What is Nasal Congestion and Can it be Treated?

Child with nasal congestion

Nasal congestion can be caused due to a myriad of reasons including seasonal flu, colds, and allergies. That being said, it can also be caused due to more serious health conditions.

It is when the blood vessels lining up your nasal passages become irritated and inflamed. They begin to rapidly develop mucus to flush out the source of the irritation. 

When you’re congested, the mere act of breathing can be a challenge. Nasal congestion can leave you feeling dreary and tired.  Many over-the-counter options are used to treat nasal congestion, including drugs. It should be mentioned that using such drugs increases the risk of becoming too dependent on them, and they can leave you feeling worse off in many other ways too.

If you’ve been using decongestants for a couple of days, you’ll soon start noticing rebound swelling in your nasal membranes, which kickstarts a vicious cycle where you keep increasing your dosage but to no effect. In mild cases, patients are better off using home remedies which are a simpler approach that is both low-cost and low-risk.

Here are 4 popular home remedies that you should try.

1. Keep Your Body Hydrated

A properly hydrated body stands a better chance of thinning the mucus, flushing it out with greater ease and preventing it from blocking the nasal passage. The removal of excessive mucus is important because it will fill up your nose, causing all kinds of problems including postnasal drip.

2. Inhaling Steam

Before we get into this popular home remedy, it is worth clearing an important misconception that inhaling steam does not cure chronic nasal congestion. It works by relieving congestion in the chest and nose. Circulating hot steam through your nose can also lubricate the respiratory tract. Experts recommend steam inhalation twice a day. One effective way to inhale steam is with a steam bath.

Make sure to follow precautionary measures during steam inhalation to avoid scalding. Experts suggest that pregnant women, children below 12 years old, and patients suffering from nervous system disorders, cardiac problems, and high blood pressure should not perform steam inhalation.

3. Use Saline Nasal Sprays

Saline formulations in the form of mists, sprays, and drops are relatively easier to administer at regular time intervals to relieve congestion. Furthermore, they dilute the mucus and minimize inflammation. Saline sprays can be made at home or bought over the counter. Saline sprays should be used three to four times a day for a period of 3 days.

In the case of OTC saline sprays, make sure to use them only as directed. It is not advised to use these products on children under two years old.

4. Use Vapor Rubs

Vapor rubs are growing increasingly popular among parents because they bring relief to children from cough, sleep distractions, respiratory infections, and nasal congestions. Vapor rubs are found to be very effective in providing immediate relief, and ultimately, improved sleep patterns.

Need more advice on nasal congestion? Please visit https://www.healthonemedicine.com or call (469)262-5762 for more information.

Author
Health One Family Medicine

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