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How To Clear Out Sinuses When You Have a Stuffy Nose

Nasal or sinus congestion can happen for many reasons, from allergies to the common cold. However, a stuffy nose can bring a lot of discomfort. There are several ways to clear out your sinuses and relieve sinus pressure in case of a cold. In this guide, let us explore some of the best available solutions.

Conditions That May Cause a Stuffy Nose

There are many conditions and diseases that can result in a stuffy nose. Some of the most common causes may include:

  • Acute sinusitis, sinus infection, or sinus pain
  • Common cold, flu, or viral infection
  • Deviated septum
  • Rhinitis or allergic rhinitis
  • Nasal polyps
  • Exposure to allergens such as animal dander, pollen and dust
  • Tobacco or cigarette smoke, fragrances or other irritants
  • Enlarged adenoids
  • Medications used for high blood pressure
  • Structural problems in the neck and head, which make nasal breathing difficult
  • Humidity and temperature changes, such as cold winters or forced heating in the air
  • Supplemental oxygen usage
  • Pregnancy

How to Diagnose Nasal Congestion?

doctor discussing congestion

A physician can diagnose a case of nasal congestion depending on a proper physical exam as well as your symptoms. Physical examination involves checking your ears, nose, and throat to understand the exact cause of nose stuffiness.

A flexible light called an endoscope is usually used to examine the nose. In certain cases, CT scans may be necessary in case physical obstructions are found in the nose. Sometimes, a doctor may recommend x-rays as well as throat cultures to determine substances present at the back of your throat, if there is a sore throat, as well as eliminate any other medical issues that may be resulting in congestion.

Common Remedies for Stuffy Sinuses

Clear Out Sinuses When You Have a Stuffy Nose

Inhaling Steam

If you have a congested nose, then a home remedy such as steam inhalation can be very useful. Steam inhalation has not been medically reviewed as a viable treatment, but has been found to produce relief. Taking a hot shower also has a similar effect as taking a steam inhalation.

Try the following steps:

  • Carefully boil water and transfer it to a bowl once cooled slightly
  • Add peppermint oil or eucalyptus oil
  • Make sure the water is not too hot
  • Place the bowl or container of water on a flat surface, and place a towel over yourself and the bowl to capture the steam

The moisture and warmth from the steam soothe the nasal passages.

Nasal Saline Sprays

Saline sprays can help reduce tissue inflammation within the nose, and can also curb the stuffiness. Using a nasal spray or saline spray for nasal irrigation has shown a positive effect on anyone having nasal congestion. This is especially the case for persons that have chronic sinusitis. You can easily prepare a saline solution using the standard ratio of hot water and salt.

Most nasal sprays do not contain added allergy medication and hence are safe to use, even during pregnancy. You can purchase saline sprays online as well as over the counter medications. These provide a suitable irrigation solution for clearing out nasal passages.

Neti Pots

You might wonder are neti pots safe? Yes! Neti pots are one of the time-tested home remedies that are fairly effective at flushing the sinuses out. They can also reduce sinus pressure and relieve dryness in nasal passages. You can use a neti pot as an irrigation device and introduce a saline or salt water mix solution. This helps to moisturize the nostrils and flush them out as well.

It is important to follow these steps to prevent risk of infection:

  • Make sure to use sterile water or distilled water or water that has been boiled as well as cooled previously.
  • Do not use tap water as it can contain bacteria.
  • Follow device instructions carefully.
  • Make sure to wash and clean the neti pot when it is not being used.
  • Ensure to wash your hands and dry them thoroughly before using the neti pot.
  • You should consult with your healthcare professional if you are immunocompromised or have other underlying conditions

Warm Compress

Using warm compresses can relieve the pain associated with nasal congestion. It does this because heat helps increase circulation within the sinuses, loosening up whatever is causing the congestion.

Follow these steps to make a warm compress:

  • Soak any clean washcloth in warm water.
  • Ensure the water is not too hot.
  • Wring out excess water from the washcloth.
  • Then apply this warm wet towel to the forehead or nose.

Eucalyptus Oil

eucalyptus oil for sinus congestion

The eucalyptus tree produces eucalyptus oil, which has been used for various medicinal cases through the years.

Eucalyptus oil has been shown to possess the following beneficial properties:

  • Antibacterial properties
  • Pain reliever
  • Anti inflammatory agent
  • Nasal congestion relief


In some cases allergic reactions can result in a stuffy or runny nose, as well as sinus pressure and pain. Many allergy medications contain antihistamines, which can block this reaction.

Adults who have the common cold can also take an antihistamine to reduce the severity of the symptoms.

There are many options to purchase antihistamines online. However, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional. At our Florida Sinus & Snoring Specialists, we have a team of highly trained specialists who can guide you on the best mode of treatment depending on your unique needs.

Make sure to always go through the package directions and beware of any side effects. In certain cases, allergy medications have been known to cause drowsiness so you should not drive when taking antihistamines. Check the label for more information about side effects.


Decongestants affect the blood vessels within the nose, which decreases the inflammation and swelling on the inside lining. This reduces the feeling of nasal congestion or stuffiness.

Some side effects of using decongestants include headaches, rapid heart rate, as well as dry mouth. Dr. Lee at our Florida Sinus & Snoring Specialists can assist you with the best and safest mode of treatment depending on your medical history.


Using a humidifier in a room can help add moisture to the air, which can provide relief to a congested or stuffy nose. The humidifier can form warm or cool mist that produces moist air and can help with congestion relief.

Make sure to keep your humidifier clean and dry. Always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to prevent formation or mold or bacteria.


Many doctors advise people to drink lots of water each day, and there is a reason for that. Apart from the fact that water helps flush out toxins from the body, it also helps keep mucous looser which can relieve nasal congestion.

Try not to gulp down water all at once, as this will have no effect. Instead, make sure to sip on water throughout the day to stay properly hydrated.

Other Modes of Relief

hot tea as a home remedy for congestion

There are various other tips and tricks that can help to temporarily relieve a stuffy nose:

  • Placing light pressure on the bridge of your nose, using the index finger and thumb
  • Massaging your sinuses gently with your fingers is beneficial. The sinus pressure can relieve symptoms
  • Hot herbal tea such as ginger or peppermint
  • Adhesive strips

Consult With a Top-Rated Sinus Infection Specialist for Treatments That Work

At Florida Sinus & Snoring Specialists, we have a dedicated team led by board-certified otolaryngologist Dr. Lee Mandel. The care team at South Florida Sinus & Allergy center doesn’t just treat the symptoms, they address the root cause. Each member of our staff will take the time to understand your unique needs and the customized treatment plan that it requires.

Call us at 954-983-1211 to request an appointment today.