Is there anything more annoying than trying to breathe when you have a stuffy nose? Nasal congestion is very common - it can be caused by sinus infections, allergies (such as hay fever), and the common cold - and it can ruin your day, regardless of its cause. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to get some relief. Try some of these quick DIY remedies, and you'll be breathing more easily in no time.
1. Drink plenty of liquids.
Staying hydrated is more important than ever when you're feeling stuffy. Drinking lots of water will help thin the mucus in your passageways, so it will be able to drain more easily. If you've got a scratchy throat in addition to your stuffy nose, hot tea is a soothing alternative to plain water (and the steam will help you breathe better, too).
2. Take a hot shower.
Damp, steamy air will help hydrate your passageways and loosen any mucus that's blocking you up, so go ahead and enjoy that extra-long shower. You can also heat a pan of water on the stove and inhale the steam. Add a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil for extra relief.
3. Use a humidifier.
Dry air irritates your nasal passageways, which makes your congestion worse. If you live in a dry climate, use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your house, especially in your bedroom. This will soothe your passageways and loosen any mucus in your sinuses.
4. Use a neti pot.
Try flushing your sinuses out with a neti pot and a saline solution. You can make your own saline solution by boiling a cup or two of water and then dissolving to 1 teaspoon of salt in it. Don't skip the boiling - that step is important to ensure your solution is sterile. When the solution has cooled, pour it into a sterilized neti pot. Lean over a sink, put the spout in one nostril, and slowly pour the solution in, letting it drain out the other nostril. This hydrates your nasal passageways while rinsing out any stubborn mucus that's stuffing you up. Try some eucalyptus oil. Breathing in eucalyptus oil can help unblock your nose by reducing inflammation in your sinuses. Add a few drops of oil to a pan of hot water and inhale the steam, or try sprinkling some eucalyptus oil on your pillow to help you breathe during the night.
6. Eat something spicy.
If you like spicy food, now is the time to load up on cayenne pepper or horseradish. Spicy food has a well-known decongestant effect - it makes your nose run, which flushes out gunk in your passageways. Cayenne pepper also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it can help reduce swelling in your sinuses.
7. Blow your nose gently.
When you're congested, it's natural to want to blow your nose all day long. Resist the temptation, though. Blowing your nose too frequently or too hard won't do anything to unblock swollen passageways, and it could make your sinuses swell up even more. When you do have to blow your nose, do it as gently as you can.
If you are struggling to blow your nose, add some menthol rub to a tissue and hold it under your nose to relieve a blocked nose.
8. Use a warm compress.
Heat can help relieve congestion-related pressure and drain your sinuses. Soak a wash cloth in hot water, wring it out, and apply it to your face. Repeat until you get some relief.
9. Add garlic to your diet.
Garlic is antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. In other words, it's the perfect thing to eat when you're fighting off a cold. The best way to take it? Just eat a clove or two raw. (Don't eat too much raw garlic at once, though, or you could get a stomachache.) If plain garlic is too intense for you, add it to your food or take a garlic supplement.
10. Drink apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar is one of the simplest remedies you can reach for when you're feeling stuffy. It kills bacteria and helps drain mucus. Dilute a tablespoon of vinegar in a cup of water or juice, and drink it once or twice a day.
Don't let a stuffy nose get you down. There are plenty of ways to relieve congestion and sinus inflammation without making a trip to the doctor's office. These simple home remedies will help you get some relief right away!