Nasal congestion occurs when the nasal passageways become swollen with excess fluid, causing a feeling of stuffiness. This is due to breathing in substances that irritate the nasal passages, causing them to become inflamed and blocked. Allergies are a common cause of nasal congestion, but it can also be caused by:
- Nasal and sinus infections
- Dry air
- Spicy foods
- Certain medications, especially those that treat high blood pressure, depression, and seizures
- Nonallergic rhinitis — chronic sneezing and congestion not caused by allergies
- Tobacco smoke
No matter the cause, we’re here to help you learn how to get rid of a stuffy nose. These at-home remedies are easy to use for relieving sinus pressure and clogging.
Drink Water to Unclog Your Stuffy Nose
One of the easiest ways to combat a congested nose is to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids thins mucus in your nasal passages, helping it move out of your sinuses. This relieves pressure and inflammation, helping you breathe easier. Some over the counter (OTC) medications used for congestion, allergies, and colds may dry you out; staying hydrated can also counter these effects.2,3
Water is the most obvious choice for hydration, but warm, soothing beverages like tea, clear soups and broths, or water with lemon and honey can all help. The heat from these drinks can also loosen mucus and soothe a sore throat.
Apply Warm Compresses to Clear Your Sinuses
Warm compresses are great for general pain relief and are just as useful for congestion. The heat from the compress helps loosen mucus, relieving pressure and pain in the sinuses. If you have a few spare cloths lying around, you can make your own compresses at home.
Here are the steps for how to make a warm compress:
- Run a washcloth or towel under warm water, then another under cold water
- Lie down and apply the warm compress to your forehead and/or over the nose for three minutes
- Switch to a cold compress over the same areas for 30 seconds
- Alternate the compresses two more times for a total of three cycles
- Repeat this treatment up to four times a day as needed for relief
Steam Out Nasal Congestion
Nose not running? Run the shower. Steam combines the power of heat and hydration to loosen dry mucus and relax inflamed nasal passages. Taking a steamy shower and allowing the hot water to run over your forehead and face can help open your airways and offer sinus pressure relief.
For a quicker stuffy nose remedy, fill a sink or bowl with hot water and stand over it while breathing in the steam. You’ll want to avoid directly breathing in hot steam from the water, letting it rise to you instead. Place a towel over your head to help catch the rising steam and create a mini sauna for yourself.
Use a Humidifier as a Fast Stuffy Nose Remedy
Humidifiers and electric steamers can also be used to bring moisture into the air around you. You can choose from either a warm-mist or cool-mist humidifier for your stuffy nose, as both are effective in relieving sinus congestion and pain.3 These devices are sold based on room size, so be sure to measure the room it will sit in for the best results.
Be sure to fill your humidifier with distilled water, as tap water has minerals that can be irritating when inhaled. Cleaning it daily can also help prevent any bacteria or mold from growing inside, which can also be harmful to breathe in.
Elevate Your Head to Get Rid of Your Stuffy Nose at Night
Do you ever wake up in the morning and ask yourself, “Why is my nose always stuffy?” Lying down can make congestion worse, since gravity is keeping mucus in the nose and sinuses. Your blood pressure and blood flow to the upper body also changes when you lie down in bed — this can cause inflammation in the nose and nasal passages.5
Sleeping on your side may cause the nostril closest to the bed to clog. To help prevent a stuffy nose at night, lay on your back and elevate your head with an extra pillow or two to get a little help from gravity. Once you are up and moving the next day, your congestion will most likely go away.
Take OTC Medicines for Allergy Congestion Relief
Looking for how to clear your sinuses at the source? OTC antihistamine medications like BENADRYL® work by blocking histamines, which are chemicals released by your body’s immune system in response to allergens. Histamines are responsible for allergy side effects like sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and itching.
BENADRYL® Allergy Plus Congestion combines the power of antihistamines with nasal decongestants to help fight the source of allergy symptoms. Kick congestion to the curb with BENADRYL®.