If you have asthma or allergies like I do, then you’re probably desperate for some nasal congestion relief, just like I was.
My nasal issues are all about congestion. It happens most often at night and will usually shift from one nostril to the other seemingly at random.
And it’s not just a nuisance. Nasal congestion can lead to more symptoms of asthma and make them more severe.
In this post I’ll cover the link between nasal congestion and asthma, plus go over several approaches to fixing it, including a simple way to unblock your nose right now without medicine (pretty cool!). Let’s jump in!
Understanding Nasal Issues & Asthma
How does nasal congestion make asthma worse? It’s really not that complicated. We think of breathing as something we do with our mouths, but it’s really something we should ONLY be doing with our noses.
Our noses are out best natural weapons against asthma and allergies. They warm and moisten the air we breathe, making the air that eventually gets to our lungs feel soothing rather than cold and dry.
All that moisture also catches dust and other irritants before they reach our sensitive lung and throat tissue. In this way our noses filter out harmful toxins and allergens that trigger asthma.
So as you can see, your nose acts like an air-purifier, humidifier and heater all at the same time. You can see why it’s critical that we use it all times.
Unfortunately, when the nose is blocked due to congestion, we default to mouth breathing.
And mouth breathing with asthma is like walking into a burning building without a gas mask – and it can make your nasal issues much worse.
Sooner or later, if you’re always breathing through your mouth, you’re going to feel the effects of breathing in all the allergens and pollutants out there. These are harmful to everyone, but we asthmatics have sensitive immune systems that will be set off without proper care.
There’s a well established link between those who have asthma and those with nasal symptoms like congestion and runniness. Unfortunately for us, this means people with asthma are more likely to experience nasal conditions that make it difficult to breathe and our asthma worse.
Learn more about about the link between mouth breathing and asthma, plus a simple way to treat your asthma symptoms at night here (it’s life changing!). Otherwise, let’s go over how to fight all that runniness so life can get better!
Get Nasal Congestion Relief
So if you can’t breathe through your nose it’s blocked, what should you do?
There are several approaches to treating nasal issues. The most common is to simply take a nasal decongestant spray like Afrin. But please – this is something you most definitely should NOT do!
Nasal decongestants work in the moment, but they can actually make your nasal symptoms WORSE in the long run. In other words, with regular decongstant spray use you’ll soon find your nose is runnier and more blocked than it was before
(Note that using too much nasal decongestant is similar to rescue puffer abuse – where the more you use your puffer, the more you need it. See how I was able to stop taking my rescue puffer here).
So what does work for treating nasal congestion that won’t make your symptoms worse in the long term?
It’s best to take a natural approach to fighting nasal symptoms. That’s why I recommend the following for anyone suffering from nasal congestion or other issues.
First, keep your nose clean. That means using something like a saline spray or a Neti pot to keep the insides of your nose moist and clean.
I personally use a Neti pot every morning during my shower. The warm water and saline solution flush out anything from the night before, keeping my nose clean and clear throughout the day.
Second, learn how to unblock your nose.
My favorite natural method for clearing a clogged or blocked nose comes from the Buteyko method. The Buteyko method was developed in the Soviet Union to treat asthma without expensive medicines not available outside of the West. It emphasizes breathing techniques which take advantage of our body’s own mechanisms for fighting inflammation, etc.
I like Buteyko because whether or not you subscribe to the entire method, you can still take advantage of some of their simple tips, like this one.
Here’s how to clear your nose naturally using the Buteyko Method:
- Sit up straight.
- Close your mouth and pinch your nose while holding your breath.
- Rock your body gently back and forth until you feel a strong need for air.
- Breathe in and out slowly through the nose try to remain as relaxed as possible.
- Repeat this exercise until your nose is unblocked.
And that’s it! It may take several tries at first, and this might not work if you’re super severely blocked. But I find it’s enough to keep my nose happy most of the time. You can learn more about using Buteyko to fight asthma here.
Third, give your nose a leg up at night. The simplest way to do this is to follow my main tip for dealing with asthma at night – find it here (hint: it’s going to ensure you only breathe through your nose!).
You might also get a bit of relief from using nasal strips at night. I find they’re not too pricey on Amazon, or you can see how to make your own nasal strips and save a little more money here.
What If Your Nose Is Still Blocked?
Sometimes you need a little extra help to keep your nose clean and clear, especially if your nose has been chronically congested for a long time.
If you suffer from allergies, as most asthmatics do, you may find it beneficial to use an over the counter nasal allergy spray like Nasacort of Flonase. These can help control the inflammation in the nose and sinuses and let you breathe better.
Over the counter allergy pills work in a similar way and may be helpful as well.
It’s always helpful to talk to your doctor if you are suffering from chronic congestion of are considering taking new medication. You might also want to ask your doctor to have a look for any kind of physical blockages in the nose like Polyps. These will impede your breathing and need to be removed surgically.
I hope this guide to getting nasal congestion relief gives you a little, well, relief! Like always, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments below if you have any questions.