How to Get Rid of a Stuffed-Up Nose

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Getting rid of a stuffed-up nose involves finding out why your nose is stuffed in the first place. Learn how to get rid of a stuffed-up nose with help from a health expert in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Cold-Weather Sickness Remedies
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we're going to talk about how to get rid of a stuffed up nose. Now, we're assuming this is your nose, and you can't get rid of your nose permanently, that's very ill advised, so you want to keep your nose, but you want to get rid of the stuffiness in your nose. How can we do that? Well, part of it depends on why your nose is stuffed up. There are three main reasons that we see stuffy noses, number one is you're allergic to something. How do you know it's an allergy? Well, your nose will probably itch, you may have eye itching, and you may be able to identify what gives you the allergy, is it a dog, a cat, somebody smoking, being in a dusty environment, a particular season of the year, you may have a trigger. If you do have allergies, the best thing to do to get rid of your nose, well get rid of your stuffy nose, keep your nose, is to use a antihistamine, probably the easiest are Serterazine or Zyrtec or Loratadine or Claritin. Those medicines can be effective. When they're not working, you might talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for a nasal inhaled Corticosteroid something like Flonase or Nasonex that you can squirt up into your nose that tends to be very effective allergy relief. Now, what if you have a cold? Well, the good news about a cold is it's going to go away within ten to fourteen days. The bad news is it may make you really miserable while you're waiting for it to go away. One thing you can do for that is to use a neti pot to introduce normal saline into the nose. You can make your own saline with one teaspoon of salt and two cups of water. You put it in this thing that looks like a Genie's lantern, you tip your head sideways and pour that thing up into your upper nostril, let it wash around in there, do it from the other side and that will give you some relief from your congestion while you are waiting for the cold to get better. You can also use nasal decongestant sprays such as Afrin, however, a word of caution with the nasal decongestant sprays, if you use them more than two or three days in a row, it can be very hard to stop using them. The nerves and sensors inside the nose get used to having the chemical from that medicine in there and when it goes away, your nose stuffs up really badly. So, you really want to limit yourself to just two or three days of use with nasal decongestant sprays. Thirdly, you can use an over-the-counter decongestant such as Phenylephrine or Pseudoephedrine. We do not recommend these medications for children. We don't think they work and they do have some potential nasty side effects. For adults, they may be a little bit more effective and the side effects may be less, but they're not dramatically effective for most people. The good news is, however, if it's a cold you're going to get better. Now, what if you have a sinus infection, maybe you started with cold symptoms and you got a prolonged fever or you got severe pain in your face or you had symptoms that did not get better after a 10 to 14 day period. Well now, it's time to talk to a doctor. He or she may prescribe antibiotics. How well antibiotics actually work to cure sinusitis in adults is very controversial. In children, hey do seem to be at least somewhat helpful. So, talking about how to get rid of the stuffiness in your nose, I'm Dr. David Hill.


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