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Susan Ivy
Susan Ivy, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
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Experience:  BSN, MSN, CNS
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I wake up with stuffy nose in the morning. What to do?

Resolved Question:

I wake up every morning with a blocked nose which lasts for about 2 hours. At present I am taking one decongestion tablet each morning and it clears within one hour and for the rest of the day. Your advice please.

Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 7 years ago.

Dear Customer,

Thank you for using JustAnswer Health for your question.

It sounds like the decongestion tablets are successful, so I am assuming you would like to know of preventative treatments and alternative or home remedies.

There are many things that can be done to improve this condition. Ideally knowing the cause of your sinus problems would help to give you the best ideas of what will help you. I assume you have been evaluated by a physician. If not and your condition does not improve, please see your doctor for evaluation.

From your description so far, it sounds like it is likely due to allergies of some type. If it is only occurring in the morning, you may want to consider if there are allergies related to your bedroom. For example if you have pets, you may need to keep them out of your bedroom or at least off the bed. Another problem that has become problematic again is dust mites and/or bed bugs (if you had bed bugs you would likely have skin itching as well). But, even in case of dust mites it is suggested to do one or both of these things - purchase special allergy proof casing to cover the mattress, pillows and comforter. Additionally it is recommended to wash the bedding, pillows and casing once a week in 130 degree water to kill the mites.

If you tend to dehydrate, make sure you are drinking enough fluids early in the day, as this will help to keep your sinus mucous thin, as well as provide other benefits. Of course don't drink much in the hours before you plan to go to sleep so that you are not up all night urinating.

Another issue to consider is the humidity. Too dry air can cause the sinuses to produce a thick mucous. Too humid air fosters the growth of dust mites. One can get a humidity monitor. It is considered best to keep the humidity less than 50%, because dust mites only live when the humidity is above 50%. If you found that the air is extremely dry, which is more likely to occur when heating is on or if you live in a very dry part of the country, you may need a humidifier. The optimum level of humidity is 30 to 40%.

There are other allergens in the air, from pollen to pollution, as well as dust, dust mites, and pet dander. An air filter is recommended in the case that this is the origination of the problem. HEPA filters are recommended. They can capture up to at least 90% of the particles in the air.

Nasal lavage with either a bulb syringe or a neti pot with a solution of saline and baking soda can work to clean out the sinuses of dust particles, bacteria, yeast, and dried mucous. Some have found that using one of these forms of irrigation daily and later less frequently will prevent sinus congestion completely. Also helpful is to vacuum frequently. There are vacuums with HEPA filters which work the best. Don't dust with a feather duster. Use a moist cloth otherwise you will just be stirring up the particles.

There are dietary things that some find helpful. Of course all people may not find this practical. Spicy curry such as in Indian food, and hot salsa as common with Mexican food are helpful in clearing up congestion. You may also simply add cayenne pepper or ginger to your diet, to foods that you find it compatible with. Ginger tea is available pre-made as well.

You may also try hot moist towels or add ginger as a compress to the eyes and cheeks. Ginger is known to reduce inflammation and open nasal passages.

There are supplements which are helpful for some. Quercetin - an anti-inflammatory immune boosting bioflavonoid which is found in the skin of red onions and apples decreases mucous production. You may buy it as a supplement too. N-acetylcystein (NAC) is an antioxident that thins mucous and is anti-viral. It is used by physicians to treat the over-production of mucous in children with cystic-fibrosis.

Other immune boosters are vitamin C, E, Carotene, selenium, zinc, olive leaf extract, and garlic. Here are links which describe some of these products in further detail. You will need to cut and then paste the links into your browser.

Information on humidifiers:

Information on neti pot (sinus rinse) you can buy these in drug stores too:

Air Filters: I hope this helps you.

If you have questions or comments, please reply.

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