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How to Cure a Blocked/Stuffy Nose

Updated on April 9, 2020

How to cure a blocked/stuffy nose

As a teacher, I regularly catch colds and other bugs. Generally, they're not particularly bad and I can work through them, but sometimes I get hit by a heavy cold and end up with an extremely runny nose. After a day or two this then turns into a blocked/stuffy nose with all the associated problems such as headaches, breathing difficulties, dry mouth from having to breathe through the mouth all the time etc. So I devised a method to get rid of them. This helps every time and is very easy to do.

Photo courtesy of Get Smart - wikimedia commons


1. Eat something spicy

Eating something spicy will get your nose running and help to clear it out. This is because spicy foods contain the chemical 'capsaicin' which causes inflammation of the nerves in your nose, hence causing more mucus production which in turns leads to an increase in drainage action in the nasal passages. This increased drainage action helps get rid of the blockage, but without the possible side effects of taking a medical decongestant such as Lemsip or Sudafed.

Warning: Don't overdo it with the spice though. There's no point making yourself feel worse. Don't eat anything more spicy than you would usually eat on an adventurous day.

Photo of spicy food courtesy of Infrogmation - wikimedia commons

2. Have a hot bath with menthol vapours

Having a hot bath is great when you have a blocked nose. The hot water vapour gets up your nose, widening your nasal passages and increasing drainage. To make it even more effective, while the bath is running I put a teaspoon of Vick's vapour rub in the sink and pour in a full kettle of boiling water. Then I keep the door shut and allow the vapours from the bath and the sink to fill the air.

This is by far the most effective nose unblocking method for me. After a couple of minutes in the bath I can feel everything shifting. Keep some tissues handy for when you feel the blockage moving.

3. Drink plenty of fluid

Keeping hydrated helps thin the mucus in your nose, making it easier to remove and less likely to block you up. Drinking hot drinks can be good, as you can then breathe in the vapours to keep your nasal passages moist.

4. Get an early night while using a vapour rub

Make sure you get plenty of sleep. This helps aid your body's natural recovery. Before you go to bed, get out the Vicks rub again and rub some into your chest and/or neck. This makes it close enough to your nose, but not so close to your eyes that it will irritate them.

Warning: Never put Vicks on your top lip. It's a horrible feeling which doesn't go when you wash the Vicks away.

Did this clear your blocked nose?

Hopefully if you've read this lens, you'll give my method a go next time you have a blocked/stuffy nose. Did it work for you?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2014 David


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