Have you ever wondered what you can do by yourself to treat an acutely stuffy, runny nose?
Take an Antihistamine
The first thing you can do is you can use an antihistamine. That's something like Claritin or Allegra or Zyrtec. These medications will help decongest you if you have any allergy issues and prevent histamine from being released.
Try a Salt Water Rinse
The second thing that I always recommend patients do is consider something like a salt water rinse. You don't have to use neti pot or something with a ton of water, even a mist is good. The idea behind a saline rinse or saltwater rinse, is it loosens up the mucus so that you can blow your nose and get some of that stuff out and that's going to help you feel better.
Use Over-the-Counter Medication
The last two things are things that you can use sometimes, but I don't want you to use them all the time. The first one is something like Sudafed. Sudafed is an over-the-counter medication. That's going to help your blood vessels constrict, and it's going to help your nose feel a little bit less congested.
Now, if you're pregnant or if you have high blood pressure, you should definitely talk to your doctor before using these. But in general, these medications are pretty safe. And the other thing is something called Afrin or oxymetazoline.
Use a Nasal Spray
Now Afrin and oxymetazoline is essentially a liquid version of Sudafed that you can spray directly into your nasal passage. By spraying this in your nose, what happens is it actually makes your nose shrink a little bit, or the tissues inside your nose shrink so you can breathe better.
This is a medication that's okay to use for one or two days, but we certainly don't want you to use it for more than three days. Since over time, your nose can actually become addicted to it. And that becomes an issue. If you take an anti-histamine a saltwater rinse, a little bit of Afrin and decongestant. In general, most of the time you'll feel better, at least acutely when your nose is really stuffy.
Talk To a Specialist
Now, if this is something that happens to you all the time, it's probably worth talking to a specialist like an ENT or an allergist. And so if you have any issues, we'd love to help you.