Blocked or stuffy nose is one of man’s most common disturbances. In some cases, it may be a minor problem, but in others, it could indicate serious health issues.
Stuffy nose leads to mouth breathing which deprives you of oxygen, causes snoring, daytime fatigue and oral and upper respiratory issues. In this article, I will talk about safe and effective home remedies that will help you unstuff your nose quickly.
Discover how to unclog your nose fast. Select one of the methods below so you can breathe easily and stop having headaches, dry mouth and finally enjoy peaceful sleep.
Common Causes of Stuffy Nose
A stuffy nose may occur due to the following reasons:
Nasal septum is the wall in between the nostrils which divides the nostrils. It is ideally straight, flat and goes in between the nose. In some people, it gets deformed, causing a stuffy nose. A simple corrective surgery having very little downtime is usually beneficial in correcting such structural deformity.
Most adults and children suffer from colds at least 2-3 times a year. Viral infections generally cause these, and they can lead to severe nasal congestion or stuffy noses. Steam inhalation, nasal decongestants and nasal sprays usually help in such cases. Avoid using medicines of any kind for more than three days as they can have side effects like excessive nasal dryness and bleeding etc.
Nasal stuffiness is also associated with allergies, hay fever, pollen, dust, mites, moulds etc. Apart from a stuffy nose, you might also experience a runny nose, watery and itchy eyes, cough, post nasal drip etc. Antihistamines can help to an extent, but these medicines cause drowsiness and other serious side effects.
Certain tumours or benign growths like nasal polyps can also cause a stuffy nose. Many times, these growths are associated with nose bleeds and other serious symptoms. Antibiotics, surgery, allergy injections etc. are used to treat these issues.
Stuffy Nose in Babies
Nothing is more distressing for a parent than a baby with a stuffy or blocked nose. Stuffy nose in babies and toddlers can interfere with their sleep as well as appetite. The child might cough all night due to a post nasal drip. The bunged-up nose can also produce a thick mucus or watery discharge.
You can also place the baby in a steamy bathroom so that the steam can moisten the nasal airways and unclog the nose. Diffusing certain aromatic oils in the child’s room can also help unclog the baby’s nose.
Try some of the KidSafe essential oil blends from Plant Therapy. These are gentle and pure and won’t cause any side effects and they are the ONLY Kid Safe essential oil line specifically formulated (by Robert Tisserand) for children ages 2-10. They are already premixed and help with specific issues including stuffy noses, sleep problems or anxiety.
The Truth About Over The Counter Nasal Decongestants
Many drug remedies are available over the counter to help you get rid of a congested nose. These include:
Nasal sprays reduce swelling and congestion in the lining of the nasal airways. They also reduce mucus production but you should not use them for more than 3 to 4 days. This is because of their drying action which can irritate the delicate lining of the nasal mucosa due to prolonged use.
They also lead to chemical dependence which causes your nose to get congested again if you stop using it. Some nasal sprays also contain steroids (corticosteroid) which are recommended for severe allergy sufferers. It is best not to use these sprays for more than three days as the steroids could enter the bloodstream causing much harm.
Steroid based sprays are certainly not recommended for very young kids unless advised by the paediatrician. Adults who use steroid sprays to fix a stuffy nose caused due to allergies may have to start using them 2-3 days before the allergy triggers for them to reach their full effect.
Antihistamines can unstuff nose fast; many work within an hour of taking them. They are available in the form of syrup or tablets. Some antihistamines are more effective for runny noses and may not work for the severely blocked nose.
As stated before, antihistamines come with side effects like drowsiness, confusion etc. So avoid taking them if you plan to drive or use machinery etc. In kids, antihistamines can induce nightmares and increase agitation. Also, certain types of antihistamines dry up nasal secretions which are often harder to expel. This could aggravate sinus infections.
Pregnancy and The Use of Over The Counter Nasal Decongestants
Many cold and cough medicines, as well as nasal decongestants, can be very harmful to the fetus.
- Some cold medicines contain alcohol, as much as a four-ounce glass of wine.
- Many cold medicines also contain Aspirin which is harmful to the baby.
- When you are stuffed up, a nasal spray can seem like a gift from heaven. But many nasal sprays contain Oxymetazoline - a compound that tightens the small blood vessels of nasal airways to clear the sinuses. Unfortunately, it can also tighten the arteries leading to the uterus and reduce blood and oxygen flow to the baby.
- Acetaminophen combined with cold medication found in over the counter drugs can sometimes cause one to take too much of it. This can be toxic to the liver.
Therefore, it is very important to consult a doctor before using over the counter medicines to get rid of the clogged nose in pregnancy. Home remedies using herbs, essential oils, steam inhalation etc. are safer alternatives to these medicines.
Let us now discuss some easy home remedies to help a stuffy nose. Here is how to get your nose unstuffed.
How To Unclog Your Nose Instantly? Home Remedies
Many of us take breathing for granted, but those who have a stuffy and congested nose know how difficult it can be to sleep at night with it. There are many ways to unstuff your nose. Try these home remedies to make your nose unstuffed instantly:
1. Steam Inhalation
How to unstuff your nose fast? Steam inhalation with added essential oils is one of the best methods.
Boil water in a pot or a steamer. Take off the heat and add a few drops of Eucalyptus, Tea tree or Lavender essential oils to the water. Place your head over the steaming water and cover it up with a towel. Inhale this aromatic steam deeply for 7-10 minutes or until the water runs cold.
This easy home remedy can unclog stuffy nose quickly and give you long-lasting relief. You can re-heat the water and repeat the process. In case you do not have a steamer, you can also run a hot shower and stand in the steamy bathroom. Inhale the steam for a few minutes. The steam unclogs the nose and lightens the mucus. This is a great remedy to unclog baby’s stuffed nose.
2. Neti Pot: This is How to Unclog Your Nose Fast
If you suffer from chronic sinusitis or blocked nose, invest in a neti pot. A neti pot is a convenient tool for unclogging a blocked nose. It has a handle and spout which helps you rinse out your sinuses. Fill up the pot with warm saline water.
Tilt your head over the sink and place the spout in one nostril. Close the other nostril by pressing it with your finger. Let the water enter the nostril and come out of your mouth. Repeat this for both nostrils. The saline water helps flush out the mucus to unclog your nose quickly.
To make a saline solution for neti pot:
- Dissolve ¼ tsp salt and a pinch of baking soda in 1 cup warm water.
- Make sure the water is not too hot. Very hot temperatures can irritate the delicate lining of the nasal tissue.
- Store this homemade saline rinse for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Warm it up before each use.
3. Diffuse Essential Oils
Many essential oils have a decongestant action. You can, as stated above, add them to steaming water and inhale the fragrant vapours. Another great way to use essential oils to get rid of a blocked nose is to diffuse the oils using a room diffuser or a humidifier.
Some of the best essential oils for this purpose are Peppermint essential oil, Tea Tree oil, Eucalyptus oil, Chamomile essential oil, Basil essential oil, Blue Cypress oil etc. Simply add 8-10 drops of these along with water in the humidifier/diffuser. Inhale the vapours while you rest. You can even add a few drops of these oils on a tissue or hanky and inhale it to unblock stuffy nose during the day.
4. Nasal Strips
Nasal strips (BreatheRite®) are convenient ways to unclog blocked nose. The strip stops the side walls of the nasal septum from collapsing. These can be beneficial at night if the blocked nose is interfering with your sleep. Internal dilators like Nasal Cones, BreatheWithEez® etc are also available over the counter or on the Internet.
5. Get Plenty of Rest
If cold or seasonal flu has caused your nasal congestion, then resting is the best solution. Avoid going to work or school. This will help you recover faster.
6. Increase Your Fluid Intake
Drink plenty of water, at least eight glasses per day. Water helps thin down the mucus. You can add some honey or ginger to hot water and sip this through the day. Also drink herbal tea, soups, stews and broths. Avoid caffeinated beverages and sodas which tend to dehydrate you.
7. Take Vitamin C
Increase your vitamin C intake. This antioxidant not only reduces the duration of a cold; it strengthens your natural defences to prevent allergies and seasonal colds. You need at least 1500 mg of Vitamin C per day. You can also dissolve one tablet of vitamin C (500 mg) in hot water and apply this paste inside both nostrils using a dropper, twice a day. This remedy can unstuff the nose quickly.
8. Zinc Supplements
Zinc supplements and zinc lozenges can shorten the duration of a cold. This important mineral suppresses the activity of cold viruses and inhibits their reproduction. Take 4-25mg of zinc two times a day.
Garlic is naturally antibiotic, antiviral and anti-inflammatory. It also strengthens the immune system to reduce the duration of a cold. Add minced garlic to soups, stews and broths and take them 3-4 times a day to cure a stuffy nose fast. Chewing two raw garlic cloves three times a day for a week will also drain the sinuses and give you relief from allergic rhinitis and other seasonal nasal congestion.
Chew on some green peppercorns to relieve sinus congestion. Pepper is known as the ‘head herb’ and acts as an expectorant. Research has shown that pepper is anti-asthma, anti-oxidant and immune-stimulating.
11. Echinacea and Goldenseal
These herbal remedies are very beneficial for the immune system. They prevent allergies, colds and coughs and also give faster relief from these ailments. Take 500 mg of Echinacea 2-3 times a day or as per label instructions.
Can’t breathe through the nose? Then use comfrey root. This is a safe herbal remedy for pregnant women to unblock a stuffy nose. Chop roots or leaves of comfrey and add them to a cup of water. Boil the water and inhale the steam for 5-7 minutes to get fast relief from nasal congestion. It is best to keep the head and basin covered with a towel to get the maximum benefit from this remedy.
13. Epsom Salts
To a cup of warm water, add some Epsom salts and a teaspoon of baking soda. Soak a clean cloth in the solution and squeeze out the excess water. Place the cloth over the sinuses to relieve pressure, congestion and pain. Repeat several times a day to stop a stuffy nose. This is a safe and effective remedy to unclog blocked nose in kids and babies.
14. Herb Infused Apple Cider Vinegar
Use this cold "crusher" apple cider vinegar recipe infused with cold-fighting herbs
- One garlic - peeled, crushed (garlic stimulates the immune system and fights viruses)
- One medium horseradish root, cleaned, peeled and chopped coarsely (Horseradish stimulates nasal secretions to prevent congestion)
- 2 inches of ginger root, cleaned, peeled and grated (Ginger is antibacterial, antiviral and immunity-enhancing. It also fights coughs)
- Raw, organic and unpasteurized Apple cider vinegar (Apple cider vinegar is
In a glass jar having a non-metallic lid, place all the chopped herbs. Pour apple cider vinegar on top until the level of the vinegar is at least 1 inch above the herbs. Seal the jar and place it in a cool, dry place for two weeks. After this period, you can strain the vinegar which is now infused with cold-fighting properties of the herbs.
Alternatively, you can leave the herbs as it is in the vinegar. At the first sign of nasal congestion, eat a teaspoon of the herbs with the vinegar extract. Sweeten with Manuka honey if desired.
Exercise has a decongesting effect. Go for a brisk walk or cycle around. If you have fever, body ache or otherwise feel lousy, rest.
I hope that you have found this article useful and now you know how to unstuff your nose using some great natural methods.
A congested, stuffy nose is no fun. Steam inhalation, aromatic essential oils and other herbal remedies usually help unstuff the clogged nose; they are also safer than over-the-counter drug treatments. Always blow your nose gently when dealing with nasal congestion; never use force.
If your stuffy nose is caused by dry, winter air, run a humidifier at night while sleeping to avoid further dryness. Sniffing up water using a neti pot can also prevent allergy-related stuffy nose.
Increase your water intake and take a good supplement having vitamin B complex, zinc and Vitamin C. All these can shorten the duration of the cold and help you get rid of a stuffy nose quickly.