A clogged nose can make it hard for you to breathe and make sleeping difficult especially if it happens only during the night. While the condition clears away in a few days in most cases, there are various home remedies that may help to control the symptoms. Read on to discover how to get rid of the problem faster.
There is a common misconception that a clogged nose is the result of excess mucus, but that cannot be further from the truth as the Health Line website notes. So, what causes it?
Well, a stuffed-up nose is caused by swelling of the tissues lining the nose, usually as a result of inflammation of blood vessels. Among the most underlying factors are a common cold, flu, sinus infection, and hay fever and other allergies.
This blockage may or may not be accompanied by nasal discharge (a runny nose). It may also occasionally cause coughing or a sore throat when mucus run down the back of your throat. Nasal congestion typically goes away by itself within a week’s time.
Chronic cases may be an indication of continued exposure to an underlying factor such as an allergen such as dust mites, pollen, etc. it may also signify the presence of nasal polyps; sac-like growths in the nasal and sinus linings.
This warrants the attention of your doctor. In addition to physical examination of the nose, ears, throat and air passageways, your doctor may also recommend allergy skin and blood tests, sputum culture, or chest x-rays.
In Newborn and babies
While having a clogged nose is only annoying and discomforting for adults and older children, it may be a serious problem for newborn babies as it might cause them a problem with nursing.
The Mayo Clinic recommends seeking immediate attention of a doctor (or pediatrician) if your baby is younger than 2 months and has a fever or if the clogged-up nose is interfering with her nursing or breathing.
Blocked nose at night & how to sleep
Having a blocked nose at night can make breathing and sleep difficult and even increase your likelihood to snore. Nighttime clogging of the nose may be caused by any of the following factors: allergies; dry and/or dusty air, sinus infection, and deviated septum.
It is reported that the problem of nighttime nose clogging afflicts more than 30 percent of Americans.
Here are some of the ways in which you can control the problem:
- Sleep with a humidifier
- Take hot showers before going to bed
- Use nasal decongestant sprays
- Sleep with your head elevated
- Use antihistamine medication if allergy is suspected (and also remove any potential allergen e.g. chemicals, pollen, dust mites etc.)
- Use herbal teas and take spicy foods before bedtime
- Use nasal strips e.g. Biore Nasal Strips to keep your nostrils open
How to get rid clear or relieve it
Nasal congestion clears away by itself in one week’s time or so, but there are numerous measures that can be used to take care of the symptoms. Here are some tips on how to get rid of this problem:
Nasal sprays and drops should not be used for more than 3 days as this can make the congestion worse.
1. OTC decongestant medication
An over-the-counter decongestant can help to reduce the inflammation of blood vessels in the nasal passage and ease the pain that accompanies a blocked nose.
You typically have a choice between nasal sprays and pills. Afrin and Sinex are arguably the most popular nasal decongestant nasal sprays. As for the pills, Sudogest and Sudafed are some of the most popular options.
Regardless of the variety used, it is always important to follow the directions provided. In particular, you will want to ensure that such medications are not used for more than 3 days unless otherwise instructed by your doctor least you risk making the condition even worse.
Allergies are so much associated with nasal congestion that you simply cannot talk about how to get rid of this condition without a mention of something about antihistamines; a category of medications used to treat allergies.
It is critical that you follow the instructions provided in the last letter; otherwise, you may make the condition worse rather than improve it. Keep in mind also that antihistamine drugs may make you drowsy and it is always prudent to avoid such activities as driving and machine operation when using them.
3. Saline nasal sprays
A clogged nose may also benefit from using a saline nasal spray. These over-the-counter products are formulated to increase the moisture in your nasal passages and thus thin off and drain the mucus trapped in there. This reduces the inflammation of blood vessels and offers relief from the symptoms of nasal congestion.
There are as well some OTC saline sprays that feature nasal decongestant medication. Ask your pharmacist about it. Such products should not be used for more than 3 days as prolonged use of nasal decongestants scan worsen rather than improve the symptoms.
4. Drain your sinuses with a neti pot
A neti pot can help to unclog your nose by flushing out the mucus trapped in there. This simple device is designed to push water through the nasal passages.
All you have to do is to tilt your head over a sink, place the spout inside your nostril and then pour in the water (preferably sterile or distilled water according to the Food and Drug Administration). The water will flow into your nasal passages and come out through the other nostril. After a minute or so, switch to the other nostril.
When to call a doctor:
A stuffed-up nose will clear gradually by itself and use the above measures could ensure comfort while you recuperate. You will, however, want to see a doctor immediately if:
- The condition is accompanied by selling on the forehead, side of cheeks, nose, cheek, or eyes, or is accompanied by blurred vision
- There are white or yellow spots on your tonsils
- If the discharge from your nose has a notable offensive smell, is any other color other than yellow or white, or seems to drain out from only one nostril
- The stuffed nose is accompanied by prolonged cough that stays on for more than 10 days or produces a gray or yellow-green mucus
- The condition lasts for more than 3weeks
- You experience fever in addition to nasal discharge
How to stop or fix it naturally
As for those of you asking how to stop or fix a this naturally, your best bets include running a humidifier and taking hot showers every now and then. You will also want to take a lots of fluids to keep your body sufficiently hydrated.
Scott P. Stringer, MD, professor of otolaryngology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the chair of the Rhinology and Paranasal Sinus Committee of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, also recommends boosting your immune systems with herbs. Menthol and eucalyptus are classic remedies that work wonders.
Menthol is a derivative of peppermint oil and is sold OTC as balms and rubs. Stringer notes that menthol doesn’t actually reduce nasal congestion but instead targets the nerve receptors to offer a short-term alleviation of the symptoms.
As for eucalyptus oil – also sold in ointments and rubs – it works by loosening the mucus trapped in the nasal passages and sinuses. An especially great way to go about it is to cover your head with a towel over a basin of hot water to which eucalyptus oil has been added and then inhaling the steam for 10 minutes.
Home Remedies to try
The following home remedies can come in handy in getting your nose unclogged and facilitate better breathing.
Inhaling moist air is known to soothe irritated blood vessels and nasal tissues. A great solution is a humidifier; a simple machine that is designed to increases humidity in your room by converting water into moisture. A humidifier also helps to thin out the mucus in your sinuses.
2. Take hot showers
A steamy hot shower does wonder for nasal blockage. As in the case of a humidifier, the hot steam in the shower thins out and drain off the mucus in your nose and sinuses which then reduces the symptoms. It also reduces the inflammation of blood vessels which gives you momentarily relief.
Inhale hot steam at the sink: Another variation to breathing in hot steam is to place a towel over your head at a sink to which hot water has been added. Allow some time for the steam to build up and then take in deep breaths, being cautious not to burn your face.
3. Saline nasal wash
A nasal wash can also be used to remove mucus from your nose and improve the symptoms of nose clogging.
While it is possible to buy a ready-made saline spray at your local drugstore, you can make your own at home by adding ½ teaspoon of salt and a pinch of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) into a cup of warm water. Wash your nose with the resulting saline solution 3 times daily.
4. a warm compress
Placing a warm towel on your face also helps to reduce blood vessels inflammation and open your nasal passages. It also helps to thin out and drain off the mucus trapped in it. Simply soak a small towel in warm water, wring out excess water, and the place it neatly on your face, paying close attention to the nose and forehead. Repeat this several times each day until it improves.
5. Keep your head elevated
This condition tends to worsen when someone is lying down. So stay upright as much as possible and prop your head up with a pillow when lying down.
6. Stay hydrated
It is recommended that you stay adequately hydrated by taking lots of fluids including water, sports drinks, soup, juices, tea, name it. Such liquids help with thinning out of the mucus in your nasal passages which relieve pressure in your sinuses and push the mucus out of your nose. This eventually rolls out to less inflammation and irritation.
In addition, you will also want to:
- Avoid common irritants such as abrupt weather change and cigarette smoke
- Take some vitamin C supplements. Taking foods rich in vitamin C e.g. green leafy vegetables also helps to get over the symptoms of the cold faster.