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Advice to relieve nasal congestion, sinus pressure or runny nose
Respiratory diseases and allergies
When the cause is less clear
Sinus problem still won’t stop?
- Steam shower: The warm, humid air will help drain the mucus, Manis says. You can also wrap a towel over your head and inhale the steam from a bowl of hot water.
- Stay hydrated: Hot, room-temperature beverages help relieve nasal symptoms, an older study in the journal Rhinology found. But people reported greater relief when sipping a hot beverage than when sipping a room temperature beverage. Another older study found that chicken soup and hot water relieved cold symptoms such as nasal congestion more than cold water.
- Chili pepper: They are rich in capsaicin, which may help relieve nasal congestion, according to a 2015 Cochrane review.
- Moisturizer: Dry air can lead to irritation and inflammation of the nasal lining. A humidifier (choose a cool mist) set at 30 to 50 percent humidity will increase the humidity in your home appropriately, Maness says.
- Chronic heartburn: In gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach acid regularly backs up into the esophagus and mouth, damaging the lining of the esophagus. The most common advice is for a sore throat or persistent cough, Hoare says. But in a study published in BMC Pulmonary Medicine in 2021, GERD was also associated with a four-fold increase in non-allergic rhinitis. “We tend to see this in patients with severe GERD” who may not realize that the condition also affects their sinuses, says Hoare. A gastroenterologist can help.
- Sleep Apnea: People with this condition (in which breathing stops briefly several times during sleep) who also reported nasal congestion during the night were more likely to have severe sleep apnea, according to a 2022 study. They were also more likely to have high blood pressure. Or not controlling it. Addressing problems that may get in the way of treating sleep apnea — such as a deviated septum or other structural obstructions in the nose — can also help your sinuses, Hoare says.
- Side effects of medications: Beta blockers, antidepressants, and erectile dysfunction medications may worsen nasal congestion. If you doubt this, talk to your doctor. You may be able to switch to a different class of medication.
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