What Is Nasal Congestion
Nasal congestion happens when something irritates tissues lining the inside of your nose. The irritation sets off a chain reaction of inflammation, swelling and mucus production, making it hard to take in air through your nose. Nasal congestion typically clears after a few days, but congestion that lasts for a week or more may be a sign of an infection. Left untreated, nasal congestion may cause sinusitis, nasal polyps or middle ear infections.
When Should I Seek Care
Nasal congestion typically clears within a few days. If it doesnt, you may develop a bacterial infection. You should seek care if you have the following symptoms:
- Your nasal congestion lasts more than 10 days.
- Mucus coming from your nose is green, yellow or has blood in it.
- You have a fever.
- Your newborn baby has nasal congestion that keeps them from nursing or taking a bottle.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Nasal congestion is a common problem with many causes. Many people have seasonal allergies that send their immune systems into overdrive and their noses into a state of stuffiness. Your nose can clog if you spend time around smoke or paint fumes, are under stress, are pregnant or are going through puberty. Nasal congestion may make you feel miserable for a few days before your nose settles down. Talk to your healthcare provider if your nose stays stuffy for more than 10 days. Theyll check for infection. Better yet, theyll recommend ways you can clear out congestion and breathe easy.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/01/2022.
Oral And Nasal Decongestants
Over-the-counter decongestants work by shrinking blood vessels inside the nose. There are both oral and nasal formulations.
Sudafed is an oral decongestant used to relieve nasal or sinus congestion caused by the common cold, sinusitis, and respiratory allergies. Do not use Sudafed for longer than three days as it can also lead to rebound congestion.
While Sudafed is available without a prescription, it is kept behind the pharmacy counter and requires an ID to obtain. A similar drug called Sudafed PE can be purchased without hindrance but has not proven to be anywhere near as effective as pseudoephedrine.
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What Causes Clogged Pores
Clogged pores are the result of dead skin cells getting trapped in your skin instead of being shed into the environment.
You can tell if your pores are clogged if you notice whiteheads, blackheads, or an overall dullness to your skins complexion.
Environmental factors also contribute to clogged pores. These factors include:
- toxins in the air
- oil from your hands transferred when youre touching your face
Read on to discover 10 common methods to unclog pores. And be sure to always talk to your dermatologist before trying out a new skincare routine.
Diffuse An Essential Oil In Your Bedroom
Essential oils might help improve sinus congestion, but there arent enough reliable studies to know for sure.
A found that tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which suggests it might help with nasal congestion.
You can use a diffuser to disperse essential oils in your bedroom.
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When To Get Help
Hopefully, these home remedies for a stuffy nose can help you get some much-needed relief. However, in some cases, you may not experience any progress or recovery. Here are some things to keep in mind that may need medical attention:
- If your nose does not clear up for more than 5 days it may be a sign of something more serious
- If you find it very difficult to breathe
- If you have additional symptoms like green mucus, tightness in the chest and severe, coughing
- If your stuffy nose is accompanied by headaches, ear pain or facial pain, it may indicate something serious
- If you have a fever along with a stuffy nose and neither of them goes away despite home remedies and antipyretics
These symptoms may point towards a serious bacterial or viral infection, or some other root cause. Please be sure to inform your doctor or meet them at the earliest in case you have the above symptoms.
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Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a health care professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the readers situation.
Breathing Exercise To Clear A Blocked Nose
One option for clearing a blocked nose is to perform the following exercise:
- Sit in a vertical position and take a few calm breaths.
- Breathe in through your nose for two seconds and then out through your nose for three seconds. If your nose is too badly blocked to breathe through then you can take small breaths from the corner of your mouth instead.
- Gently pinch your nose and keep your mouth closed. Slowly nod your head while you hold your breath for as long as possible.
- Make sure to breathe through your nose when you cant hold it anymore. Keep your breaths as calm as you can.
- Wait a couple of minutes before repeating the exercise. Keep going until your nose is unblocked.
This breathing exercise is a simple way to clear nasal blockages as it can be done anywhere and doesnt require any special equipment. It works because holding your breath can encourage the nasal passages to widen. You should try to breathe through your nose rather than your mouth to prevent the blockage from returning. Mouth breathing can increase mucus production and trigger constriction of the airways, which can make a blocked nose worse.
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You Can Open Up Your Pores With Baking Soda
While this may be a trendy alternative remedy for oily or breakout-prone skin, baking soda is much too harsh for your skin. It can cause your skin to dry out substantially, leaving you with more dead skin cells that can potentially clog your pores even further.
The best way to open your pores is to cleanse your skin. This removes surface oils, along with dirt and makeup that might be resting on your epidermis .
Follow these steps to clean your skin in preparation for unclogging your pores:
Once youve started with a clean base, you can now take extra steps to unclog your pores.
After washing your face, you can use different methods to help unclog your pores so that they look more open. Consider the following remedies based on your specific pore concern:
Use Menthol Ointment Or Oil
Essential oils like menthol dont unblock the nose, but the cooling sensation helps you feel like youre breathing more easily, explains Dr Ramskill.
You can dissolve a few drops of menthol, eucalyptus or camphor oil in a bath or a humidifier, or try a plug-in vapouriser. Another option is a vapour rub, which is an ointment you apply to your chest.
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How To Unblock A Stuffy Nose At Night Naturally
Here are additional details for how to unblock a stuffy nose that lead to success if you decide to try this great home remedy at night during sleep.
Lie on your left side or chest and completely relax all body muscles. Pinch your nose and follow the above instructions related to breath-holding and reduced breathing to get a quick relief. If your nose keeps getting blocked again and again, you should increase your body-oxygen levels up to 20 or more seconds. With this amount of oxygen in the body, your nose will stay unblocked all the time.
Breathing patterns and congested nose
Our automatic breath patterns have a powerful effect on our cell oxygenation and blood supply to all tissues of the body sinuses included. As soon as your breathing becomes a little deeper or faster, oxygen delivery to body cells decreases. What are the possible causes?
Mouth breathing negatively affects hundreds of physiological processes and reactions in the human body. Sleeping on ones back makes breathing almost 2 times heavier , reducing body oxygenation. As a result, supine sleep often leads to mouth breathing, sleep apnea, snoring, anxiety, panic attacks, headaches, cramps, and other symptoms and problems.
There are certain criteria for the permanent cure of a stuffed nose. These criteria were tested on thousands of people. Find out about these criteria in the bonus content below. The bonus content is in the next paragraph, but it is hidden until you share it on your social network.
How To Clear A Blocked Nose In Seconds
Whatever the time of year, a blocked up nose can be a real pain in the backside. A blocked up nose can be caused by a cold, allergies or even certain chronic conditions.
But instead of reaching for the Lemsip, Prevention Magazine suggests trying these simple techniques first:
Hold your breath for as long as you possibly can, then when you finally take a deep breath your sinuses will clear. Apparently this works because your brain kicks into survival mode realising youre not getting enough oxygen, and so gets to work clearing your sinuses.
The second option is slightly more complicated, but still easily done even from an office chair.
First, press your tongue against the roof of your mouth. After youve done that, tap two fingers on your forehead between your eyebrows and your nose. Repeat the whole sequences again and again for about 20 seconds.
So next time you feel the first tickles of a stuffy nose, see if either of these little tricks work.
Of course, here at London ENT we can treat the symptoms of a variety of different causes of a blocked nose including:
- Swelling of the lining of the nose
- Deviated nasal septum
- Collapse of the nasal valves
- Nasopharyngeal obstruction
If we could help you breathe easily again, call us today on 203 865 7225 to book a consultation.
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Tips To Relieve Your Runny Nose Or Nasal Congestion
Got a case of the sniffles? Chances are that your nose is running faster than a waterfall. Or maybe your nose feels all stuffed up, forcing you to breathe out of your mouth. Or worse-both. A runny nose and nasal congestion are both uncomfortable upper respiratory symptoms with their own underlying causes. But once they start, you want relief, fast.
A runny nose is a discharge of mucus from the nostrils. Itâs the result of excess nasal mucus production. The excess nasal mucus leads to watery nasal secretions that flow out of your nostrils or drip down into your throat.
Nasal congestion is due to the inflammation of the linings of the nasal cavity. Swollen nasal passages constrict air flow, making it harder to breathe through your nose. The inflammation also makes it harder to get mucus out of your nose, so you may also have a build-up of thick, dry mucus, as well. It causes you to feel stuffed up, which is why itâs also referred to as a stuffy nose.
The common cold and the flu are often the culprits of a runny nose and/or nasal congestion,1 but they can both also be caused by allergies.
These are not the only symptom of the cold or flu. You may also experience other associated symptoms, like sneezing, coughing, chest congestion, a sore throat, headaches, and body aches.
Find out how to relieve your upper-respiratory symptoms like nasal congestion and runny nose so you can feel better fast.
Avoid liquids like caffeine that can cause dehydration.
How To Drain Your Sinuses In Seconds
First, you place your right thumb underneath your left cheekbone. You push in and then out. With your other hand, youll grab the lower part of the same side ear and pull it straight out. Hold that for 10 seconds. While doing this youll feel the left sinus open up throughout those 10 seconds and your life will begin to change for the better.
Then you take your left thumb and put it under the right cheekbone. You firmly push in and out. With your right hand, you grab the lower portion of your right ear and pull out. Again, you will hold this for 10 glorious seconds as your right sinus releases and your feel that sweet wave of sinus relief.
If those steps are followed, a person should feel nearly immediate drippage as the sinuses begin to release. Relief is on the way. Now we move on to clearing a stuffy nose.
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When To See Your Doctor
Although most people can treat a stuffy nose at home, certain groups should see their doctor for diagnosis. This includes:
- adults age 65 and older
- people who have a compromised immune system
Even if youre not in one of these groups, you should see your doctor if your symptoms last for more than a week or get progressively worse.
You should also see your doctor if you experience:
- difficulty breathing
Best Position To Sleep With A Stuffy Nose
With fall here and the weather fluctuating between summer heat and winter chill, a sensitive nose may get stuffy. With less humidity in the air and the radiators coming alive, the drier air can also leave your nose more susceptible to cold and flu season. You may even suffer from autumn allergies. Trying to sleep with nasal congestion is challenging. Lets look at the best position to sleep well with a stuffy nose.
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How Do Healthcare Providers Treat Nasal Congestion
Providers treat nasal congestion based on the specific cause. For example, if you have nasal congestion because youre allergic to cats, you have a form of allergic rhinitis. Avoiding cats and taking medication to control your symptoms may ease your condition.
If your congestion is a form of nonallergic rhinitis, you may be able to manage your condition by identifying what triggers congestion and by taking medication to control symptoms. Here are some medications or other treatments providers may recommend:
Treatments for nonallergic rhinitis
- Saline spray or rinse: Saline solution in a spray or rinse moisturizes the inside of your nose and washes out mucus.
- Antihistamines: This medication helps calm your immune systems reaction to intruders like allergens.
- Corticosteroid nasal sprays: This medication helps with inflammation.
- Ipratropium bromide spray: This spray may help with runny noses.
Treatments for allergic rhinitis
People with allergic rhinitis may take antihistamines or corticosteroids to soothe inflamed nasal tissues. Here are other treatments for congestion caused by allergic rhinitis:
- This treatment may relieve your stuffy nose. Dont use decongestant nasal sprays for more than three days. Using them longer than three days can potentially worsen your nasal congestion.
- Anticholinergic nasal sprays: This treatment may reduce mucus in your nose.
Causes Of A Stuffy Nose
Regardless of the reasons for your congested nose, there are ways to get relief. So, dont let yourself down. Lets get deep into the factors that trigger cold and eventually lead to the stuffed up nose.
The common cold or seasonal cold is due to a viral infection. There are several viruses that can cause a common cold, with the rhinovirus being the most common one. However, viral infections are the most common causes of a stuffy nose.
Moreover, a common cold might even breed sneezing, cough, and sore throat.
2. Allergic Rhinitis
As stated by Medical News Today, this is a very common and normal condition that has been diagnosed for around 40 to 60 million people in the United States according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
Allergic Rhinitis happens when the bodys immunity overreacts and sometimes because of having a family history of allergies. Besides a stuffy nose, symptoms of allergic rhinitis may include sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose.
3. Pregnancy Rhinitis
During pregnancy, theres an increase of hormones which include progesterone and estrogen. The amplifying hormones along with an increase in blood flow causes the mucus membranes to swell in the nose. Thus pregnancy affects many parts of the body, including nose with symptoms such as stuffy nose and sneezing.
4. Occupational Rhinitis
Symptoms of occupational rhinitis are stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and coughing.
5. Atrophic Rhinitis
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Nasal Saline For A Blocked Nose
Use saline nose spray or drops to loosen up the thick or dried mucus.
- Step 1. Put several drops in each nostril.
- Step 2. Blow each nostril.
- Step 3. Repeat nose drops and blowing until the nose is open.
Saline nose drops or spray can be bought in any drugstore. No prescription is needed. Do not use homemade saline.
Using saline frequently will keep the nose open without causing irritation, Dr. Ramsey said. Also, keep in mind, babies cant nurse or drink from a bottle unless they can breathe through their nose.
Another option is to use a warm shower to loosen the mucus. Let your child breathe in the moist air and then blow each nostril. For young children, Dr. Ramsey advises using a wet tissue to remove sticky mucus.