Cold, flu and allergies lead to nasal congestion and sinus. Dealing with congestion can leave you feeling tired and fatigued.
When suffering from cold, the membrane lining of the nasal passages become inflamed and irritated. This leads to excess production of mucus to flush out the allergens causing irritation.
Various over-the-counter prescriptions such as decongestants are available to treat stuffiness and headache caused by congestion. They do provide relief but there is a risk of getting dependant on these medicines.
Mild congestion can be cleared with some home remedies which are both low in cost and low at risk.
6 Natural Ways To Clear Congestion
Cold and flu can lead to dryness and dehydration. Humidifiers help provide a lot of relief by adding moisture to the air and thinning out mucus in the nose.
Warm-mist and cool-mist humidifiers prove to be equally effective but for children cool-mist should be used to avoid accidental burns from warmth.
Keep the humidifiers clean to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.
Nasal irrigation is a gentle and effective way to clear nasal congestion. It cleans the nasal passages of mucus and allergens.
For nasal irrigation, you can fill a neti pot with a saline solution made with warm water and salt. Insert the spout in one nostril and tilt the head to the other side. Allow the saline to fill up into the nasal passage and then out of the other nostril.
The research found that people treated with nasal irrigation has greater improvement of symptoms over a period of two months when compared to those treated with saline sprays (1).
Neti pots are safe to use on a daily basis.
Drink Warm Soup And Tea
Many people find relief by drinking warm liquids.
It is important to stay hydrated, especially when suffering from illness. A research was conducted in a group of people. Half of them were given water at room temperature while the other half hot water. Though not much difference was found in nasal stuffiness, the group that drank hot drink reported greater relief (2).
Hot drinks including chamomile tea, hot soups like chicken noodles, hot water with honey and lemon in it can be consumed to get relief from congestion. These remedies have been in use since traditional times, but have no evidence backing their use.
Give A Boost To The Immune System With Vitamin And Herbs
Vitamin C is known to shorten the duration of cold and also decrease the severity of symptoms. Therefore, popping some vitamin tablets help in getting over with the cold symptoms faster.
Herbs including menthol and eucalyptus help in easing a stuffy nose. It is a derivative of peppermint oil found in many rubs and balms to ease congestion.
Eucalyptus oil steam is an easy way to ease chest congestion. Take steaming water with few drops of eucalyptus oil. Wrap a towel around the head and breathe in the steam for 10 minutes. Keep the face at an arm’s length distance away.
Hot and Cold Packs
Hot and cold packs along the bridge of the nose are another natural treatment for congestion.
There is no evidence supporting that hot and cold packs relieve nasal inflammation but they certainly soothe the congestive feeling.
Garlic has both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties which make it useful in treating a lot of problem including congestion.
Research showed the effectiveness of garlic in reducing the occurrence of cold when given as a supplement for 12 weeks (3).
Those who cannot eat garlic directly can sauté it with vegetables or pasta. You can also breathe in garlic steam.
Nasal congestion can subside on its own, if it lasts for more than 7-10 days, visit a doctor. Also, if there is fever, one-sided nose bleeding, wheezing or shortness of breath, or persistent facial or tooth pain, see a doctor right away.