5 Things to Try at the First Signs of a Stuffy Nose

Do you suddenly feel like you're getting a stuffy nose? Once nasal congestion takes root, then it can be difficult to clear up unless you take immediate action. And cold season is here, and you need ways to breathe easy and get stuffy nose relief fast. Fortunately, there things you can try right away that can clear up nasal congestion and keep it from getting worse. The first line of defense is over-the-counter medications -- these can provide immediate relief from a stuffy nose and other symptoms of the common cold or flu. Other things you can try go beyond simple medications. Keeping the nasal passages moist will help them to remain open, which this can be accomplished with a humidifier or a hot shower. Drinking a lot of water and other liquids will keep you hydrated which is another easy and effective way to keep your nasal passages clear. Saline sprays and nasal drains, such as Neti pots, will keep your passages clear while also temporarily relieving the discomfort caused by nasal congestion. Nasal strips are also effective to keep your nasal passages clear and feeling good, especially at night. Read on to learn more about these five things to try at the first signs of a stuffy nose, and search the best way to relieve nasal congestion now.

First thing to try: OTC medications. Which ones are the best?

The top three over-the-counter medications to take at the first signs of a stuffy nose are Sudafed, Vicks and ClariSpray. Sudafed is perhaps the most well-known nasal decongestant, and it's available in both OTC and prescription-strength potency. Vicks is ideal for nighttime use and when you're experiencing other symptoms. ClariSpray is an allergy medication that can help when you've encountered an allergy trigger. There are numerous other over-the-counter medications and products that can help knock out the symptoms of a stuffy nose.

Second thing to try: Airborne Moisture.

The steam from a shower will soothe the blood vessels in your nasal passages and also work to thin and clear out any mucus that has built up due to the congestion. Taking a hot shower when you have a cold or allergies is an effective way to clear up your nasal congestion and lessen any discomfort that you are experiencing. Also, humidifiers help to keep moisture in the air which keeps the nasal passages from drying out. The moisture helps the passages to keep mucus thin and relieve swollen blood vessels. Adding a humidifier to your home can help to significantly improve your congestion.

Third thing to try: Drink lots of water.

Liquids will help to thin any mucus that has accumulated in your nasal passages due to congestion and also help to get it draining out of your nose. This drainage will reduce the pressure you are feeling in your sinuses and help you to breathe a lot better. Drinking water is always the best medicine when talking about fluids. This is especially important if you're coming down with the cold or flu, both of which can leave you dehydrated as your body attempts to fight off germs.

Fourth thing to try: Saline sprays and nasal drains.

Saline sprays are a very effective tool in combating nasal congestion. They directly moisturize the nasal passages, thin any mucus that has built up, and help to decrease inflammation in the blood vessels. This saltwater mixture is very safe and effective to use. Neti pots help to clear mucus by flushing water through the nostrils in order to clear the nasal passages. The FDA advises that distilled or sterile water be used rather than tap, other than that, it is a very simple and effective device to use.

Fifth thing to try: Nasal strips.

Nasal strips are flexible bands that fit above the flare of your nostrils and hold your nose open the way it should be for optimal breathing. Breathe Right Nasal Strips are among the most common brand of these strips. They're ideal to wear at night, because they keep the nostrils open when normally they'd collapse over time. Not only will you breathe easier through your nose, but you're less likely to snore at night while wearing these strips. And a good night's sleep (for you or your partner) can also help to prevent worsening symptoms!

Trying All of These Options Together

Never take more than one medication at a time without talking to your doctor. However, as long as you're only taking one type of allergy medication or nasal decongestant, then all of these five things can be tried at the same time. And you'll feel better if you tackle your stuffy nose head-on, rather than wait for your symptoms to get worse before starting up your treatment. Remember to also wash your hands and practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of germs, especially during cold and flu season. And by all means, use those sick days and stay home from work so you don't infect your coworkers in the break room!

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