A stuffy nose also known as nasal congestion occurs when the blood vessels of the nose are inflamed or when there is excess mucus, making breathing difficult. This condition can be due to a flu, cold, sinusitis or respiratory allergies and it usually disappears after about a week.
The stuffy nose does not always pose any healthy risks and for this reason pharmacy nasal decongestants should be used under medical guidance and prescription. This is because they can worsen nasal congestion due to the rebound effect which can worsen and become chronic.
For this reason, before using any decongestant, there are homemade measures that can help unclog the nose such as:
1. Wash your nose with warm saline solution
The nasal washer removes excess mucus secretions from the sinus which will help in unclogging the nose. Moreover, the mixture has salt which helps in elimination of bacteria that may be increasing the production of mucus secretions.
This method can cause slight discomfort and therefore it should not be used by children. The device is placed near one of the nostrils in order to insert the salted water and let the liquid out through the other nostril. This will drag out mucus and impurities present in the nasal pathways.
2. Inhale steam with eucalyptus
Inhalation of vapours does not cause any discomfort and therefore can be used by children but under the supervision of an adult. The steam works by fluidising the secretions and the eucalyptus, which is a decongestant, helps in unclogging the nose.
To prepare the inhalation, put three drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a bowl that has 500ml of boiling water then inhale the steam for about 5 minutes. As you do this, place a bath towel over your head so that the steam is trapped.
3. Humidify the environment
Humidifying the air around the house with water basins or using an electric humidifier makes the tissues if the respiratory tracts more hydrated and reduces irritation. This will relieve discomfort and facilitate the removal of secretions.
4. Drink 2 to 3 liters of water per day
Water is important in keeping the secretions more fluid, making them easier to eliminate, even without using any technique. One can also take teas, especially those that have decongestant properties such as eucalyptus or mint.
5. Consume foods rich in vitamin C
Vitamin C is a substance that is well known for stimulating the immune system and make it stronger. This allows the body to recover faster from conditions such as colds and flus, which are the main causes of a stuffy nose.
Some of the foods that can be ingested include pineapple, orange, lemon or tangarine.
6. Take a hot bath
While taking a hot bath, the steam from the water makes the nasal mucus more fluid and easier to expel. This reduces discomfort of the stuffy nose.
7. Use hot towel with mint
A warm moist towel with mint tea placed over the face relives the symptoms of a stuffy nose It acts as a natural expectorant meaning it aids in releasing of the phlegm and mucus which causes discomfort.
8. Massage the cheekbones
To relieve discomfort of a stuffy nose, one can massage the cheekbones and the nose with essential oils of peppermint, eucalyptus or lavender, for about 5 minutes.
How to unclog the baby’s nose
A stuffy nose in a baby is very common due to the small diameter of their nostrils. They can experience a lot of discomfort since they do not know how to get rid of mucus so that they can breathe better.
To unclog the baby’s nose, what can be done is:
- Use saline to wash the baby’s nostrils by applying a few drops or jets to one of the nostrils and sucking with a nasal vacuum cleaner
- Perform a gentle massage from the top of the nose to the bottom
- Place a high pillow under the baby’s mattress for easy breathing
- Nebulize with 5ml of saline solution for 20 min, 3 to 4 times a day, helping to fluidize nasal secretion
Eucalyptus essential oil should not be used on children as it can cause respiratory irritation as well as bronchitis crisis. If the environment is too dry, it is advisable to use air humidifiers or place a hot towel extended in the baby’s room, but careful to avoid buckets to prevent accidents.