No matter what you do and how much you take care of your body and health, chances are you’ll get sick at some point. Many things can weaken your immune system and allow little airborne buggers to infect you. Irresponsible lifestyle is one common culprit, a bad diet is another. If you take care of your health, stress is probably the thing that’ll get to you. Of course, even if nothing is wrong whatsoever, you can suddenly find yourself with a headache and a runny nose.
The Scouting Report on Congestion
Colds, the flu, or even allergies, can cause a blocked-up nose. What causes congestion is the blood that rushes to your nose when it’s irritated, causing swelling and making it difficult to breathe.
As we all know from experience, this can make a person quite desperate. Congestion causes irritability and bad mood in general. It makes sleeping impossible, and it’s often accompanied by splitting headaches, sneezing, and other unpleasant symptoms.
Many of us will reach for over-the-counter remedies in this situation. While decongestants will probably solve your problem in the short term, there is always a risk of becoming dependent on them. Besides, there is a whole range of problems they can cause, so you shouldn’t use them if you have any other choice.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything, though. There’s a plethora of natural congestion remedies to try before you resort to over-the-counter solutions. Here are some of them.
1. Use a Humidifier
Moisture in the air will help thin the mucus in your nasal passages. This will allow you to blow it out more easily, so you’ll unblock your nose to some degree.
In addition, it can help with other symptoms. Humidity will provide relief for your headache, and it’ll do a lot of good to your congested sinuses.
However, you’ll need to keep it clean, otherwise, it’ll just be a breeding spot for bacteria and fungi. Make sure you read the cleaning instructions that come with it and follow them once a day.
2. Breathe in Steam
Breathing in steam is a great way to deal with a blocked-up nose. There are many ways to do it easily. Take a hot shower, and try to breathe in as deeply as you can to make the most of it. Make yourself a nice cup of hot teas, and inhale the steam while it cools down enough for you to drink it.
If those ideas are not enough, you can always pour hot water into a bowl, put your head over it and cover up with a towel to make a kind of curtain around your face. The towel trick will direct the steam to your face and prevent it from escaping. However, be very careful if you do this because there is always a risk of burns when hot water is around.
3. Drink a Lot of Water
Because the membranes of your nasal passages get inflamed when you have a cold, you need to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water will lessen the symptoms of a cold to a degree.
More importantly, hydration is very important for all your body processes – especially while your system is fighting an illness. Basically, if you drink more water, you’ll get better faster.
The main problem with this is that many people simply forget about it until they’re thirsty. You can solve this and encourage yourself to drink more fluid by having a bottle of water with you at all times. Finally, remember that a cup of tea is just as good as a glass of water when it comes to hydration – so there are options.
4. Use Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil is a very useful tool in combating congestion. It relieves the problem almost instantly, and it may also kill a germ or two in your nasal passages.
You can put it in a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam, or you can put a few drops onto a tissue and keep it close to your nose. However, you should never apply it to the skin directly because it can cause burns.
5. Apply Wet Towels
You can help yourself by putting a warm, wet towel over your face. This will lessen the inflammation of your sinuses, which will reduce the swelling inside your nose. Besides, this will create moisture around your nose, which can help your nasal membranes function properly. It will also thin out the mucus and make it easier to extract.
6. Get a Neti Pot
A Neti Pot is a small device that looks like a teapot. You use it by filling it with a saline solution, putting it into one of your nostrils, and tilting your head to the opposite side. The saline solution goes in through one of your nostrils and out the other.
This is an excellent way to keep the inflammation under control. It keeps the membranes moist, and it can flush out any buildup of mucus or allergens. It is a great tool when you use it well.
However, because a Neti Pot is a container of fluid that you put in your nose, you need to keep it squeaky clean. If you allow bacteria or fungi to grow there, you may give yourself an infection – you definitely don’t need that on top of your current problem.
7. Use Extra Pillows
One of the biggest problems that congestion causes is the inability to sleep well. The buildup in the nose gets worse, and it’s almost impossible to breathe, let alone sleep. This happens because when you’re lying down, the mucus pools in your sinuses.
A simple solution is to add an extra pillow or two. It’ll keep your nasal cavities at an angle that won’t let the mucus pool at the sinuses, and you’ll be able to breathe a bit more easily.
Snort It All Down
While there are many over-the-counter options you can fall back on, they might not be the best idea in every situation. Try natural congestion remedies first. Even if they don’t work for you completely, they’ll help at least to some degree. If you still don’t feel any better, it might be time to pay a visit to your doctor instead.