A congested nose, contrary to common knowledge, is not caused by an excessive amount of mucus. This condition is a consequence of irritation and inflammation of the blood vessels in the sinuses that cause swelling. Excessive mucus production is a symptom.
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the main causes of nasal congestion include:
- A congested nose can cause droplet transmission viruses. Nebulized, they cause the body to release histamine, which increases the flow of blood to the nose and causes swelling of the nasal tissue.
- Allergies, that is allergic rhinitis, hay fever, or minor cold. They usually occur in an inflammatory reaction to a substance. Common allergens include pollen, animal hair, mildew, and dust.
- ▪ Chronic/vasomotor rhinitis. It usually has the same symptoms as allergic rhinitis, but it is a different condition because it does not affect the immune system. It is usually caused by: pregnancy, mental stress, improper functioning of the thyroid, exposure to irritating substances (ex. tobacco smoke or perfumes), excessive and prolonged use of nasal sprays.
- Nasal irregularities. Some people suffer from nasal distortions that are usually caused by trauma. This may result in greater susceptibility to nasal clogging. This may also be caused by enlargement of the tonsils, nasal tumors, and foreign bodies (ex. small items that children often put in their noses).
Quick methods for a clear nose
The right amount of fluids in the body helps to dilute mucus in the nose, dislodging it and reducing pressure in the sinuses. The best choice will be water, but do not forget about hot tea, soup, homemade broth, or coconut water.
- Hot shower
Inhaling the steam during a hot shower helps to reduce inflammation and secretion of mucus in the nasal passages. It allows you to clean your nose and breath freely – even for a moment. If you do not want to shower, just turn on the hot water in the kitchen or bathroom, or pour it into the bowl. Next, lean over the surface of hot water and cover your head with a towel. Let the water evaporate and breathe it in deeply. But be very careful not to burn yourself with water or steam.
A humidifier is a good way to relax the mucosa. It turns water into moisture, fills the air, and increases its humidity. It will help to dilute the mucus in the nose and relieve swelling of blood vessels and irritated tissues in the nose.
Both humidifiers with a warm and cold mist are effective. However, if there are children at home, it is recommended to use the latter to avoid accidental burns. Always keep the humidifier clean so that bacteria and mold do not develop inside of it.
- Neti Pot
Use filtered or distilled water. Put the head directly above a sink or wash basin. Put the Neti root in one nostril, then tilt the dish until the water falls into the nasal canal. After that, it will flow out through the other nostril. Repeat the whole process for about 1 minute, and then do the same with the other nostril.
- Warm Compress
A simple way to ease discomfort. Soak a towel in warm water and place it on the upper part of the face – so that it covers the forehead, eyes, cheeks, and nose. The warm towel will help relieve inflammation and open the nasal passages. You can also add salt to the hot mixture, which will increase its effectiveness. The hypertonic value of a saline solution can help eliminate blockages.
- Sea salt aerosol
In every pharmacy, you can buy sea salt solutions (nasal sprays). They constrict swollen tissues, dilute mucus, reduce congestion, and provide adequate hydration of the nasal cavity.
You can also create your own solution. Just dissolve 2 teaspoons of Himalayan salt or another good kind of salt in half glass of water, bring to a boil, and then let it cool. Using the dropper or spray bottle, insert or spray the solution into each nostril.
What else can help in the fight with the congested nose?
What if the methods above do not work? What else should you reach for?
It is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. It also has the potential to relieve congestion. One of the studies showed that people receiving garlic for 3 months during the fall and winter season had colds less often than those taking a placebo.
Garlic, of course, can be added to food. It is also worth to try another method – cut the garlic cloves into a small pot with a glass of water and heat it until it starts to evaporate. Then, carefully (to avoid getting burned!), inhale the steam.
- Facial massage or acupressure
Gentle massaging of the sinuses can help relieve symptoms. You can also try independent acupressure. You should lightly press on the bridge of the nose with the thumb and index finger. With the other hand, touch the muscles on both sides of the neck.
It contains a lot of sulfur that will help to relieve the effects of sinusitis, including the buildup of mucus. Eating horseradish helps to get rid of thick mucus while reducing its quantity. A pinch of freshly grated horseradish should be placed in the mouth until the taste disappears. Then swallow it, this will also help to remove the mucus from the back of the throat. If the situation is bad, you can even take up to a teaspoon of horseradish.
If this method increases the production of mucus, it means that the body is working to get rid of it from the canals.
- Apple Cider
Among the many health-promoting properties of apple cider vinegar, there is also alleviation of blockages in the upper respiratory tract. It contains potassium, which helps in removing mucus, and prevents the growth of bacteria. Just mix a teaspoon of vinegar with a glass of water and drink it.
- Mint Tea
Menthol in the infusion can help relieve breathing problems. It is best to use fresh or dried peppermint leaves, add lemon, and a teaspoon of honey, remembering that too hot water kills its properties.
- Essential Oils
A 2009 study, published in the Laryngoscope, showed that eucalyptol found in eucalyptus oil is a safe and effective remedy for sinusitis. It cleans the airways from the mucus, soothes the cough, and removes bacteria and microorganisms from the air.
The best way to take advantage of its properties, in this situation, will be inhalation. When added to a hot bath, it will have therapeutic properties.
It can also work by adding a few drops to the moisturizer, a handkerchief, or massaging it into the chest. However, this method requires combining it with the base oil, otherwise it may cause unwanted side effects.
Created Ewa Wysocka