
If you are wondering how to get rid of a stuffy nose, give the good old chicken soup a try! The benefits of chicken soup are backed by science. According to research, “Chicken soup may contain a number of substances with beneficial medicinal activity. A mild anti-inflammatory effect could be one mechanism by which the soup could result in the mitigation of symptomatic upper respiratory tract infections.”
Apart from helping with a clogged nose, chicken also contains multiple important nutrients. It also helps with hydration, replenishing your body so that it can fight off cold and flu. For all these reasons, it is an excellent idea to eat chicken when you are down with flu or cold. Even if it doesn’t provide immediate relief to your stuffed-up nose, you’ll still feel better after enjoying your favorite soup!
4. Keep Your Head Elevated
Tired of restless nights? Here’s how to get rid of a stuffy nose and sleep peacefully at night. Keep your head up so that it is elevated. Keeping your head in this position will relieve the sinus and drain mucus. As a result, you will find it easier to breathe normally. Also, avoid sleeping on your stomach. Instead, lay on your back and use and extra pillow or a cushion to prop your head.
5. Drink Plenty of Water
It is true that a stuffy nose is caused by inflamed vessels in the nose and sinus. However, thick mucus also works to aggravate the situation. It sticks in the nose, causing congestion. Dehydration can thicken the mucus, which makes it very important to stay hydrated at all times, especially when you are sick. So, if you are struggling with a stuffy nose, perhaps you need to reach for your water bottle. Drinking enough water will loosen mucus and drain your sinus. As a result, your nose will clear up!
6. Avoid Blowing Your Nose
One of the most common mistakes that most people make is that they blow their nose when they get a stuffy nose. It is understandable to reach out for a tissue paper. However, this is not the best way to deal with a stuffy nose. In fact, it is actually recommended NOT to blow your nose when it’s stuffy. Research suggests that blowing your nose can cause pressure in the nasal cavity. This may cause nasal fluids from your nose, containing viruses, bacteria, or inflammatory agents, to flow into the sinus.
This makes it important to resist the urge to blow your nose when you are sick. It is best to use a tissue to dab your nose if it gets runny. If you must blow your nose, the best way to go about it is to blow one nostril at a time and do it very gently.
7. Try a Decongestant
Wondering how to get rid of a stuffy nose quickly? Well, you can always opt for an over-the-counter decongestant nasal spray. These sprays work to reduce the inflammation and shrink the blood vessels to help you breathe normally. However, excessive use of a nasal spray can aggravate your stuffy nose. So, make sure you use a nasal spray according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, it is best to avoid using decongestant nasal sprays for more than 4 -5 days in a row.
You can also opt for natural decongestants like peppermint. With its main active ingredient, menthol, peppermint is an excellent choice of natural decongestant. Generally, it is found in cough drops and chest rubs. However, you can also consume it by brewing a delicious cup of peppermint tea. All you have to do is steep one tablespoon of dried peppermint in a cup of hot water for at least 10 minutes. If you want to add a bit of sweetness, simply mix in a spoon of honey. This will not only help with a stuffy nose but will also soothe a cough. You can take peppermint tea to up to five times a day.
8. Say No to Caffeine and Alcohol
Both caffeine and alcohol can have a diuretic effect, which means that they may work to increase urine production. This makes it difficult to stay hydrated while consuming caffeine or alcohol. Plus, both of them can mess up your sleeping routine. While alcohol has a negative impact on the quality of sleep, caffeine will give an energy boost, keeping you awake at night. You don’t want to overwork your body when you are already under the weather. Instead, you need to get some sleep and loads of rest to recover quickly. This is why consuming caffeine or alcohol does not work in your favor. However, if you must consume them, make sure you don’t wait till after 2 p.m.
9. Gargle with Salt Water
Gargling with salt water is an excellent remedy to soothe a sore throat. However, it can also help with a stuffy nose to some extent. The best part is that you can easily prepare saltwater at home. Simply add a teaspoon of salt to a glass (8 ounces) of warm water. Mix thoroughly to dissolve the salt in the water and your saltwater is ready. Use the solution to gargle a few times a day to relieve a stuffy nose and soothe a sore throat.
10. Bring Out the Essential Oils
While the jury’s still out on the effectiveness of essential oils in getting rid of a stuffy nose, early research shows that essential oils possess various properties that can help with a stuffy nose. For instance, tea tree oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which can help get rid of a stuffy nose. One way to use an essential oil is to use a diffuser. It will disperse the oil in your bedroom.
You can also use essential oils to make your own chest rub. Peppermint, eucalyptus, and tea tree oils are generally believed to possess cold-fighting properties that may also help you deal with a clogged nose. To make your own chest rub, simply add a few drops of your favorite cold-fighting essential oil in a carrier oil and apply it topically.
Now that you know how to get rid of a stuffy nose, don’t let congestion ruin your day ever again. Try these remedies today to clear your stuffy nose. However, if nasal congestion persists for more than two weeks or you notice bloody mucus, it is advisable to consult a doctor.