The first thing to do is to find out what is causing the problem. That is easily done in the case of a common cold or flu but diagnosing the problem can be harder when the congestion lasts longer. In this case it is vitally important to seek a doctor’s advice and self – medication is probably not the best solution. To relieve the pain caused by nasal congestion , the first thing to do, particularly in winter, is to humidify your premises and flush out your nasal pathways and/or humidify the mucus with hydro – saline solutions. This helps clean the nasal cavity to get rid of any bacteria or other irritants. The high concentrations of salt found in certain solutions can also reduce the swelling of the mucus. If that does not work, medication may be taken. The most common types are : vasoconstrictors, cortisones and antihistamines.
Nasal vasoconstrictors, commonly referred to as “nasal decongestants”, can help treat nasal congestion. Decongestants act on the dilated blood vessels of the inflamed nasal mucus reducing them in size (vasoconstriction). This relieves the congestion and makes breathing easier for a while. Due to how they work, they should not be used for long periods. Particularly in the case of patients suffering from cardiovascular illnesses (especially people with high blood pressure), they should only be taken on a doctor’s advice. Children under the age of twelve should not use vasoconstrictors and pregnant women or women who are lactating should only do so with their doctor’s consent.
Cortisones reduce inflammation by blocking both the causes of inflammation and the increased activity of the immune system triggered off by the allergy. They are prescribed by doctors and are an important remedy for allergies.
Antihistamines block the effects of histamine, one of the most common causes of allergies. They act rapidly to reduce the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Often used in conjunction with nasal sprays.