It’s that time of the year again in our part of the world when a lot of people are getting sick because of the rainy season. We all know how hard that can be especially for us moms who are tasked to take care of the sick members of our family.
One of the things I hate whenever I get sick is getting nasal decongestion. I learned recently that nasal decongestion, or having a stuffy nose, can be caused by a lot of things, the most common of which are infections, such as colds, flu or sinusitis, or irritants like smoke as well as allergies.
This happens when the nasal tissues and blood vessels become swollen with excess fluid. Regardless of the cause though, nasal decongestion can be a pain for both kids and adults. It affects how we breathe and sometimes it will result to sleep disturbance or difficulty as well, which is especially a concern when it comes to kids and infants.
I, myself, have been experiencing nasal decongestion several times during the last few months. I just thought I was getting a cold or that maybe it had something to do with the fact that I’m in an air-conditioned room most of the time. However, I also learned that it could be because I’m pregnant. Apparently, pregnant women are more prone to allergies, which then causes nasal decongestion.
Luckily, there are various easy ways on how we can clear a stuffy nose and I’d like to share some of them with you.
- Swallow or gently blow your nose.
If you have a cold, swallowing or gently blowing your nose, one nostril at a time, may provide some relief. Just be careful to not overdo it or you might end up propelling more mucus into your sinuses, which can cause more bacterial infections.
- Use a humidifier.
Humidifiers or vaporizers can help relieve congested sinuses by adding moisture to the air. This helps thin the mucus inside your nose, giving you relief. Make sure to keep your humidifier clean though (and follow the cleaning instructions properly!) to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
It’s always a good idea to stay hydrated when you are sick. Drinking lots of fluids help thin out your nasal secretions and prevent blocked sinuses.
- Take vitamins or herbs.
When you are sick, boost your immune system by taking in some extra Vitamin C to help you get over your cold symptoms faster. If your stuffy nose is due to allergies though, you might want to try some herbs, such as menthol and eucalyptus oil commonly found in balms and rubs, which can provide short-term relief.
- Use a seawater / saline nasal spray.
Seawater or saline nasal sprays or rinses contain salt water that will keep your nose clean. Just be careful of which one to use because not all nasal sprays are the same.
There are variants or brands of nasal sprays that contain natural seawater, which has elements that help strengthen the natural defenses of your nose and help remove particles, such as dust, pollution, tobacco smoke, allergens, etc., that weaken our nasal mucosa. One such brand I came across recently is the French brand, Humer, which has specific solutions for all kinds of nasal problems. They even have separate variants for adults and infants or kids.
- Put a warm towel on your face.
Doing this can help relieve discomfort. Try wringing out a wet wash cloth and heating it in the microwave for a minute before laying it on your face. Of course, make sure it’s not too hot that it will burn your skin.
- Put an extra pillow under your head.
Sleeping with a stuffy nose can be quite a challenge. You can make it easier on yourself by propping yourself up and putting an extra pillow under your head. Elevating your head will help make breathing more comfortable for you.
If these methods don’t work, there are over-the-counter medicines you can take. BUT, remember to always consult with your doctor first especially if your symptoms last more than 10 days or are experiencing other problems such as high fever or sinus pain, or if you have a bloody or yellow or green discharge.