Whether you’ve got a winter cold or you’re experiencing seasonal allergies, we talk you through how to ease congestion

This article is sponsored by Sudafed

Having a blocked nose can be uncomfortable and disruptive, but there are lots of ways you can help to ease your symptoms. Read on to find out more about the causes of congestion and what you can do to help.

What causes nasal congestion?

There are a few different things that can lead to a blocked nose, the most common include:

• Colds

• Sinus infections

• Upper respiratory tract infections, including colds and flu, which affect the sinuses and throat and can cause inflammation of the nasal passages

• Allergies including seasonal allergies like hay fever

How long does nasal congestion last?

• The length of time that nasal congestion lasts depends on what caused it in the first place.

• If your nasal congestion is from an infection like a cold, it’s likely that your blocked nose will last as long as your cold, which could be one to two weeks.

• Sinus infections generally get better within two to three weeks. If your symptoms do not get better after a week, if your symptoms worsen or if you keep getting sinus infections, go to see your GP.

•If your congestion is because of an allergy, your symptoms can last longer, depending on your exposure to that allergen and on what treatment is being used. 

How to ease congestion?

There are a few different things you can try when experiencing congestion that may help to relieve it.

1. Have a hot shower

The steam given off when you have a hot shower can help to loosen mucus and relieve the symptoms of congestion. You can also inhale steam by placing hot water in a bowl, placing a towel over your head, and leaning over the bowl. The steam is trapped by the towel, enabling it to build up so that you can inhale it. Ensure you take care when doing this, and avoid direct contact with the hot water.

2. Use a humidifier

Humidifiers break water down into micro particles that gradually increase humidity levels in the air. Similar to inhaling steam, breathing in airwith a higher humidity content may soothe irritated noses.

3. Drink plenty of water

Making sure you drink plenty of fluids can help if you’re experiencing a cold or flu. Maintaining good hydration levels can help to thin the mucus in your nose, which enables you to expel mucus more easily, helping to relieve the congestion. 

4. Use a saline spray

Saline spray products, which contain a saltwater solution, can help to add moisture to dry nasal passages, which can help with inflammation. You can also get saline spray products that are designed for babies and children, which can be a good way of reducing nasal congestion for them.

5. Use products containing menthol

Products with menthol can be used to help give the sensation of easier breathing, so although they don’t directly reduce your congestion, they can make you feel slightly more comfortable. Menthol products include things like inhaler sticks, chest rubs, and tissues infused with menthol.

6. Consider taking an allergy medication

If your congestion symptoms are caused by allergies, a medicine to treat the symptoms of allergies, such as antihistamines or a nasal spray for allergies, may provide relief if suitable for you. If you’re not sure what’s right for you, check out the Boots guide to which antihistamine medication you can take or the Boots allergy and hay fever advice hub for more information. You can also visit us in store to talk to a pharmacist.

7. Considering using a decongestant

Another way of helping to ease your congestion is to use decongestant medication, if suitable for you. Decongestants work by reducing the swelling of blood vessels in your nose, to help open up your airways. They can help to provide short-term relief of symptoms of colds, flu, and allergies. Check with your GP or pharmacist to check they are suitable for you, especially if you're taking any other medication, or you have a medical condition or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Consider: Sudafed Decongestant Tablets – 12 Tablets

Contains Pseudoephedrine Hydrochloride. Always read the label. Not suitable for children under 12 years old.

Sudafed Decongestant Tablets can help to unblock nasal congestion and clear catarrh, giving unbeatable strength congestion relief.*

Consider: Sudafed Sinus Max Strength - 16 Capsules

Contains paracetamol. Do not take alongside any other paracetamol-containing products. Always read the label. Not suitable for children under 16 years old. You should talk to your doctor if you do not feel better or if you feel worse after three days.

Sudafed Sinus Max Strength Capsules help to relieve the symptoms of pain and congestion, caused by sinusitis, including a stuffy nose, blocked sinuses, headache, fever and aches and pains.

Consider: Sudafed Sinus Pressure & Pain 200mg/30mg Tablets - 12 Tablets

Contains pseudoephedrine & Ibuprofen. Always read the label. Not suitable for those under 15 years old. Talk to a doctor if symptoms worsen, or if you require this medicine for more than four days (adults) or three days (adolescents 15 years and older).

Sudafed Sinus Pressure & Pain Tablets work to relieve nasal congestion when you’re experiencing a head cold together with headache or fever.

*For verification, please visit https://www.cc-consumercarecenter.com/UCUConfiguration?id=a075800001645pJ