Congested airways can be caused by a number of issues, including a sinus infection, the common cold, allergies or the flu. The resulting congestion can be painful and uncomfortable, and can make hearing, and sometimes sleeping difficult. Home remedies can help you open these airways and allow for easy breathing.
According to the National Library of Medicine, nasal congestion is caused by inflamed blood vessels which release extra fluid into the tissues. These tissues then become swollen, creating the feeling of congestion. The purpose of home remedies when treating congested airways is to help decrease this tissue swelling as well as decreasing mucus production, and to help your body loosen and drain the mucus.
The Mayo Clinic encourages the use of nasal irrigation, which involves using a saline solution to rinse the swollen nasal tissues. The solution cleans the nasal passages, reduces the swelling and helps clear excess mucus.
Drinking extra liquids can loosen mucus and allow it to be eliminated, according to the National Library of Medicine. Drink plenty of water as well as other liquids, such as juices, warm tea, broth and soups. Avoid beverages with caffeine that will remove water from your body.
Breathing humidified air can help ease the pain and deal with the congestion. The National Library of Medicine recommends using a vaporizer or humidifier. Additionally, steam your bathroom with a hot shower and breathe the moistened air.
A warm compress can help relieve congestion and pain. Use a warm, wet washcloth or a heating pad.
Uses With Children
Since infants are unable to breath through their mouth during the first few months of their life, it's important to ensure that their nasal passages are clear. Methods of humidified air, warm compresses and nasal irrigation are safe to use with young children. Congested airways often worsen when children are laying down, and to help them sleep try elevating their head with extra pillows.
Home remedies offer several advantages over other solutions for congested airways. Common over-the-counter medicines include decongestants and antihistamines. The National Library of Medicine states that decongestants may be effective, but can make the congestion worse if used for more than three days. Additionally, they are not recommended for young children. Antihistamines can cause a reduced level of consciousness which makes daily functioning difficult. Home remedies are safe and easy, and are free or significantly lower in cost than over-the-counter medicines.
Be sure to consult your health care provider if you have other underlying physical conditions that compromise your health. The University of Rochester advises that you see your doctor if you experience blurred vision, spots on your tonsils or throat, yellow, gray or blood-tinged mucus, your sinuses are tender or you experience a fever that is greater than 101 degrees F for more than two days. Additionally, if your child is younger than two months and has a fever, or if your infant is having difficulty feeding or breathing, the Mayo Clinic recommends taking her to your doctor.