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Nasal congestion, commonly referred to as a stuffy nose, occurs when the nasal passages are blocked because the lining of the membranes in the nose swell and become inflamed. Many times nasal congestion is caused by a virus or allergies. Anyone who has experienced the flu or a common cold are very familiar with nasal congestion.
Newborns can really have issues with it during their first 60 days of life and even end up having trouble breastfeeding. Your breathing is not the only thing affected. It can also make it hard to hear, speak and sleep.
Enlarged adenoids often cause children to develop nasal congestion. This can be serious because if left unchecked it can lead to heart failure or loss of sleep due to sleep apnea. In this case, surgery is required and with it all of the symptoms will quickly disappear.
Diagnosis of Nasal Congestion
Before a diagnosis is made your doctor will need to give you a thorough physical and ask questions about your symptoms. They will be especially interested in your ears, upper respiratory system, nose and throat.
If they need more information they might order special tests like a blood test, allergy tests, throat culture, x-rays (of the sinuses and chest) and immunoglobin testing.
Natural Treatments for Nasal Congestion
You can buy many medications over the counter to help lessen the symptoms of nasal congestion. Decongestants and antihistamines often have side effects and should not be used for a long period of time.
Avoid Nasal Congestion to Begin With
Avoiding nasal congestion in the first place, is a great way to go about doing things. Make sure that your diet is not junk food and contains plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit. Products that have caffeine in them should be avoided, especially when you are sick, because they will dehydrate your body and cause things to become worse.
Steam Away the Stuffiness
Inhaling steam is a safer and more gentle approach to fighting off this type of problem. You can do this by covering your face with a hot towel or taking a really hot shower. If you want to go one step further then mix in a half teaspoon salt into two cups of water and boil it. Place it in a bowl and bend over it with a towel over your head. Breathe this in for awhile and you should clear up quite a bit.
Use a Neti Pot
Washing out your nasal passages with a simple saline solution can really help stop the runny-nose cycle and clear nasal passages. If you don't have a neti pot, you can use a dropper. Mix 1 teaspoon of table salt into 1 cup of very warm water; stir until dissolved, then put a few drops at a time into each nostril. Inhale to draw the saline in, then allow it to drain.
Nothing works faster to clear clogged sinuses than horseradish. The oils in this plant boost circulation in your nasal passages, which then loosens mucus.
Mix a teaspoon of grated fresh horseradish with a little apple cider vinegar or honey, and eat it on toast (the vinegar and honey take the edge off the potent horseradish taste). Inhale deeply as you grate the horseradish; the fumes alone will start breaking up your congestion.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
- Pour 15-20 drops of Eucalyptus oil into a bowl of steaming hot water. Cover your head with a towel and inhale the vapors.
- A personal steam vaporizer inhaler can also be used with smaller amounts of oil and water used.
- Sprinkle a few drops onto a handkerchief and inhale to help clear the nasal passages.
- Place a few drops on the washcloth when showering to allow the hot water to release the vapors.
Elevate Your Head
Sleeping with an extra pillow under your head can help to drain the nasal passages and keep them from getting impacted during the night time. If the angle is too awkward for you then add height underneath the mattress, between the mattress and box spring, to provide a more gradual slope to the bed. The idea is to keep your head a bit more elevated in order to encourage the drainage of your nasal sinuses at night.
Body Tricks for Congestion
Forget Sudafed. An easier, quicker, and cheaper way to relieve sinus pressure is by alternately thrusting your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then pressing between your eyebrows with one finger. This causes the vomer bone, which runs through the nasal passages to the mouth, to rock back and forth, says Lisa DeStefano, D.O., an assistant professor at the Michigan State University college of osteopathic medicine. The motion loosens congestion; after 20 seconds, you’ll feel your sinuses start to drain.
Have you seen those knobby brown roots in your grocery store or health food store? This is ginger root – spicy, lightweight roots that are said to be quite helpful for a runny nose or nasal congestion. Slices of it can be chewed raw, but if you find that too spicy or strong, you can buy it candied.
Chewing raw garlic is probably beyond most people's tolerance level, but it is supposed to help a runny nose, colds, flu and nasal congestion, and it boosts your immune system. If you can't tolerate chewing the raw cloves, try mincing raw garlic and mixing it into salad. Sprinkling it on pasta, mixing it with olive oil to make a condiment for bread-dipping, or tossing it on pizza may also be effective.
However, our method of choice, which is one most folks can handle, is to slice up a clove of garlic into small pill-sized pieces and swallow with water just as you would your morning vitamin.
Check the ethnic foods section of your grocery store, or go to an Indian or Middle Eastern grocery store to find this pungent oil. One drop in each nostril is said to clear up a runny nose.
Homemade Nasal Inhaler
- 1/4 teaspoon course salt
- 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
Place the salt in a small vial (glass is best) with a tight lid and add oil. The salt will absorb the oil and provide a convenient way to carry the oil without danger of spilling it. Open the vial and inhale deeply, as needed. This same technique can be used with any essential oil.
Wash Your Hands
Staying clean is very important. You should always wash your hands before you eat and after doing things such as playing with the dog. Even being around cigarette smoke is likely to make your congestion even worse so politely ask people not to smoke around you.
Humidify the Air
Irritated nasal passages tend to be runnier than those that are healthy and moist, sources say. Consider putting a humidifier in your room at night to minimize nasal irritation from dry air.
Herbal remedy instantly clears sinus congestion
InstaClear Sinus Relief is a 100% safe, non-addictive, natural herbal remedy specially formulated to instantly clear sinus pressure and congestion due to colds, flu, allergies and environmental sources.
Formulated by the Native Remedies team of experts in natural medicine, InstaClear Sinus Relief has been used for many years to safely and effectively open up blocked sinuses without the risk of serious side effects.
Used on a regular basis, InstaClear Sinus Relief can help improve sinus headaches and maintain sinus drainage for easier breathing.
InstaClear Sinus Relief contains a selection of herbs known for their immediate impact upon the sinuses. The formula is extremely pungent with powerful aromatic compounds that produce vapors which rise up into the sinuses where they open the passageways, drain the sinuses and help kill microbial infections.
This 100% natural remedy can be used several times throughout the day in the case of an acute infection, or simply on occasion when temporary relief is needed (i.e. before an athletic event or air travel, or when experiencing high altitude sickness) to clear congestion and improve ease of breathing.