Nasal Congestion

That stuffed-up feeling in your nose may be caused by colds or allergies.  

What you can do for relief:

  • Drink lots of fluids (at least eight glasses of water, juice, herbal tea or chicken broth a day).
  • Drink hot fluids. The steam helps loosen congestion.
  • Use a humidifier or a steam vaporizer to raise the humidity in your living area. For best results, use the humidifier in your bedroom at night with the door closed. Other ways to humidify your nasal passages include: taking a hot shower; leaning over a pot of steaming hot water; and breathing through a warm, wet washcloth.
  • Use a nasal spray such as neosynphrine, phenylephrine, afrin,etc -- but only for a few days. Nasal sprays can greatly relieve congestion, but they can cause the nasal tissues to rebound with more congestion if used more than two or three days. Use the lowest concentration that works for you.
  • Use oral nasal decongestants--found in most cold medicines--but know that they may make you feel drowsy or nervous.
  • For allergies, use antihistamines. If over-the-counter ones make you drowsy, your doctor can prescribe antihistamines that won't make you drowsy.
  • If you smoke, quit now. Stay away from irritating cigarette smoke, dust and other pollutants

Call the doctor if:

  • You have congestion that lasts longer than three weeks
  • You have a high or persistant fever
  • You have significant pain or tenderness in the forehead, cheeks and upper teeth
  • You have persistant bloody, brown, or green nasal discharge
  • You have chronic allergies. Your Doctor can refer you to an allergist who can help you over come your allergies.

 How to prevent nasal congestion:

  • Wash your hands carefully if friends or family members have colds.
  • Learn how to keep your home free of allergens.
  • Avoid dust, smoke, fumes and other pollutants, or wear a mask.
  • Humidify your house during cold winter months.