Our Expert's Take on How to Treat Congestion at Home

Dec 15, 2023
Our Expert's Take on How to Treat Congestion at Home
Most of us expect to occasionally deal with a stuffy, runny nose, but what do you do when nasal congestion makes it hard to focus on anything else? Our specialist offers tips for home care that can help you breathe easier.

Whether it’s caused by a cold, allergies, or a sinus issue, nasal congestion can make it hard to sleep, eat, concentrate, or focus on anything besides trying to inhale.

Dr. Philip T. Ho and our team at Silicon Valley ENT & Sinus Center in Los Gatos, California, excel at diagnosing and treating the underlying causes of persistent nasal congestion. Once he’s identified the reason for your symptoms, Dr. Ho develops an individualized treatment strategy that relieves your current congestion and helps prevent future flare-ups.

Your plan may include medications, allergy care, or possibly surgery to correct issues like a deviated septum. And, as part of a comprehensive treatment approach, Dr. Ho also suggests trying these home care tips for relieving nasal congestion.

1. Drink plenty of water

One simple yet effective way to combat congestion is staying hydrated. Drinking plenty of water helps thin mucus, making it easier to clear nasal passages. Additionally, hot beverages like herbal teas or warm broths can provide soothing relief.

2. Try steam therapy

Inhaling steam is a time-tested method for alleviating congestion. You can achieve this by taking a hot shower or creating your own steam to inhale. Boil water, pour it into a bowl, and lean over it with a towel covering your head to trap the steam. Add essential oils like eucalyptus or peppermint for an extra boost.

3. Saline nasal rinse

Saline nasal rinses help flush out mucus and allergens, providing quick relief. To help prevent the risk of infection, we recommend using a sterile, prepackaged saline sinus solution available at your local pharmacy or online. Administer with a bulb syringe or neti pot.

4. Elevate your head while sleeping

Consider using an extra pillow or investing in a wedge pillow to elevate your head while sleeping. This helps prevent mucus from pooling in your nasal passages, reducing congestion.

5. Humidify your environment

Dry air can exacerbate congestion. A humidifier in your bedroom or other frequently used room adds moisture to the air. This helps prevent nasal passages from drying out and makes breathing easier. Clean the machine often and thoroughly according to the manufacturer’s directions to avoid a buildup of bacteria or mold.

6. Try nasal strips

External nasal strips are adhesive bands that adhere to the outside of your nose. They work by gently pulling open the nostrils, allowing improved airflow. While they don't address the cause of congestion, nasal strips can provide temporary relief.

7. Add some spice to the menu

Incorporating spicy foods into your diet can help clear congestion. Ingredients like chili peppers contain capsaicin, which can thin mucus and promote easier breathing. Try adding a touch of spice to your meals for a natural, decongestant effect.

8. Try ginger and honey in your tea

Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, while honey is known for its soothing effects. Combine the two in a warm beverage to create a natural remedy for congestion. Ginger tea with honey can be particularly beneficial.

9. Rest

Adequate rest is crucial for your body to recover from congestion. Ensure you get enough sleep to support your immune system and allow your body to heal. Consider taking short naps during the day to aid in the recovery process.

10. See the doctor

Check in with Dr. Ho if your congestion persists, worsens, or frequently disrupts your life since it could be a symptom of an underlying issue that requires medical attention. Schedule an evaluation at Silicon Valley ENT & Sinus Center today by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.