Stuffy nose or blocked nostrils happen because a vein in the nostril is swollen. Irritation that makes the vein swell may occur when the person has cold or flu or any kind of sinus infection. In some cases, allergies are the main culprit for stuffy nose at night. You might blow away at your nose but not find any mucus. Mucus formation may be present but is not necessary.
Here are simple yet effective methods that soothe the irritation in the nasal passage and helps you breathe comfortably again.
Nasal decongestants give instant relief. However, they may not be suitable for prolonged use. Sometimes, saline sprays give better relief. You can also try a combination spray that has decongestants and saline water. Most common decongestants sprays are Sinex and Afrin. Pills include Sudogest and Sudafed. Check with your physician if you show any signs that the ailment is becoming worse. Discontinue the decongestant medication both spray and pill after three days. Consult your doctor if you want to use it for more than three days.
Another way to improve blood flow in the region of the nose is through a warm compress. Squeeze a towel with warm water and lay it on your forehead and nose region. You can use the warm compress as often as you require it.
Increase humidity of your room
Water content in the air helps ease irritation. Warm air helps blood vessels expand so that blood flow is smoother. Water content reduces thickness of the mucus making it easy to manage.
Check for allergy
Your nasal irritation may be from an allergy. Change of seasons will bring pollen from the grass or trees. Try antihistamines if your stuffy nose at night coincides with the change of season. Allergy medicines may cause drowsiness. So, you should not take them when you need to stay alert such as if you are driving or on duty. Combination medicines that have antihistamines and decongestants will help. New antihistamines like Allegra (fexofenadine) and Claritin (loratidine) do not work alleviate cold symptoms. Ceron, Allegra – D, Ryneze and Zymine are US brand decongestant/antihistamine combination pills. Canadian brands are Corsym, Ornade, Cold Relief and Snaplets – D. These will cure runny nose, hay fever, nasal congestion and sneezing.
Increase the water content in your body
Eat fruits, drink juices and water – these will help reduce mucus thickness abruptly. When mucus thins out, the pressure on the vein reduces and subsequently the irritation comes down. Your nostril opens out again.
Have a hot water shower
If you have a blocked nose, increasing the temperature helps reduce suffering. Hot water shower does all the things the humidifier does and more. The hot water raises the temperature of the skin so that the blood vessels dilate increasing the flow of blood.
Action of decongestants
Breathe better, breathe easy – a little care will go a long way. Histamines are chemicals responsible for the allergic reactions like runny nose, watery eyes, itching and sneezing. The antihistamines work to prevent the formation of histamines in the body. Commonly these histamines contain pheniramine, azatadine, triprolidine, clemsatine, promethazine and phenyltoloxamine among others.
The action of decongestants such as pseudoephedrine is to cause a constriction of the blood vessels. This opens the passage for the air flow. One side effect of this is that the blood pressure will rise. So, it may not be suitable for people who have high blood pressure. Also, avoid giving these medications to very small children.
Commonly available dosage forms for the medicines are as given below.
- Chewable tablet
- 24-hour liquid capsule
- Extended release tablet
- Extended release syrup