Nasal congestion is an unpleasant condition that can have many unwanted effects – making it difficult to breath for instance, causing snoring, resulting in your voice sounding nasal and less compelling, causing headaches (due in part to the difficulty breathing), causing you to have to clear your throat/blow your nose often and preventing you from smelling and tasting properly (causing anosmia).
Unfortunately though nasal congestion is a very common problem and one that can occur for a vast number of different reasons – for instance it might be the result of a common cold, of asthma, of an allergy or of the shape of your nose. Chances are all of us have suffered from nasal congestion at some time or other, and some of us will unfortunately seem to be bunged up more often than not. The good news is that there are several ways to relieve nasal congestion – and of course we're going to look at them here.
Use a Balm
Using a mint/menthol balm on your chest it is possible to provide a constant supply of fumes that can break up and dissolve mucus and it can also help to freshen you up and provide a pleasant aroma. These are great for going to sleep and you can make them easily enough with some mint or even a mint-scented hair shampoo (or you can purchase Chinese 'Flower Water' which is very strong and sure to do the trick).
Hot steam is a great way to break up and dissolve phlegm and breathing this in through your nose is perfect for nasal congestion. Lean over a bowl of boiling water and drape a towel over your head and then inhale deeply. Alternatively you can run a hot shower and draw the curtain and then stand inside with the steam. Or if you're fortunate enough to own one you can go in a sauna or steam room.
Take a Hot Bath
If you don't have any handy steam, then having a hot bath can work a treat too. Make it nice and warm and then submerge your head under for a few seconds at a time. This will again help to clear the congestion.
This is a strategy that some people recommend but it's not particularly pleasant so it's perhaps best left as a last port of call. Here you simply inhale a little black pepper up your nose which causes a lot of sneezing – sneezing which can help to clear any and all blockages.
Of course a handkerchief is useful for just blowing your nose – but presumably you've tried that already. What it's also handy for is tying around your face like a bank robber so that your nose is under the handkerchief. This will warm and moisten the air as your breath it in and thereby help to break up the congestion.
If you're having the problem at night when you're meant to be going to sleep then this can cause sleep apnea (waking in the night due to breathing difficulties), loud snoring, drooling and a dry mouth. Sitting upright by propping yourself up with cushions can help to combat this effect by letting gravity do its work and empty out your nasal cavities.
If you don't find bathing in it does the trick, then make some warm water (not hot) and then stand in the bath with a little cupped in your hand. Now cover one nostril and 'snort' the rest back while bending over forward. Your bent over position is important as it will prevent the water going into your stomach and lungs and will ensure it instead runs out your mouth clearing the passage as it does. The warmth will break up phlegm and you can blow your nose to remove any residual 'hangers on'. Repeat a couple of times for each nostril.