Allergies, colds, flu, and chronic sinusitis are common causes of nasal congestion, and when it strikes, it can make life miserable. The sinus pressure can give way to pain that spreads through your forehead and cheeks, making it difficult to work, study, and go about your daily life.

Our medical team at Southern ENT Associates provides top-quality care. Our physicians and nurse practitioners have extensive experience diagnosing and treating conditions of the ear, nose, and upper respiratory tract. 

In this post, we discuss some practical steps you can take to get relief when nasal congestion strikes.   

Use a humidifier

Dry air can make nasal congestion worse. Use a humidifier to put moisture into the air and increase the humidity. Breathing moist air soothes inflamed, irritated sinus passages. 

Drink plenty of fluids

You should always stay hydrated, especially when you experience nasal congestion. Maintaining fluid balance can help thin out thick mucus in your nasal passages. Thinner mucus drains better, and better drainage means less pressure and irritation.

Avoid beverages that have a dehydrating effect, such as caffeinated drinks. Stick to clear, non-caffeinated beverages. Warm liquids, such as herbal tea, are soothing if you also have a sore throat.

Use a nasal steroid spray if you have allergies

If you have allergies, nasal steroid sprays can reduce related nasal congestion and other symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. It may take a few days before you notice an improvement in your nasal congestion.

Use a warm compress

A warm compress soothes irritated sinuses and helps relieve symptoms of nasal congestion. Soak a towel in warm water, squeeze out the excess water, fold the towel, and place it over your nose. You can also place it on your forehead to soothe the frontal sinuses.

Try an over-the-counter antihistamine

Antihistamines block substances the body releases during an allergic response. These substances contribute to allergy symptoms, including nasal congestion. 

If you have allergies, antihistamine medication can alleviate nasal congestion and other symptoms, including sneezing and itchy eyes. Some antihistamine medications cause drowsiness. If you plan to take an antihistamine during the daytime, choose a non-drowsy formula.

Try sinus irrigation

Sinus irrigation can help clear your sinuses so you can breathe better. You use an irrigation device (typically a squeezable bottle or neti pot) containing saline solution to flush your nasal passages.
Use distilled water since it is free of bacteria and contaminants. This home remedy, called nasal lavage, can help clear your sinuses. Saline nasal irrigations flush out mucus and allergens to soothe nasal passages.

Know when it’s time to visit a doctor

Usually, nasal congestion is temporary and resolves on its own. Schedule a visit with us if you experience nasal congestion that lasts longer than 10 days or congestion that seems to go away only to come back. We can perform a comprehensive evaluation to get to the bottom of your symptoms.

Although we’ve provided some practical tips for managing nasal congestion with over-the-counter products, it’s wise to speak with a doctor beforehand. Your symptoms could be a sign of an underlying condition.

For an evaluation and to discuss your symptoms, call us to schedule an appointment at one of our six Southern ENT locations. Our offices are located in Thibodaux, Houma, Raceland, Morgan City, New Iberia, and Youngsville, Louisiana.

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