Treatment options for nasal congestion
What are some remedies for persistent to chronic nasal congestion that isn't associated with a cold or flu? Here's a brief rundown of your options. Remember, if your congestion doesn't respond, make sure to discuss your condition with a medical professional. If you don't you can risk making things worse, or you could be missing out on a long-term solution the problem.
Nasal irrigation. Nasal Irrigation is the term for rinsing out the nasal passages, typically with a saline solution; although this is not a broadly endorsed remedy, many individuals use it, and some physicians promote it. Sinus rinsing is meant to remove dust, pollen debris from the nasal passages, and to loosen and wash away thick mucus. It can also help relieve the discomfort of sinus infections, allergies, and colds. It's very important not to use water straight out of the tap, because this can contain possible irritants. Sterile saline solutions are available in pharmacies and medical supply stores. People can make their own sterile saline solution at home, using distilled water, or boiled and cooled tap water, mixed with table salt and baking soda. These are popular approaches to nasal irrigation:
Squeeze bulb/nasal spray bottle. Squeeze devices that emit a fine mist are useful for applying moisture to dry-feeling areas. They are not likely as effective for flushing the nasal airway.
Neti pot. This is a small teapot-shaped vessel with a long spout (some are made with a nozzle intended to help prevent liquid from leaking back out of the nostril). It's best to do this over a sink or bathtub. After filling with warm, sterile saline solution, insert the spout in one nostril, and tilt your head to pour the liquid into the nostril, directing it up one nostril, through the upper nasal passage, and draining out through the other nostril.
Pulsatile irrigation. This technique uses a pump to deliver a pulsing stream of saline solution to the nasal passages. One early proponent of pulsatile irrigation asserts that the combination of warm saline solution and the frequency of the gently pulsing stream can stimulate the cilia (tiny hair-like strands) to improve natural movement of mucus out of the nasal passages and down the throat.
Medication. For many patients, medicine can help reduce the size of the turbinates and can help improve their nasal obstruction. Here are some of the common treatments
- OTC - decongestants
- Prescription - stronger pseudo-ephedrines and nasal steroids