Natural Remedies For Congestion
A nose and sinus condition can make you feel your absolute worst, causing painful pressure behind your eyes and making your nose run endlessly. Over 35 million people suffer from chronic sinusitis each year, making it one of the most common health complaints in the United States.
Although sinus problems can be uncomfortable, there are effective remedies that can help alleviate pain and discomfort. Here are five effective home remedies that can help you tackle the problem naturally:
Five Home Remedies For Nasal Congestion
When that stuffy, clogged, or blocked nose won’t seem to go away, you might find yourself looking for anything that tells you how to relieve sinus pressure and get back to normal life. Everyone gets colds from time to time, but when they linger there may be something more than a common cold going on. Having to deal with tissues, mouth breathing, bad breath, and blowing your nose when nothing comes out is never fun – and itâs not normal. Luckily there are nasal congestion home remedies as well as medical options available.
Address Any Potential Congestion Triggers
Antihistamines may help if your congestion is related to allergies, but the quickest and easiest solution is attacking the problem at its source.
“If your congestion is triggered by allergies or irritation, removing the allergen will offer the best help,” Friedlander says.
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Eat Or Inhale The Steam From Some Garlic Cloves
Before you throw that garlic into tonights dinner recipe, you may want to consider saving a few cloves for yourself garlic is believed to have both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that make it useful in treating a host of problems, including congestion related to colds. Research has shown that people who were given garlic supplements for 12 weeks during the cold season had significantly fewer colds than those who didnt take the garlic supplement.
For those who arent fond of the pungent taste and smell of raw garlic, try garlic sautéed with vegetables or pasta. You can also breathe in some garlic steam: Slice up a few cloves of garlic and put them in a small pot along with a cup of water, heat until steaming, and then carefully inhale the garlic steam at arms length.
When To Call A Doctor
Most of the time, a stuffy nose will clear up on its own within a week. Nasal congestion that lasts longer may be a sign of a serious sinus infection in need of treatment. You may also want to see a doctor if the symptoms are interfering with sleep or your ability to function normally.
A stuffy nose may require medical attention if:
- You have a high fever.
- Your symptoms last longer than two weeks.
- Your nasal passages are completely blocked.
- Your skin or lips develop a bluish tinge .
- Your breathing rate is very rapid.
- You have difficulty breathing or catching your breath.
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What Is The Treatment For Chronic Sinus Infection
When it comes to treating chronic sinusitis, theres no one-size-fits-all solution. While several treatment options are available, what works for one person may not be appropriate for the other. Hence, we tailor the treatment to each individuals needs, symptoms, and whether or not other conditions are also at play.
The goals of treating chronic sinusitis are to address the allergic causes, minimize inflammation, promote free sinus drainage, and eradicate the infection .
Here are a few potential treatment options for chronic sinusitis. We will likely try out a combination of two or more of these options to see what works best for you.
Dos: What To Do When You Have A Sinus Infection
When you have sinusitis there are specific things you can do to reduce inflammation and pain, and to recover faster. Our doctors at Detroit Sinus Center recommend the following:
- Stay hydrated: be proactive about drinking fluids. Your body needs to be fully hydrated in order to recover from a sinus infection. Also, drinking hot liquids like tea or soup can help break down the stuffiness and mucus in your nasal cavities.
- Use a humidifier: the cool mist of a humidifier can help you feel less stuffy and release some of the built up mucus and pressure. Make sure you always use clean water and you routinely clean your humidifier to avoid further infection.
- Use a warm compress: applying a warm compress like a washcloth to your face and allowing it to sit for 10-15 minutes can also help break up the mucus and alleviate the pressure when you have a sinus infection.
- Sleep: make sure you are getting plenty of sleep when you are fighting sinusitis. Your body needs to be well rested in order to fight the infection and recover properly.
- Rinse your sinuses: using a neti pot or nasal spray can help clean out your nasal cavities and alleviate the pressure build up. Remember to always use distilled, sterile, or boiled water to cleanse your sinuses.
- Over The counter drugs: if you have mild pain or pressure, over the counter drugs can help with this. We recommend acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain.
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How Do You Diagnose Chronic Sinusitis
The presence of two or more of the listed symptoms for at least three months raises the suspicion of a chronic sinus infection.
In such cases, we will evaluate you to confirm the diagnosis. This involves applying pressure on your sinuses to elicit tenderness. If the tenderness is positive, your sinuses are likely to be inflamed. We will then take a peek into your nose using a small flexible scope, and check for nasal polyps, pus-filled discharge, and deviated septum.
We may also recommend nasal endoscopy. This is an office procedure that enables us to view the interior of your nose and sinus passages. Its done with an instrument called an endoscope, which is a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light. We will pass this scope into your nose and sinuses to look inside. Nasal endoscopy allows us to detect any swelling and polyps, as well as collect discharge from the infected area. This can help spot the cause of your infection and whats the best way to treat it.
If need be, we may also perform imaging in the form of a computed tomography to look for further problems.
Allergy skin tests look for allergic causes and to check for problems within your immune system may also be done.
Use Your Tongue & Press Between Eyebrows
Reddit user gymfork points out that by placing pressure on specific points of the body, we can stimulate the flow of fluid and get our noses breathing clearly and one of the best locations for sinus problems is in our mouths.
Gymfork suggests pushing the tongue flat against the roof of the mouth, while simultaneously pushing a finger against the skin between the eyebrows. Hold pressure against these points for 20 seconds, and you’ll begin to feel relief from your symptoms. Once you release your tongue and soften your finger, you’ll start to feel movement towards the back of the throat as the pressure diminishes.
Image by Jaira Koh/Invisiverse
If that doesn’t work for you, alternate between pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth and pressing between your eyebrows. In acupressure, the point between your eyebrows is called the Yintang acupoint, right where the nasion is located, according to Dr. Joseph M. Helms, president of Helms Medical Institute and author of Acupuncture Energetics: A Clinical Approach for Physicians.
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Nasal Irrigation With A Neti Pot Or Nasal Spray
Dry air and pollutants can irritate the sinuses. Nasal irrigation with a neti pot or saline spray may help to flush irritants . Some people swear by nasal irrigation, others can’t stand it.
For those with a deviated septum, it doesn’t tend to work well as a home remedy for congestion. The warm water goes in, but doesn’t come back out very well.
If you chose to use a neti pot, make sure to use sterile or distilled water. In rare cases, people have died from Naegleria fowleri in their neti pot water.
The video below demonstrates how to use a neti pot.
Treatment For Sinus Infection
Whether you have an acute sinus infection or a chronic infection, a number of treatment options can relieve your discomfort. If youre in the early stage of an acute sinus infection, it may be appropriate to start at-home treatments while you monitor your symptoms. If your sinusitis worsens, youll need to call your doctor for medication and further care. Even if youre receiving treatment from your doctor, at-home care can help ease your symptoms.
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Get Your Allergies Under Control
Katie Stavert, 30, of Los Alamos, New Mexico, has already had two procedures to open up her sinuses, but she still needs to take allergy medications and saline solutions if she wants to keep her sinuses clear. Im allergic to everything, she says, but especially sagebrush and trees.
Allergies can definitely contribute to sinus congestion. Jeff Culp, MD, an allergist and assistant professor of medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, tells people to figure out whats triggering their allergies, then plan appropriately either by taking allergy medication or avoiding the allergens altogether.
When You Should See A Doctor
Sometimes, home remedies arent enough to relieve congestion, particularly if your symptoms are caused by another health condition.
In this case, medical treatment may be needed, especially if your condition is painful and interfering with your everyday activities.
If youve experienced any of the following, see your doctor right away:
- congestion lasting longer than 10 days
- congestion accompanied by a high fever lasting more than 3 days
- green nasal discharge along with sinus pain and fever
- a weakened immune system, asthma, or emphysema
You should also see your doctor right away if youve had a recent head injury and are now having bloody nasal discharge or a constant flow of clear discharge.
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Your Chest Congestion Gets Worse At Night
If youve ever experienced a runny nose or congested chest, you know it gets worse at night. There are copious amounts of mucus and phlegm and it can be very difficult to breathe. This has nothing to do with the time of the day or the stars, however the reason why it worsens has more to do with gravity.
Lying down provides an ideal environment for mucus to pool and collect in the back of your throat. This makes breathing difficult while also providing plenty of discomfort.
Ways to limit this congestion include applying a vapor rub, doing a steaming session, or using one of the other remedies mentioned above. You can also fight back against gravity by propping your head up on a pillow so that mucus has a harder time collecting in your throat.
In addition, you can look to change the climate in your bedroom. If the air is too dry, it can aggravate an irritated nose and throat, so perhaps a humidifier can help.
Home Remedies For Nasal Congestion:
When you are unable to visit an ENT to get to the root of your condition, you may want to turn to nasal congestion home remedies. These are several effective options for how to relieve nasal congestion.
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Applying Warm Wet Towels
A warm, wet towel held against the face may help relieve the swelling and inflammation of sinus congestion.
It may also help keep the mucous membranes moist by breathing in moist air, which can help it function properly.
People can also soak a towel in warm water, wring it out, and drape it over their face in a way that is still comfortable for them to breathe through their mouth.
How Long Does Sphenoid Sinusitis Last
In general, acute sinusitis, such as that caused by the common cold, should not persist more than four weeks. Those who have a sinus infection on a regular basis should see their symptoms subsiding by the second week if they follow the right care and treatment. If you ignore your sinus problems, however, it can lead to more serious complications down the road.
Sinus infections are usually accompanied by some type of pain, pressure, or other symptoms related to the affected area within the skull. Pain is often experienced in the face behind the eyes , in the teeth, or in both places. The feeling may be continuous or intermittent, severe or mild. It may spread to the side of the head where the ear is located .
The severity of these symptoms will determine how quickly you should seek medical help. Most people with sinus infections will feel better after taking antibiotics and following standard cleaning instructions for the nasal cavity.
About Article Author
Recommended Reading: How To Reduce Sinus Mucus
How To Get Rid Of Sinus Congestion
This article was co-authored by Chris M. Matsko, MD. Dr. Chris M. Matsko is a retired physician based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With over 25 years of medical research experience, Dr. Matsko was awarded the Pittsburgh Cornell University Leadership Award for Excellence. He holds a BS in Nutritional Science from Cornell University and an MD from the Temple University School of Medicine in 2007. Dr. Matsko earned a Research Writing Certification from the American Medical Writers Association in 2016 and a Medical Writing & Editing Certification from the University of Chicago in 2017.There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 15 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 741,972 times.
Getting Rid Of Head Congestion
Youve got a head cold, your sinuses are filled with mucus that is not draining, and you are suffering from severe stuffiness. Your main focus is on how to stop head congestion. So, are there head congestion remedies you can use to loosen its hold on your head? As it turns out, quite a few home remedies and medical treatments could help clean out your sinuses and get you back to breathing normally.
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Oral And Nasal Decongestants
Over-the-counter decongestants work by shrinking blood vessels inside the nose. There are both oral and nasal formulations.
Sudafed is an oral decongestant used to relieve nasal or sinus congestion caused by the common cold, sinusitis, and respiratory allergies. Do not use Sudafed for longer than three days as it can also lead to rebound congestion.
While Sudafed is available without a prescription, it is kept behind the pharmacy counter and requires an ID to obtain. A similar drug called Sudafed PE can be purchased without hindrance but has not proven to be anywhere near as effective as pseudoephedrine.
Here Is My Own Personal Essential Oil Blend For Clearing Up A Stuffy Nose:
10 drops Eucalyptus
2 to 3 drops Camphor
2 to 3 drops Tea Tree Oil
NOTE: If you are using this blend to make the Vapor Rub Salve recipe above, just increase the drops of the essential oils proportionately until you have a total of roughly 200 drops.
ANOTHER NOTE: Eucalyptus and Rosemary may not be safe for children under 10. I have used them with my children with no issues, however, be sure to do your own research and make sure youre comfortable. If in doubt, ask your doctor.
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The Fastest Way To Relieve Congestion According To Doctors
Be it due to allergies, a cold, asthma or otherwise, congestion is a real pain in the neck. Actually, a pain in the facethat stuffed-up, achy sensation in the sinus area is no joke, as you can attest to if you’re one of the 9 to 16% of Americans who experience it often.
Although it’s far from pleasant, congestion is actually a sign that your immune system is working appropriately.
“Nasal congestion is the body’s defense mechanism when it senses something foreign entering the nasal cavity,” explains Jonathan Simmonds, M.D., an ear, nose and throat physician and sinus and skull base surgeon at Westmed Medical Group in Rye, New York. “Structures that sit next to your septum, called turbinates, swell with cells that work for the immune system to fight off these foreign substances.”
This swelling works to protect you by:
- Providing a larger surface area to capture these foreign substances, and
- Blocking off the nasal passage to prevent the invader from attacking the rest of the airway
While this is a terrific illness barrier when you are exposed to a virus, “it can be quite annoying when this happens in response to something innocuous, like pollen,” Simmonds says, and allergies like this are actually a major cause of congestion.
Beyond that stopped-up sensation, symptoms can include runny nose, post-nasal drip , a heavy head and a burning feeling in the sinus area.