Stuffy nose or nasal congestion has been one of the oldest and most common health complaints. It is one of the problems that cause a lot of discomfort during sleeping hours. Sometimes it is caused by common cold whereas at times it could be a symptom of another health problem like sinus infection.
Having nasal congestion causes irritation and result in mood swings. It is marked by: runny nose, sinus pain, mucus build up and swollen nasal tissues. It is found to be an annoying problem for older adults and children but nasal congestion can be serious in infants who would have a hard time breathing as a result. Read on and find out what exactly cause nasal congestion and what are the possible ways to treat the condition?
How is Nasal congestion caused?
Minor illnesses like cold, flu and sinus infection could be a cause of this condition. When the nose becomes inflamed, it is called congestion. As per National Institutes of Health, congestion caused due to illnesses gets better within a week or so. Congestion taking a little longer time indicates an underlying health issue. Explanations for long term nasal congestion are given below:
• Hay fever
• Chronic sinusitis
• Environmental irritants
• Chemical exposures
• Tumours which are benign or non cancerous causing blockage if they grow in nasal passages
Nasal congestion can also occur at the time of women’s pregnancy and begins mostly during the end of first trimester. This congestion could be a cause of hormonal fluctuations or an increased blood supply that occurs during pregnancy. The changes that appear may then affect the nasal membranes causing them to be inflamed, dry or it may bleed as well.
Nasal congestion treatment
There are several ways to clear congestion. One can have medications for nasal congestion as prescribed by the doctor. But the best way for treating this common problem is by making use of home remedies. Using home remedies for nasal congestion can easily cure the problem if it is done properly. Here is a list of the best remedies which may provide relief to the symptoms of nasal congestion.
Remedies for nasal congestion
• Garlic– Using garlic is one of the best home remedy to get some relief from nasal congestion. Its antiviral and anti-fungal properties are quite effective to fight the respiratory infection that causes congestion. For using this, try to boil two or three garlic cloves in a cup of water and add one half teaspoon of turmeric powder in it. Try to drink it daily as this is a good way to get congestion cleared. If not satisfied, try to eat fresh garlic clove which would help to provide some relive from stuffiness and discomfort.
• Apple cider vinegar– Using apple cider vinegar can also help to clear a stuffy nose. Plus it is rich in several nutrients which is good for our overall health and immunity as well. Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and add a single spoon of honey in a cup of warm water. Make sure to drink it for at least two or three times a day for most effective results.
• Steam inhalation– Steam inhalation is one of the most popular home remedy chosen by a wide number of people to clear their congestion. It works as a natural expectorant for reducing nasal congestion and further it also lubricates the irritated respiratory tract. Trying this for two to four times a day may bring some relief. For this, you should try to add one tablespoon of crushed carom seeds to boiling water and then inhale the steam. Or else you can also try peppermint essential oil to the boiling water and then inhale. But remember steam inhalation is not recommended for young children due to the risk of scalding. Those suffering from high blood pressure, heart conditions or central nervous system disorder and pregnant women should also maintain a distance.
• Warm water– In a stuffy nose, a balanced flow of mucus is required in nasal passages which can be easily achieved with the assistance of warm water. Warm water helps in making the nasal passages moist and helps to prevent dryness. You can try using a humidifier which will help opening up clogged passages. Another way is to put hot shower on for few minutes that would build up steam in the bathroom. Breathe the soothing vapours or you can repeat this twice or thrice daily to recover completely. Another option is placing a wash cloth on the face completely soaked in warm water. Leave it for 10-12 minutes on the face and repeat several times a day for quick results.
• Herbal tea– Having hot herbal tea helps in thinning of mucus clogging nasal passages. Also the herbs present in herbal tea are so good that they flush out all the toxins from the body, thereby giving us double benefits. So it’s a very simple remedy, you just need to drink a cup of herbal tea of your choice few times a day and this will help to clear off the congestion that bothers you. Peppermint tea is another option which is found to be really good for nasal congestion as the menthol present in it largely helps to open up the nasal passage.
• Fenugreek– Fenugreek has rich anti inflammatory properties that make it a great natural ingredient in reducing congestion. It also helps in cleansing mucus membranes and the heat and moisture from it further help to thin the mucus. To enjoy fenugreek tea benefits, you just need to mix one or two tablespoons of crushed fenugreek seeds crushed in a glass of water. Boil the solution and then strain and drink it. Try to repeat this for at least two or three times in a day for better results. Pregnant woman should not take this as it may stimulate uterine contractions.
Above mentioned remedies are good, easy and effective to reduce nasal congestion but what happens sometime is that home remedies do not seem enough to relieve congestion. This is particular in a situation when symptoms are caused by another health condition. In this case, one needs to have proper medical treatment for nasal congestion especially when the condition becomes painful.
Treating nasal congestion
If the conditions mentioned below occur, it means you must see your doctor immediately:
• Congestion lasting for more than ten days
• Congestion followed by high fever lasting for more than three days
• Green nasal discharge followed by sinus pain and fever
• Weakened immune system and asthma
• Recently had to face head injury and now having bloody nasal discharge
After having proper examination, the doctor will be able to determine the cause of the chronic nasal discharge and then he would prescribe the best treatment plan to resolve problematic symptoms. The treatment for nasal congestion may include over the counter prescription medications to alleviate symptoms.
Medications for nasal congestion
• Oral antihistamines for treating allergies like loratadine and cetirizine
• Antihistamine that contains nasal sprays like azelastine
• Nasal steroids like mometasone or fluticasone
• Antibiotics usually for infections like sinusitis
• Some over the counter or prescription strength decongestants like Sudafed
Also keep in mind if there are tumours or nasal polyps in the passage of nasal or sinus that keep mucus from draining out, then a surgery can be done to remove the tumours as prescribed by the doctor. So always remain protected and keep your immunity strong so that you lead a healthy happy life ever.