Aaron Sta Maria
Written by Aaron Sta Maria

Reviewed by Tjai Kang Jie

Covid-Related Symptoms: How to Relieve a Stuffy Nose and Other Problems

A stuffy nose is a common symptom of COVID and the common cold. Here are some tips

Asian couple having a cold and blowing nose in a paper tissue

There probably isn’t a single person who hasn’t been bogged down by a stuffy nose yet. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has ensured that most of the world’s population has suffered this irritating symptom. A stuffy or congested nose is caused by inflammation and swelling of the lining of the nose.

Viruses and allergies are most likely to cause this. You may also experience a “runny nose” or nasal discharge. When the excess mucus trickles down the back of your throat, it may add a cough or sore throat to your problems. 

A stuffy nose will generally clear without any treatment within a week. But you do not have to suffer the agony for as long. Follow our tips to get rid of a stuffy nose quickly.

How to Get Rid of a Stuffy Nose 

Woman inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water
Steam inhalation is a good remedy for a stuffy nose.

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines 

To get quick relief from a stuffy nose, you can take these medicines available at pharmacies without having to go through a doctor. However, note that these need to be taken strictly according to the dosage mentioned. Your pharmacist can help you make the right choice. You can try: 

  • Decongestants – These medicines shrink and dry up the nasal passages, which helps to dry up a runny or stuffy nose 
  • Antihistamines – These medicines treat allergy symptoms such as itchy nose, eyes and rashes. However, they also cause drowsiness as a side effect.  
  • Nasal sprays – These sprays can relieve your stuffy nose in a wink. But do not use them frequently or for more than three days in a row, unless advised by your doctor. 

Steam inhalation 

Holding your head above a steaming bowl of water or having a hot shower helps ease congestion. For an even better experience, add a few drops of chamomile or peppermint oil to the water. The warmth of the steam decongests the membranes inside the nose and provides temporary relief. 

Saline sprays 

Saline sprays are safe to use, have no side effects and are easily available over the counter in pharmacies. The salt solution helps to reduce inflammation, relieves the stuffiness and is safe to use during pregnancy and for young kids.

Neti pots 

Neti pots help to relieve dry nasal passages. When used with a saline solution, it can help flush out and moisten the nostrils. But do take care to use only distilled, sterile, or previously boiled and cooled water. 

Eucalyptus oil 

Eucalyptus oil has healing properties and has been used for its medicinal effects since time immemorial. The oil contains antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and sedative components. Add a few drops of this healing oil to your diffuser to relieve a stuffy nose, or use it with your steam inhalation. If you don’t want to go through the trouble, sprinkle a few drops on a handkerchief and smell it throughout the day. 

Herbal remedies 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been used to relieve the symptoms of colds and fever since ancient times” says physician Ignatius Ooi. He advises using TCM medicines that help to eliminate heat and dispel toxins for symptoms associated with the common cold. He recommends kang du qing fei pills to help with mild cold symptoms such as nasal congestion and sore throat.

Acupressure for a stuffy nose

“Acupressure is an easy way to relieve a stuffy nose at home. Just massage the appropriate acupoint for five minutes, three times a day,” says physician Ooi. He recommends the following acupressure points for nasal congestion: 

  • Ying xiang (LI20, 迎香) – located in the nasolabial groove, at the level of the midpoint of the lateral border of the nose 
  • Ying tang (HN3, 印堂) – situated at the centre between the inner ends of the eyebrows 
  • He gu (LI4, 合谷) – located between the base of your thumb and index finger.  

For discomfort in the throat, Physician Ooi recommends the following acupoints: 

  • Yu ji (LU10, 魚際) – located on the outer aspect of the midpoint of the first bone of the thumb 
  • He gu (LI4, 合谷) – located between the base of your thumb and index finger 
  • Tai xi (KI3, 太溪) – located on the inner side of the ankle, behind the bony prominence. 
  • Zhao hai (KI6, 照海)- located on the inner side of the ankle, in the depression below the bony prominence. 

Stuffy noses generally get relieved with these home remedies. However, if your symptoms persist, it is advisable to consult your doctor. Contact your doctor to rule out a bacterial infection or other complications if you also have facial pain, pain in the ear, green coloured mucus, fever, headache, coughing or tightness in the chest. 

Newborn Stuffy Nose  

A mother cleaning a baby’s nose with nasal aspirator
The nasal aspirator is a saviour if you have a baby with a stuffy nose

A stuffy nose is a common complaint in newborns and babies. As babies’ immune system is not well developed, they are prone to colds in the early years. Here is how you can provide relief from a stuffy nose for your baby. 

Make your own saline solution for your baby with a quarter teaspoon of table salt and half a cup of lukewarm boiled water. Lay the child on his back and instil two to three drops of the saline solution into each nostril. After about 30 seconds, turn the baby onto the belly and allow the mucus and fluids to drain. You can also use an infant nasal bulb or aspirator to aspirate the secretions.

Provide your child with plenty of warm fluids and water. You can also try using a cool-mist vaporiser in your child’s room at night or raise the head of your child’s bed at night. Do not use OTC medicines in children under six years unless prescribed by your doctor. 

Next time you have a cold, use these home remedies to relieve a stuffy nose. Make the best use of traditional medicines and ancient wisdom to combat the colds.

References

  1. Mount Sinai. Stuff or runny nose. [online] [Accessed on 15 April, 2022] 
  2. Medical News Today. 10 tips for getting rid of a stuffy nose. [online] [Accessed on 15 April 2022] 

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