To have a stuffy nose can be the most difficult condition on earth! And why not, after all, breathing is the basis of life and a stuffy nose doesn’t let you breathe. Why do you get a stuffy nose? Your nose gets congested due to swollen blood vessels in the membranes that line the inside of your nostrils. And why do these blood vessels get inflamed? It may be due to flu, cold, sinus infections or allergies including the seasonal allergies. When there are virus, bacteria and other pathogens inside your body, your defense system creates excessive mucus in order to trap and then kill these pathogens. This excess mucus inside your nose gives you a stuffy nose and makes it difficult for you to breathe. You can be annoyed or get uncomfortable due to a stuffy nose but it can actually be life threatening for newborns! However, there are many simple and easy home remedies for stuffy nose for newborn babies as well as for kids and adults. Let’s see how can you unclog a stuffy nose and get rid of it.
Simple Ways to Get Rid of a Stuffy Nose
Whenever you have a stuffy or runny nose, you not only are not able to breathe but also cannot talk properly. And when you are up to blow your nose, you find out that nothing would come out of those two nostrils. Here are certain easy ways to unclog a stuffy nose.
1. Use Humidifier to Relieve a Stuffy Nose
Humidifiers help a lot to clear a stuffy nose. This is because moist air helps soothe your irritated nasal tissue. It also reduces the inflammation of your nasal blood vessels and those of sinuses. Here is how humidifiers help relieve a stuffy nose.
- A humidifier machine increases the humidity in the room making the air moist. This helps in reducing the swelling of the blood vessels of your nose and you get rid of stuffy nose.
- Humidifiers also help in thinning the mucus lodged inside your sinuses. This helps empty the fluids so that you can clear your stuffy nose easily.
2. Take a Steamy Shower to Get Rid of Stuffy Nose
Steam is one of the best ways to unclog a stuffy nose. Steam has both- moisture and heat. Thus it helps ease the swelling of your nasal blood vessels so that you can breathe easily. Humidifier, which we talked about in the previous remedy, is only one way to get this steam treatment to cure stuffy nose. Steamy shower is another one of the useful stuffy nose remedies. Here’s how you can take a steamy shower.
- Take a towel and place it at the bottom of your bathroom’s door in a way that no steam escapes from there.
- Now turn the temperature up and take a bath.
- If anyways, you do not want to bathe, just turn on the shower and keep inhaling the steam as it fills your bathroom.
This steam from the shower will help thin out the mucus in your nose and sinuses to reduce inflammation there in. You can relieve a stuffy nose in no time using this method.
3. Inhale Steam to Get Rid of Stuffy Nose
Inhaling steam has been one of the traditional and very effective remedies for stuffy nose. It gives both- moisture and heat and thus reduces the swelling of the blood vessels of your nose.
- Hot water- 1 bowl
- Place the bowl of the hot water on a table or some leveled surface.
- Now lean over it with your nose directly over the bowl. Take care to maintain such distance as would be necessary to save yourself from burning.
- Cover your head with the towel so that the steam doesn’t escape.
- Now inhale the steam coming out of the water.
- Stay in this position for a couple of minutes.
- This will help relieve stuffy nose quickly.
Steam inhalation is also a very good remedy for stuffy nose at night. Inhale steam just before you go to bed and have a good night’s sleep.
4. Drink lots of Fluid to Stay Hydrated
Keeping yourself hydrated is essential to thin down your mucus that clogs your nostrils. Water is the best fluid to have but you can have any liquid. Have tea, soup, juice whatever can make you body get enough water to stay hydrated. These fluids will help thin the mucus and resultantly decrease the pressure inside your sinuses. This helps clear a stuffy nose by pushing the mucus out of your nose. Less pressure also means reduced swelling and irritation.
What to drink to get rid of stuffy nose
- Warm soup
- Warm tea
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5. Use Saline Spray to Clear Stuffy Nose
Nasal saline spray is now a common remedy, even available easily at any chemist’s shop. Saline water enhances moisture in your nasal passages which in turn helps thin the mucus. All this means reduced inflammation of the nasal blood vessels. This also clears stuffy nose by helping drain out the fluid in there. If you don’t want to buy, you can even make saline spray at home.
- Salt- 1/4 tsp
- Warm water- 1 cup (only a little warm, may be lukewarm)
- Bulb syringe or nasal aspirator
- Add the salt to the warm water and place it in your bulb syringe or nasal aspirator.
- Now lean over a sink. Keep the tip of your nose pointing towards the drain so that the water easily runs out of your nose.
- Slowly spray the saline solution into one of your nostrils.
- When using a bulb syringe, you should first squeeze it a little in order to evacuate the air, then dip it into the saline solution and release the bulb. You need to squeeze the bulb once again to put the solution into your nostril.
- Let the saline solution drain from your nose fully before you spray again into it.
- Repeat the procedure with other nostril
- Use saline solution 2-3 times a day depending upon the severity of your stuffy nose.
6. Use Neti Pot to Drain Sinus to Relieve Nasal Congestion
Neti pot, in a way, is a boon to those who suffer from frequent nasal congestion. It has been traditional equipment used since ages in India. A neti pot can amazingly unclog a stuffy nose. This is due to its design which effectively pushes water through your nasal passages. You need simple saline water filled into the neti pot. However, you should perform this saline irrigation with neti pot after understanding properly the technique to use it. Once learned, neti saline irrigation is the best way to relieve a stuffy nose.
- Salt- 1/4 tsp
- Warm water (or distilled/ sterile water)- 1-2 cups (depending upon the size of your neti pot)
- Neti pot
- Fill the neti pot with warm water and add salt to this. Mix well.
- Now, tilt your head over the sink in a way that one of the nostrils point towards ceiling and the other towards the sink.
- Keep your mouth open and breathe through your mouth only.
- Place the spout of the neti pot into the nostril that is upwards.
- Tilt it a little in order to push its water into your nostril.
- Adjust the tilt of your head as you push the water in your nostril so as to ensure that the water flows out of the other nostril into the sink.
- As you feel that half of your pot is empty, switch sides and do neti saline irrigation through the other nostril.
- After the process is complete, do not forget to drain out all of the water from both of the nostrils by exhaling through nose repeatedly.
7. Warm Compress to Get Rid of Stuffy Nose
You had known about how steam taken from shower and steam inhalation can help clear a stuffy nose. These methods do it from inside of your nose. The same effect can be given to your nose from outside by way of a warm compress. The heat that you get from such a warm compress not only helps reduce inflammation inside your nose but also relieve any pain that you might experience around your nasal area.
- Hot water
- Take hot water with such a temperature that your skin can tolerate comfortably.
- Soak the washcloth into this water, take it out and squeeze out the excessive water.
- Lie down, fold the washcloth and place it over your face, if not just over your nose and the surrounding area. However, do not cover your nostrils with this washcloth.
- As the cloth gets colder, wet it again to warm it and then repeat the process.
- Do these till you get relief from your clogged nose.
8. Eucalyptus Oil to Get Rid of Stuffy Nose
Eucalyptus oil is considered to be an excellent natural decongestant. A decongestant, as the name suggests, relieves congestion of a stuffy nose. When it comes in direct contact with the inflamed nasal membranes, it breaks down the congestion and relieves a stuffy nose. You can use this natural decongestant, eucalyptus oil to inhale steam and get rid of a stuffy nose fast.
- Hot water- 1 bowl
- Eucalyptus oil- 2-4 drops
- Add eucalyptus oil to the hot water.
- Lean your head over the bowl of water while covering your head with the towel to prevent steam from escaping out.
- Inhale the steam for few minutes.
- As you feel mucus loosening up inside your nose, go to the sink and blow your nose gently.
- If necessary, again inhale for a while.
- You will see how fast your stuffy nose relieves.
9. Use Onion Juice to Get Rid of a Stuffy Nose
Onions too have decongestant properties to cure stuffy nose. The sulfur content in an onion is capable of drawing out mucus and fluids in your body. Not only this, they also have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties that can help cure any infection that causes such nasal congestion. You are already aware how your eyes fill up with water and your nose starts running when you chop an onion or even when you chew raw onions in your salad! To loosen up the mucus in your nasal as well as sinus cavities, you just need to cut an onion and keep it in front of your nose for inhalation. However, if you have a really bad stuffy nose, here is how you can make a strong remedy with onion.
- Onion- 1-2
- Honey or sugar (optional)- 1/2 a teaspoons
- Grate or crush the onions and squeeze out its juice. You will need 2-3 tablespoons of onion juice.
- Now heat this up to the point where it becomes tolerably warm.
- Add honey or sugar if you are using it (not all can stand raw onion juice so that’s all right!)
- Immediately swallow the mixture as the strength of onion’s decongestant property loses very fast.
- Now watch your stuffy nose turn a running nose!
Precaution: Do not use this remedy for babies and newborns.
10. Eat Spicy Foods to Get Rid of a Stuffy Nose
Spicy foods are also very good natural decongestants. Hot spicy foods have chillies in them. These chillies have a component called capsaicin which gives them their decongestant properties. Capsaicin stimulates secretions helping in clearing away the mucus in your stuffed up nose. Capsaicin is similar to a drug called guaifenesin in its chemical composition. Guaifenesin is used in many over-the-counter as well as prescription cold remedies. As soon as you eat chillies, your eyes fill up with water, your nose starts to run, and even the mucus in your lungs loosen up. Chili peppers also fight off inflammation again due to their capsaicin as it is a potent inhibitor of substance P. This substance P can be understood as a neuropeptide that is related to inflammatory processes. This is how you can use chillies to make your food spicy and get rid of s stuffy nose.
- Adding about 8-10 drops of hot chili-pepper sauce to the bowl of chicken soup. Have this while it is hot to multiply the decongestant and expectorant effects of chillies.
- Make your soups and broths spicy than normal when you suffer from stuffy nose.
- You may even make chili tea. For this, take 1/2 tsp of dry chili flakes, 1-2 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp honey and mix them with a cup of hot water. Allow the chili flakes steep for about 3-5 minutes. Strain and then drink while it is still warm. This will be enough to clear your stuffy nose.
11. Have Citrus Fruits to Get Rid of Stuffy Nose
Citrus fruits -oranges, lemons and limes- have been considered to be very effective when it comes to loosening up the mucus. Mandarin oranges have this chemical known as synephrine. It belongs to the family of ephedrine having decongestant properties to cure stuffy nose. This is specifically mentioned because you must know that Mandarin oranges have this natural decongestant Synephrine about 7 times more than any other citrus fruit. Therefore have these fruits- whole or their juices- in order to relieve nasal congestion:
- Mandarin oranges and other varieties of oranges
- Lemon and lime
12. Use Aromatic Herbs to Get Rid of Stuffy Nose
Aromatic herbs are very useful to cure stuffy nose as they contain volatile oils. These oils grant such herbs their decongestant properties. Many of these oils also have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. You can use these herbs as teas, tinctures, or chew them and can even add them to your foods. These herbs can also be used to make nasal rinses but what is most convenient is inhaling steam using these herbs. Just add one or more herbs in hot water and inhale its steam to quickly open up your clogged nose. Here is the list of such aromatic herbs that you can use as decongestants for your stuffy nose.
- Wild bee balm
- Yerba mansa
If Remedies don’t Cure a Stuffy Nose, See your Doctor
Yes, this is essential. Stuffy nose remedies can only give you temporary relief at times because nasal congestion can only be a symptom of something bigger inside your body. These issues can be anything ranging from sinus infection to nasal polyps. They do need doctor’s attention. So, when to visit your doctor? See a doctor if you experience any of the below symptoms.
[Also Read: 14 Simple Home Remedies for Sinus Infection]
- Swelling in the forehead, eyes or cheeks along with a stuffy nose.
- Yellowish or white spots on the throat.
- Blurring of vision due to stuffy nose.
- Greenish or grayish mucus coming out with cough or mucus that comes out of your nose.
- If your nose stays stuffed for more than 15 days and do not clear off even after adopting various home remedies, you must definitely see your doctor to rule out any serious issue.
How to Get Rid of Baby Stuffy Nose
Your newborn baby or even a little older kid may suffer from a difficult phase due to stuffy nose. They can’t even recognize and tell what’s going on in their nose and how difficult it is becoming for them to breathe. So, look for various symptoms and take appropriate actions to give your baby relief from stuffy nose and cold or flu. If you see your baby having difficulty in breathing or when he suddenly starts coughing or choking after being fed, look for his nose. Is it clogged or not! There are many other symptoms of stuffy nose in babies like when they seem to be out of breath or they find it difficult to talk or even eat, they may be suffering from a stuffy nose. Here are some tips to relieve baby stuffy nose.
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- Use infant nasal bulb or nasal aspirator- Clear off the mucus in the nasal cavities of your newborn baby using an infant nasal bulb or aspirator. They are designed for newborn stuffy nose and you can suck mucus from your baby’s nose with them. Read the instructions properly before you do so. Be careful while using nasal bulbs. Lay your baby down on his back. Now squeeze the bulb to push all of the air out of it. While still squeezing, gently insert the tip of the bulb into your baby’s tiny nostril. Don’t stick it too far up. Now release the pressure slowly. Take it out and then squeeze the mucus out of the bulb. Repeat the process in the other nostril.
- Make your older baby blow nose- If your child is not a newborn baby and is old enough, make her blow her nose regularly.
- Give your baby more fluids- This will keep her hydrated. For newborn stuffy nose, you can give apple juice or water (only if she is over 3 months of age). For older children, along with juice, you can also give warm soups, broths and other drinks like herbal teas.
- Keep your baby’s nose moist- For this, you may use a cool-mist humidifier for such environments that have too dry air. You may also use saline nasal drops to moisten the nasal passages of your baby. Hot shower can also be given to babies by making them sit in the bathroom while the hot shower is running. The child may breathe in the steam.
- Use saline spray for baby stuffy nose carefully- Get baby saline spray and lay your baby on his back and slightly tilt his head backwards but do not force it. Now spray 2-3 drops of saline spray into each nostril of your baby. Baby may sneeze but that’s all right. Wipe it away gently using a tissue.
- Raise the crib mattress of your baby- This will make it easier for him to breathe despite a stuffy nose. For this, you may place a towel underneath the head of the mattress of your baby so that his head remains slightly elevated. This is important to relieve baby stuffy nose at night.
- Use onion to decongest baby stuffy nose- While you cannot and should not make your baby eat onion or have onion juice, you can use a sliced onion to place in your baby’s room. This too may help break up nasal congestion of your baby. For this, you just need to slice an onion and place it on a plate. Keep this plate next to your baby’s bed or crib.