Nasal congestion and stuffiness is discomforting, if not painful. It can interrupt your sleep patterns. It can disrupt your work and make you feel miserable. The good news is you do not have to suffer from it.

Colds, sinusitis and allergies can cause nasal congestion and pressure in your sinuses. Nasal congestion can cause cough, headache, sinusitis, and mucus production. When the membranes in your nasal passage are inflamed, they become irritated. The key to feeling better is to keep your nasal passages clear and moist. Allowing nasal passages to be inflamed irritates mucus membranes.

Keep your nasal passages moist by trying these:

  • Use a humidifier, but keep humidity less than 45%
  • Take long showers-preferably with hot water to create steam
  • Drink plenty of fluids to thin out the mucus
  • Try a warm compress on your face to help open nasal passage
  • Keep your head elevated and use a couple pillows at night while lying down
  • Skip chlorinated pools if possible-the chlorine can irritate nasal passages
  • Nasal saline sprays and Ayr Nasal Gel
  • Nasal saline rinses with NeilMed bottles are recommended

Saline irrigations are a common way to relieve nasal congestion and sinus pressure.

Neti pots are a teapot-like container, while the NeilMed is a spray bottle. Many people wonder what they are, how they work and if there are any side effects. Saline rinses are a basic salt and water mixture (boiled, sterile and distilled water help protect your nasal passages), which goes in one nostril and drains out the other. The mucus thins and is removed from the nasal passage, while the cilia (hair-like structures on the nasal membranes) shift back and forth to remove allergens and other irritants. Depending on how severe your symptoms are, saline irrigations can be used twice daily. Side effects include irritation, stinging and nose bleeds (rare). Research shows that only 10% of frequent users experience these. A few adjustments, such as amount of salt, temperature of water, and frequency can reduce side effects. These can be found at most stores and run between $10-20.

If you are experiencing nasal congestion and sinus pressure, speak with your physician or see an Allergy and Asthma specialist. There are many treatment options available to fit your needs.