As the dry, frigid, winter weather continues, stuffy noses are sticking around. The constant sniffling, nose blowing, and puffy face can all become draining, to say the least. And struggling to breathe morning and night isn’t just an inconvenience; it can make you feel exhausted 24/7 and contribute to sleep apnea. However, you don’t have to live in misery or rely on OTC medications, which provide only temporary relief. Try out these DIY tricks to cure a stuffy nose and open up those nasal passages, ASAP.
To improve your sense of smell, try a cinnamon steam.
Breathing in any sort of steam will help loosen mucus in your nasal passages and lungs, and adding a touch of cinnamon will help reinvigorate your sense of smell. To do: Fill your slow cooker two-thirds of the way up with water. Then, stir in 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and set the appliance to “low” with the lid off. Sit by your DIY steamer for 10 to 15 minutes, breathing deeply.
To drain your nasal passages anywhere, try this massage technique.
A gentle facial rub stimulates the sinuses to clear congestion fast, says Naresh Rao, DO. To do: Massage between the eyebrows in a light stroking motion. Then, move toward the temples and glide your thumbs from the bridge of the nose down to the cheeks. Repeat these steps five times.
To ease facial puffiness, try a warm compress with eucalyptus oil.
Never underestimate the power of a warm compress. The soothing heat will provide you with instant relief, and a few dabs of eucalyptus oil on the lower end of the compress (where your nose is) will help reinvigorate your sinuses and reduce inflammation. Just be careful not to dab the oil all over the washcloth — you don’t want any of it getting near your eyes. Sit with warm compress on your face for 10 minutes.
For a better night’s sleep, try a shower steamer.
Taking a hot shower in the evening is one of the best things you can do for a stuffy nose. Simply showering in hot water is therapeutic, and the steam helps to improve your breathing. To open up your nasal passages even more, consider buying a simple shower steamer, which releases herbs in the presence of warm steam. One we like: Cleverfy Shower Steamers (Buy a pack of 6 from Amazon, $17.99).
To ease symptoms on the go, bring along this spritz.
Purified dead sea salt dissolved in water, then sprayed into each nostril, decreases the inflammation that makes it hard to breathe. Otolaryngologist Scott Cordray, DO, credits the salt’s magnesium and potassium for the benefit. While you can make your own DIY sea salt spray using a standard spritzer, we recommend buying one as the container will be sterile. One we like: Nasova Saline Nasal Spray with Natural Dead Sea Salt (Buy from Amazon, $6.95).
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.