Nasal Congestion

Breathing clearly is something we don’t think about until it is affected.  Take in a slow, deep breath first thing in the morning for a great start to the day.  Clear breathing is calming, keeps you energized, and feeds the cells of your body.


Having a stuffy nose is annoying.  It just makes you irritable. Normal tasks are harder to tackle and it may be accompanied by a drippy nose.  If your sinuses are affected, it can even be painful and cause headaches. Sleep can be affected, and coughing may occur as dripping of the nasal cavity goes down your throat.  Other symptoms may include plugged nose, snoring, and difficulty concentrating.


Nasal congestion can be caused by many things.  Congestion is often associated with a cold or flu.  This goes away in a few days without treatment, but can be treated if it is bothersome.  Longer bouts of congestion may be caused by allergies, dry air, smoke, or something that is in the nose or airways.  You should seek your doctor’s advice for congestion that lasts beyond a few days or returns often. Immediate emergency assistance should be sought if congestion makes it difficult to breathe, or is associated with throat or tongue swelling,


Most nasal congestion medications at the pharmacy are for short term use.  Using medications to treat nasal congestion, whether oral or in sprays, should not exceed a few days.  There are steroidal nasal sprays for allergies, which can be used long term, but don’t confuse them with nasal decongestants.  Use of nasal decongestants beyond a few days will worsen nasal congestion in time, causing a “rebound effect” where nasal congestion becomes a long term problem.  You may also want to take a painkiller or anti-inflammatory in addition to a decongestant. Ask your pharmacist for help if you are taking prescription medications or have a chronic health condition as some treatments may worsen your condition.  


Don’t forget to drink more fluids when you are congested.  Water is the best way to break up congestion and get things flowing.  It always feels great to finally be able to blow your nose and get rid of congestion.  Using a saline water nasal rinse is also another great way to help make your sinuses feel better, and may help with congestion.  Your Pharmachoice pharmacist is happy to discuss ways to help you feel better, and get you breathing clear again.


Leslie Palmer
Deloraine, MB