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  • Writer's pictureIEP Urgent Care

Finding Relief from Nasal Congestion

woman suffering from severe nasal congestion

This is peak season for cold, flu, RSV, COVID, and winter allergies that can cause nasal congestion. If you aren't feeling well, IEP Urgent Care offers on-site diagnostics so that we can determine and prescribe the best treatment option for your illness.

One of the many side effects of these winter illnesses is nasal congestion. Without getting into too much detail, your body does produce a certain amount of post nasal drip all the time. It's normal and you don't notice it. If you want the details, here's an article from Prevention magazine on how to stop post-nasal drip.

When you have a cold, flu, COVID, winter allergies, or a sinus infection, your body is producing more mucus than normal. Sometimes much more than normal. Acid reflux can also contribute to a higher than normal production of mucus.

Here are some steps you can take to lessen the symptoms of excessive nasal congestion:

Identify the source - Eliminate/control your exposure

Congestion caused by a common cold should ease after 3-4 days but If your symptoms persist or become more serious, we have the onsite diagnostics at every IEP Urgent Care so that we can determine your best course of treatment.

Use the correct medication based on your symptoms

If you have a common cold, using a nasal decongestant can help alleviate your symptoms. But be sure to use these products sparingly, and only for a few days. Persistent use of nasal decongestants can lead to a "rebound effect."

Use a saline nasal rinse or neti pot to relive nasal congestion

A nasal rinse or neti pot is a safe and effective way to bring temporary relief from nasal congestion. According to a recent article in the New York Times, a substantial amount of medical research confirms that, when administered correctly, using a neti pot is both safe and effective. You can pick up a neti pot online or at any local drugstore. Fill it with a saline solution made with distilled water, tilt your head, and pour the spot through one nostril and it flushes out the mucous and other irritants that are causing discomfort and difficulty breathing out the other.

Always use distilled water when using a neti pot. There have been many instances of infections caused by using regular tap water, but if you always use distilled water, you are safe. Some local drugstores now offer a product called a Micro-Filtered Sinus Wash System that has a built-in water filter that meets CDC recommendations for sinus washing with tap water. You can also boil tap water for three to five minutes and let it cool before using.” Before using a neti pot for the first time, here’s a step by step guide from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for making saline solution with distilled water.


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