Finding Relief from Nasal Congestion
A stuffy nose can make you feel miserable. It might make it hard to breathe through your nose and it can come with sinus problems like headaches. You might have a cold or the flu or you might be experiencing allergies. Whatever the cause is, you experience nasal congestion when your nasal passages are inflamed or irritated. They will produce more mucus to try and flush out the irritant. While your stuffy nose should eventually go away, you can try some different remedies to relieve your congestion. You should first try some home remedies and, if they don't help, seeing a doctor might help you to find the right treatment.
When your nasal passages are dry, it can make the irritation and inflammation worse. By keeping your nasal passages moist, you can help to reduce the mucus and allow your nasal passages to heal. There are lots of things you can do to keep your nasal passages moist, including using a humidifier or vaporizer to prevent the air in your home from getting too dry. For more direct relief, you can take warm showers or breathe in steam from a pot or bowl of warm water.
Drinking lots of fluids is a good idea too. When you stay hydrated, it will help to thin out mucus and can help to prevent blocked sinuses too. Make sure you have water available or try other drinks too, such as a comforting cup of tea. Another lifestyle change that you might want to think about is the position that you sleep in. If you keep your head elevated at night, it can make it more comfortable to breathe when your nose is congested. You can use a couple of pillows to prop your head up while you sleep.
As well as drinking plenty of fluids, you can also make your nasal passages moister by flushing them out. A nasal saline solution spray is one way to do this, keeping your nasal passages from drying out using salt water. You can also use a neti pot or a bulb syringe to move water through your nasal passages. Just make sure that you use distilled or sterile water or water that has been boiled and left to cool, so that it's hygienic and won't cause further problems like an infection.
There are a few different over-the-counter medications that you might find helpful when you have a stuffy nose. Painkillers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help you if you're in pain, and they can also help if you have a fever or feel unwell. Decongestants can also be helpful, but you can't use them for too long or they might make your congestion worse. Use nasal decongestants for no more than three days, and oral decongestants for no more than a week.
Another thing to remember is that some decongestants also contact painkillers, so you should check to avoid taking too much if you're also taking a painkiller. Some cold medicines will combine decongestants and painkillers for an all-in-one solution.
Antihistamines are another medication that might help if you're experiencing nasal congestion. Congestion sometimes results from allergies, so antihistamines can address the underlying cause. Some allergy medications contain decongestants too, so they help to provide relief in a couple of different ways. You can also find some cold medicines that have antihistamines in them, including nighttime medicines because they can make you feel drowsy. Make sure you check the label when you're taking allergy medicines – many of them have a non-drowsy formula.
Seeing a doctor
If the home remedies for dealing with nasal congestion aren't working for you, scheduling an appointment to see a doctor could be the next step. An ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist deals with everything to do with these three parts of the body, which are all interconnected. They can help to diagnose any underlying causes that might be responsible for nasal congestion or prescribe the right treatment to help you get better. You can schedule an appointment with an ENT doctor if you have a nasal congestion problem that keeps coming back or won't go away. The doctor can help you to get the root of the problem and find the right treatment to address your nasal congestion.
Get in touch with ENT Physicians Inc. to learn more about how an ear, nose and throat specialist can help you with nasal congestion problems. Call our office at 419-776-5028 today.