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March 2014
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Home Remedies for Nasal Congestion
Smart tips to help clear up that stuffy nose

You've been up all night with a stuffy nose and you're looking for relief. The good news is that there are a number of home remedies that can help you breathe easier.
 
But first, it's important to understand what's causing your condition. That stuffy nose can be caused by a number of different problems, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAOHNS), including: 
  • An infection, like a cold or sinus infection
  • A structural problem, such as enlarged adenoids
  • Allergies
  • A nerve problem that causes swelling inside your nose, called vasomotor rhinitis
If you have any question about what is causing your condition, it's best to see a doctor who can help you get to the root of the problem and find a solution. 
 
If you're sure your congestion is being caused by a minor issue, like a cold, you may want to try the following home remedies from MedlinePlus (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/).
 
Use a saline nasal spray
This gentle mist of saline can help thin the mucus inside your nose to drain and ease congestion.
 
Try a vaporizer or humidifier
Warm, steamy air has the same effect as saline mist, thinning your nasal mucous and helping clear your nasal passages.
 
Use breathing strips
These strips can be found at your local drugstore. Stick them on the outside of your nose to help pull nasal passages open and ease your breathing.
 
Nourish yourself with hot beverages or soup
Hot tea or your favorite soup not only warms you up, they can also keep you hydrated and help ease congestion.
 
Prop your head up at night
Sleeping with your head slightly elevated can keep congestion from getting worse during the night.
 
Use a neti pot
A neti pot is a specially designed teapot filled with a saline solution. It's used to flush out your nasal passages, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These pots can help ease congestion, but it's important to use boiled, specially filtered or disinfected water, according to the CDC.
 
Consider medication
While over-the-counter medicines won't cure your cold or allergies, they can help make it easier for you to breathe by clearing out congestion, according to the AAOHNS. There are two main types of medicines used for nasal congestion:
  • Antihistamines, which can help reduce congestion caused by allergies
  • Decongestants, which can reduce swelling inside your nasal passages
It's also important to be aware of potential side effects of these medications. Antihistamines can make you feel tired or drowsy, so don't take one before you drive or operate heavy machinery. Additionally, you shouldn't use a decongestant if you have heart problems, high blood pressure, glaucoma, or are taking other medicines that contain a decongestant, such as diet pills.
 
When taking an over-the-counter medicine, always let your doctor know if your condition doesn't improve after seven to 10 days, you start to feel worse or you develop a fever. Also, don't use a decongestant nasal spray or drops for more than three days, or they may worsen your condition, according to MedlinePlus.
 
In addition to over-the-counter options, your doctor may also prescribe other medications to help your condition, such as medicated nasal sprays, according to AAOHNS.
 
The good news is that most nasal congestion will clear up on its own over time, but these home remedies can help ease your symptoms until it does.
 
This article is presented by Perkins Motors in Colorado Springs, Colorado

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