A stuffy nose is not a joke. Your speech becomes slurry, you sound funny while taking, your nose begins to drip mucus (not every time, though) and just when you blow your nose to get a moment of sweet relief, your nose gets filled up in no time, leaving you frustrated and slow again. It makes your head feel really heavy and reduces your capacity to perform any of the tasks you should be performing on a normal day. It sure doesn’t help if your job involves a lot of paperwork in a little time frame.
Stuffy nose, also known as blocked nose or nasal congestion (more officially) is a respiratory disorder. It is also a condition that occurs more often than any other. There is a common misconception among most people that nasal congestion is as a result of the accumulation of mucus in the nose. This is not true. It actually occurs when the blood vessels in the nose become inflamed, leading to the swelling of the tissues lining the nose. It could also be caused by any of the following;
- Infections: The common cold and the flu are conditions that are caused by virus infections. These viruses are passed through the air and in turn, they cause the nasal tissues to inflate. Sinus infection could also cause nasal congestion. A common symptom of a virus infection is the green or yellow coloration of the mucous, which is discharged from the nose.
- Allergic Reactions: As a response to substances called allergens(for example, pollen, grains, smoke, etc.), your nasal tissues could swell. These allergens release a chemical known as histamine. This histamine could cause the watery (and sometimes, uncontrollable) release of mucous from the nose.
- Figurative Anomalies: Some structural abnormalities such as a deviated septum (the pigment which divides the right nostril from the left), bent nose, etc. could also cause regular nasal congestion. These deformities could be results of a number of things; childhood injuries, accidents during birth, etc. Another structural anomaly is polyps, which is a tumor in the nose as a result of a viral infection in the sinuses.
Like I said earlier, nasal congestion can really be frustrating. However, there are quick remedies to it. Below are a couple of these remedies that have been tested over time and are safe, quick and efficient:
Take A Hot Shower and Coffee
If you ever find yourself with a congested nose, Make cofee with best coffee grinder and had a hot shower definitely will help. There’s a science to this: The steam from a hot shower helps reduce the thickness of the mucous in the nose and reduce inflammation. All you need for this immediate relief strategy is to draw yourself a hot bath and you should begin to feel relief immediately. The downside to this method is that it’s a temporary solution. You sure can’t stay in the shower all day and almost immediately you leave the shower, your nose begins to get clogged up again due to the increase in temperature.
Use A Warm Compress
Another immediate solution is to press warm water over some strategic positions on your head. This process helps open up your nasal pathways externally. Simply put some water (as hot as your skin can handle) into a bowl, put a cloth inside it and put the cloth over the bridge of your nose, but male sure they don’t block your nasal pathways. Take a few deep breaths and your nose should start to clear up. You should be cautious of the temperature of the water so as not to cause any burns or bruises on your face or forehead. Repeat this process if you feel the cloth is getting too cold. You might have to repeat this process a few times before you feel 100% relieved. You should relax while this process takes place and try as much as possible not to do anything too physically straining.
For those who prefer prevention to cure, here are also a few habits that could reduce the likelihood of nasal congestion:
Garlic contains an anti-bacterial called allicin, which counteracts the effects of any viral infections that may cause nasal congestion. It also has Vitamin C, sulfur and other chemicals that help boost the immune system and fight against the bacteria that inflames the nose. However, to effectively use garlic as an anti-bacterial, the garlic must be eaten raw, so as to allow the allicin to work in its raw state. There isn’t a stereotyped dosage for garlic, but it is advised that you take between 3-5 garlic cloves a day for no less than 10 days (they smell weird, I know, but such is the price you have to pay for a free-flowing nasal pathway). Just peel off the skin of the garlic and continue eating it completely. Continue this process regularly to completely free up your sinuses.
Warning: Don’t try this on an empty stomach.
If you feel that the raw taste of the garlic is too irritating, you could use it as a part of your regular diet. Put it in your soups, pizzas, anything. Just make sure that you consume it regularly.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
The intake of fluids will increase the moisture in your body, which will, in turn, soothe any irritation in your nose. The fluids will also ease the passage of mucous, making it easier to flow out of your nose, reducing the pressure of your sinuses. The lesser the pressure, the lesser the inflammation you feel. The fluids aren’t restricted to water; other drinks such as sports drinks, soups, broths, juice, etc. will work just as well.
Change Your Sleeping Arrangement
There are some steps you can take to ensure that you still sleep well, even with a clogged nose
- Make sure your room is cool. This helps you sleep faster. Make it not too cool, though. Your congested nose should still be given consideration
- Use as many pillows as you can, or sleep in an elevated recliner. Raising your head will prevent the mucous in your head to slip further backward.
Use Herbs To Improve Your Immune System
For a cold nose, Vitamin C and other herbs will definitely be of help. They help your body develop immunities and fight bacteria and viruses that cause nasal inflammation. Although these herbs might not eradicate a blocked nose completely, they can definitely speed up the healing process. Combining herbs and vitamins with other corrective measures should to the trick perfectly.
If eventually, you fall victim of nasal congestion, there a few homemade solutions that you can try. The advantage of these methods is the fact that you don’t have to wait for doctors’ orders. These methods are also very cost-effective:
Use A Humidifier
A humidifier increases the humidity of any room it is put in. Using this machine will moisturize the air in your room. Inhaling the altered air will reduce the inflammation in the blood vessels and reduce the clogging in your nostrils. The mucus in your nostrils will reduce in thickness, causing the fluids in your nose to flow easily.
Use A Saline Spray
Saline sprays consist simply of salt-water solutions. This method works under the same principle as normal hydration. The spraying of this solution using a bulb syringe increases the moisture in your nostrils. The more the moisture, the easier it is for the nose to expel the mucous. These days, most saline sprays are accompanied by decongestant medications. For these sprays, it is better to get a qualified doctor’s prescriptions. They can have dangerous side effects if used indiscriminately or if used alongside the wrong medications.
Try A Neti Pot
The neti pot is used to flush out the impurities and mucous from your nose. However, it is not advisable to try this process by yourself or if you have the flu (or any other virus-induced nasal congestion). All you need to do is dissolve salt into water and pour the saline solution into a neti pot. Tilt the spout of the pot into your nostril until the water enters your nasal passages. The saline solution will moisturize your nostril and reduce the congestion in your nostrils. Repeat this step a few more times and then change the nostril where the water flows in. For this process to be successful, however, you must make sure that the water flows out of your other nostril.
Take Allergy Pills
If your congested nose is a consequence of an allergic reaction to some substance or the other, you could use the allergy pills (for example, antihistamine). Adding your allergy medicine to a decongestant will further reduce the pressure in your nostrils. Note that these pills should be taken according to your doctor’s prescriptions. Taking them wrongly could greatly exacerbate your condition. You should also know that antihistamine will make you drowsy. Make sure that a short nap follows the intake of such a drug and don’t exert yourself physically.