A stuffy or congested nose occurs when the nasal lining becomes swollen and congested. The swelling is due to inflamed blood vessels which block the nasal passages and causes difficulty in breathing and a sense of heaviness and fullness, feeling stuffed. The problem may also include nasal discharge or "runny nose".41

It can be caused by several things. Although most people think they have a cold when they get a stuffy nose, this symptom can occur from numerous health conditions:

  1. The main cause of stuffy nose is infection, and the common cold is the most common type. With a cold, you have a viral infection, and these kinds of conditions do not respond to antibiotics, so they must run their course. A cold usually lasts about a week. With the help of over the counter medications, plenty of fluids and rest, you should start to feel better within a few days. The average child will catch up to six colds a year, and the average adult will catch up to three colds a year. A sinus infection (sinusitis) is the most common type of bacterial nasal infection, and this can also lead to a stuffy nose.

  2. Allergic rhinitis is the second most common cause of a stuffy nose. An allergy is an inflammatory reaction to a pollutant whether it is environmental (grass, dust, hay fever, mold or pet dander). An allergy specialist may prescribe a prescription allergy medication.

  3. Another cause of stuffy nose is vasomotor rhinitis, and it occurs when the nasal passages become inflamed (swollen). During an allergy attack or reaction, the blood vessels get larger and cause the membranes in the nose to become blocked resulting in a stuffy nose. Avoidance of airway irritants usually helps with this form of stuffy nose.

  4. The fourth cause of a stuffy nose is structural abnormalities, which are usually noticed in childhood. Although adults can also develop structural abnormalities, most often they are the result of an injury later in life. Surgery is often the only option to correct it. Over the counter allergy medicines do provide some relief from the constant stuffy nose.42

1. Steam inhalation

Many people with nasal congestion find that inhaling steam helps them feel better. They may use a bowl of plain water, adding chamomile or peppermint oil, or take a warm shower.

The warmth and moisture can be soothing to the membranes inside the nose, providing temporary relief. There is also a theory that it allows mucus to drain better and that it may help kill the virus. However, science has not confirmed these theories, and there is no evidence to suggest that it improves symptoms.

2. Humidifiers

Adding moisture to the air from a cool or warm mist humidifier provides relief. However, this might not soothe a common cold.

3. Proper Hydration

It is always a good idea to drink plenty of water, and some people say that this helps reduce nasal congestion.

However, experts have found no evidence to suggest that drinking additional fluids can help relieve symptoms, and they advise people to consume only what is comfortable.

Warm infusions or lemon drinks can have a soothing effect.

4. Decongestion

Decongestants cause the small blood vessels in the nose to narrow. This decreases the swelling in the lining of the nose and reduces the feeling of stuffiness.

People should not use decongestants for longer than a week, as long-term use can actually worsen congestion.

Anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, glaucoma, or another condition should ask a doctor if it is safe to use decongestants. They are not suitable for children under 6 years of age, and they may not be suitable during pregnancy.

Telfast D is a potent decongestant; it contains Fexofenadine HCl for immediate-release and Pseudoephedrine HCl for extended-release.

5. Eucalyptus oil

It comes from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree.

Certain components in eucalyptus oil may have healing properties and it acts as an antibacterial agent, an anti-inflammatory, a pain reliever and as a sedative

Inhaling eucalyptus in steam or through a diffuser may help reduce nasal symptoms.43


41. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/symptoms/stuffy-or-runny-nose-adult Last visited on 16th July 2021

42. https://entofwarrensburg.com/stuffy-nose-treatment Last visited on 16th July 2021

43. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313808#steam-inhalation Last visited on 16th July 2021