What is a runny or stuffy nose?
This condition occurs when the mucous membrane and blood vessels of the nose become inflamed, causing swelling, plugging of the airways, and runny nose that makes it hard to breathe.
Such inflammation may be a symptom of other diseases such as:
- Cold: One of the most common conditions worldwide. Your symptoms usually disappear within a week, if this does not happen can lead to other more serious diseases such as ear infection, bronchitis, sinusitis, or pneumonia.
- Flu: Spreads like a cold from a cough and small droplets of saliva projected into the air when an infected individual sneezes, and is caused by the influenza virus.
These two conditions are often confused because they show the same symptoms, however, unlike colds that can strike repeatedly, the flu only develops after a long time (one or several years).
- Allergy: Can be caused by various factors and occurs as a defense mechanism of the body when it has inhaled an allergen (dust, pollen, pollution, etc.). This condition is not contagious and is usually passed down through families, with those individuals whose mother is the one who suffers from allergies being more likely to pass it on.
- Sinusitis: Occurs when the sinuses (air-filled spaces inside the skull) become inflamed as a result of infection by viruses, bacteria, or allergens.
That is to say, it is the consequence of the pathologies mentioned above, the congestion can become so severe that it can lead to acute sinusitis, which can last for several weeks.
- Non-allergic rhinitis: This type of condition may or may not be caused by different external stimuli (such as allergies), but most commonly does not have a specific trigger.
This may be a sign of abnormal airway function resulting in excess mucus.
- Nasal polyps: Small bumps or sacs that form in the membrane covering the area of the nose and sinuses. They are usually caused by prolonged inflammation or irritation. Those with asthma or chronic infections are more likely to develop polyps.
The great problem of suffering from this condition is that not even medication or surgery guarantee its total disappearance, even after a surgical intervention there are possibilities that they will develop again.
As we have seen in the previous point, nasal congestion is part of the clinical picture of different conditions related to the respiratory tract and depending on the pathology the patient may have different symptoms.
However, since they affect the same group of organs, some common symptoms can be observed. Some of them are presented in the following list:
- Cough (usually gets worse at night)
- Decreased appetite
- Flushed face
- Nausea and vomiting
- Runny nose (clear and watery)
- Pain similar to pressure behind the eyes, in the area of the teeth, or facial tenderness
- Itching of the nose, mouth, eyes, or throat
- Swollen, watery eyes
- Blocked ears and decreased sense of smell
- Fatigue and irritability
The main objective in these cases is to try to dilute the mucus that obstructs the airways, to accelerate their expulsion. Here are some tips on how to achieve this:
- Clear the airway. Different methods can be used to achieve this:
- Place a previously moistened cloth in hot water on your face several times a day.
- Taking a hot bath or shower will also help decongest the nose by inhaling the steam.
- Use vaporizers or humidifiers. A few drops of essential oil of rosemary, eucalyptus, or tea tree can be placed to reinforce the effect.
- Nasal washes. Irrigation is a good way to clear the airways quickly.
- Try to keep your head upright (even at night) to make breathing easier.
- Use adhesive strips to clear the nasal passages. They are very useful at bedtime so as not to interrupt sleep.
- Drinking plenty of water helps replenish fluids, stabilize body temperature, and strengthen the immune system.
- Go to a specialist. A wide variety of over-the-counter medicines are available in pharmacies.
Many times the mistake of buying the wrong medicine is made, and as explained above, nasal congestion may be related to different conditions and in some cases symptoms may even be aggravated if the wrong medicine is taken.
That is why only a diagnosis carried out by a specialist can further guarantee that we are taking the drug necessary to effectively treat each of these conditions.
Expectorant Home Remedies
As already noted in the previous point, the bad habit of self-medicating is not recommended at all.
On the other hand, such a common condition tends to downplay the importance of treatment and makes the wrong decision not to maintain any type of care for fear of the risks of suffering the side effects of medications.
However, it should be noted that there are home remedies that can be used without any risk, below are some of them:
- Honey and Ginger Infusion: In a cup of boiled water mix a teaspoon of chopped fresh ginger with a tablespoon of honey and another of lemon juice. It should be taken twice a day. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger together with the vitamin C provided by the lemon will help fight viruses and clear the nasal passages.
- Basil infusion: Put 6 leaves in a cup of boiling water and let stand. Drink this infusion at least 3 times a day.
Another option is to chew directly the leaves of this plant in the morning and at night, this will help to desinflamar the bronchi and eliminate the accumulated phlegm.
- Nasal saline: Just dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a glass of water. Then deposit with the help of a dropper into the nose keeping the head tilted back, expel and repeat the process. This will help soften the mucus to make it easier to pass.
- Syrup of honey and onion: Macerate for two days in a glass jar cup and a half of chopped onion with a cup of white wine and a half cup of honey. Taking the resulting syrup 3 times a day will help eliminate viruses and bacteria thanks to the antibiotic power of these ingredients.