Nasal Inhalation, Creams, and Rubs
There are various methods to help relieve a blocked nose that involve breathing in substances (hey, don't laugh), or just improving the quality of the air around you. These include some of the simplest things you can do to bring relief to your condition.
The use of a humidifier, particularly in the "dry months" (October-May) or if you live in a dry or heavily polluted area, can help relieve and prevent a blocked nose. Continually breathing in dry air can be very irritating to the nasal cavity and can cause the membranes to swell and block up your nose. The best place to use a humidifier is in your bedroom as you sleep.
However, you must change the filter and keep the humidifier clean, or the bacteria that is trapped in the filter can be released into the air and cause you to become sick.
This method is often parodied in movies and on television, but is quite effective. It is very simple: a pot of water is boiled, and sometimes soothing herbs such as mint are added. The pot is removed from the heat and a towel is placed over the head and pot.
The patient breathes deeply through the nose for 15 minutes. The warm, moist air helps to clear blockages and to soothe irritated nasal membranes. Be sure to keep your head at least a foot away from the pot in order to prevent steam burns. You can also create the same effect if you take a hot shower or bath in a closed bathroom. Recently, Sudacare Shower tablets were created, which release eucalyptus, menthol, and camphor in the shower. These soothing herbs combined with the steam of the shower have the same effect as the use of herbs in boiling water being inhaled.
Topical creams and 'rubs'
The most commonly known type of this remedy is Vicks VapoRub. Medicated cream is rubbed on the upper portion of the chest before sleep and the medication is inhaled during the night. It is effective in helping to alleviate nasal cavity swelling. This type of medication works best for those who have multiple symptoms, such as those with a cold or the flu.