Sinus congestion can happen for any number of reasons. Doctors have described four main culprits in nasal congestion: infection, structural abnormalities, allergies, and vasomotor rhinitis.
- One University of Virginia study examined the problem by dripping a dye into congested subjects’ nasal passages and asking them to blow their noses, all while giving them a CT scan. Scientists found that blowing your nose causes significant sinus pressure, shooting mucus back into the sinus every single time. It might feel good, but blowing your nose the traditional way evidently makes things worse.
- Scientists recommend blowing one nostril at a time, coupled with prescribed doses of decongestants.
- Follow the instructions that come with the neti pot. All neti pots come with their own set of instructions that should be followed. Below are typical steps. Prepare an irrigating solution made up of 16 ounces lukewarm (and sterile) water, along with 1 teaspoon of salt. Fill your neti pot with the saline solution.
- Tilt your head at a 45 degree angle and bring the tip of the neti pot to the uppermost nostril. The saline solution will go into one nostril, travel through your nasal cavity, and come out of the other nostril.
- If the solution drips into your mouth, just spit it out.
- Blow your nose and repeat the process on the other side.
- How often should you irrigate with a neti pot? People suffering from severe sinus problems or allergies found relief irrigating daily. Once symptoms improve, the recommended usage is three times per week.
4. Hop into the shower for about 10 to 15 minutes, using the warmest water you can stand. Breathe in and out deeply, filling your lungs and nasal passages with steam.
5. Use a steam treatment by resting your head over a steaming pot of water. Make sure that the water won’t scald you. Add a little bit of chamomile tea to the water, and drape a towel over your head to capture more of the steam.
6. Stay upright and prop your head up when you sleep. Congestion caused by vasomotor rhinitis can shift to one part of the nasal passage when you lie down on your side, worsening the stuffiness. Prop your head up a couple pillows if you’re lying down and try to sleep on your back, if possible.
7. Apply heat on the external of your nose using a heat source like a re-usable beanbag. (Beans wrapped with sown on material. Heat in the microwave for about 1.5 to 2 minutes. Leave the beanbag on your nose for around 20-30 seconds at a time. Remove for 5-10 seconds and repeat until relieved.
- Decongestant sprays, such as naphazoline (Privine), oxymetazoline (Afrin, Dristan, Duramist), or phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine, Sinex, Rhinall), are administered through the nose. Do not take a decongestant spray for more than three days, however, as it may worsen symptoms and spiral into more congestion — a condition called rhinitis medicamentosa.
- Decongestants such as phenylephrine (Lusonal, Sudafed PE, Sudogest PE) and pseudoephedrine ( Sudafed, Sudogest) can also be taken in tablet form.
9. Humifidiers. Blocked noses are really annoying. There are lots of places touting really expensive humidifiers, but actually this really simple steam in haler, works in just the same way!
10. The Wet Sock Trick
Okay, this one sounds horrible, but loads of people swear by it! Plunge your feet into hot water – as hot as possible without being hot enough to actually scold yourself.
Then take some pre-prepared cold, damp socks out of the fridge (yup, out of the fridge) and slip them onto your feet.
Cover in a pair of dry socks and wear for a few hours.
The idea is that the hot-cold variation will increase your circulation and boost your immune response!
You have to wear wet socks though, so that’s the obvious downside.