The 5 Best Ways to Get Rid of a Stuffy Nose – Men’s Health

If dealing with the discomfort and inconvenience of a stuffy nose isnt bad enough, there can be the stress and concern that goes with it. Even two-and-a-half years into the pandemic, the onset of a stuffy nose still can lead you to stress out and ask yourself Is it a coldis it allergiesor is it Covid?

The good news is that a stuffy nose usually isnt cause for panic. There are a number of reasons that people get a stuffy nose, says Suneet Singh, M.D., an emergency medicine physician and medical director at CareHive Health in Austin, Texas.

For starters, some people have an anatomic predisposition to them, such as with naturally narrow nostrils or a congenitally deviated septum, he explains. Others can acquire anatomic abnormalities such as when the nasal turbinates [the nose structures that cleanse and humidify air] enlarge due to chronic inflammation from allergies.

In addition to those anatomic reasons, excessive mucus production due to infections and allergies can also contribute to the onset of a stuffy nose, Dr. Singh says.

Keeping a daily log of when nasal congestion is at its worst can help detect if there are environmental causes in which future exposure can be avoided or minimized, he adds.

If you have a stuffy nose on its own, you can take steps to treat it at home. Dr. Singh recommends the following remedies:

1) Over-the-counter antihistamines, which can help reduce sniffling and sneezing caused by allergies, which in turn reduces mucus production.

2) Steroid nasal sprays (such as Flonase or Nasacort) which can reduce inflammation of the nasal passages that are brought on by allergies.

3) Nasal saline sprays and irrigation washes, which can work to soften mucus and wash it out of the nasal cavity alongside any irritating infections or allergic particles.

4) Using a steam inhaler to thin out mucus and promote easier drainage.

5) Medicated ointments containing ingredients such as eucalyptus, peppermint, or camphor. When applied to the upper chest, they vaporize and act as natural decongestants while also providing a cool, soothing sensation to the nasal passages.

Be aware that over-the-counter medicated nose drops (not sprays that only contain saline) can sometimes create rebound congestion, meaning they work for a while, but your stuffiness never completely goes away.

According to Dr. Singh, stuffy noses typically do not last longer than a couple of weeks. If youve tried all of the above solutions and youre still stuffed up after that (or even longer), get a doctors opinion. Try your PCP or get the opinion of an ear, nose, and throat specialist.

Your conversation with your healthcare professional will determine the next steps of care, which might include nasal swab testing to evaluate for infections such as Covid-19.

In other instances, a course of antibiotics may be prescribed if the cause of nasal congestion is felt to be a bacterial infection, Dr. Singh says. In very severe cases, you may be referred for either facial imaging studies or may undergo direct visualization of the nasal passages using specialized cameras [to determine if you need any] in-office procedures or advanced surgical operations to address any significant underlying problems.

The bottom line: A stuffy nose is usually able to be treated at home. If 14 days pass and youre still miserable, contact a doctor to see if theres an underlying cause that home treatments havent been able to tackle.

Emilia Benton is a Houston-based freelance writer and editor. In addition to Women's Health, she has contributed health, fitness and wellness content to Runner's World, SELF, Prevention, Healthline, and POPSUGAR, among other publications. She is also a 10-time marathoner, frequent traveler and avid amateur baker.

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The 5 Best Ways to Get Rid of a Stuffy Nose - Men's Health

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