A stuffy nose and sinus pressure might not keep you home from work, but it can make your day miserable. Whether it’s seasonal allergies, a sinus infection, or a common cold, nasal congestion is nearly impossible to avoid. Fortunately, there are many options and measures you can take to combat sinus discomfort.
It’s important to understand why your nose becomes congested in order to properly treat it. When your nose is congested, it means that your nasal passages are irritated and inflamed, which causes the nose to produce more mucus. Irritation can be caused by:
- Common Cold
- Environmental Irritants
- Sinusitis (sinus infection)
- Sleep Apnea
Blowing your nose seems like an obvious solution when your nose feels stuffy, but this can actually make the problem worse by further irritating the nasal passages. Instead, try some of these suggestions.
The best thing you can do for your nose at home is to keep it moist. There are some devices that can help in this regard, like a humidifier which will prevent your nose from having to breathe dry air. A Neti pot is also ideal; it works by flushing the nasal passages with a saline solution and is excellent for both keeping your nose moist and getting rid of mucus.
If you don’t own a humidifier or a Neti pot, there is still much you can do for your congestion. You can try to mimic a humidifier in your bathroom by taking a long, hot shower or wetting a towel with warm water and placing it over your face. You can also benefit from the simple act of drinking lots of fluids and staying hydrated.
It can be hard to sleep when you’re congested, but using a few extra pillows may help. Elevating your head may encourage the mucus to drain from your nose.
Depending on the type and severity of your congestion, there are various drugs available that can help. If your congestion is a result of allergies, an antihistamine like Allegra or Benadryl may help. Antihistamines work by reducing the number of histamines in your body that cause allergy symptoms.
If you are experiencing persistent congestion caused by a cold or other illness, consider trying a decongestant. Nasal spray like oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Sinex) or a pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) tablet will help reduce the swelling that causes congestion.
These drugs are available without a prescription, but you should always consult with your doctor about what your best options are. Antihistamines and decongestants could have side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, and constipation. They should not be taken for an extended period of time, unless recommended by a doctor.
If you’re having trouble combating your congestion alone, don’t hesitate to see a doctor! Contact WellCare Urgent Care in Grand Rapids, MI to schedule an appointment.