Best Medicine for Nasal Congestion, What to Take, How to treat, Cure, Over the Counter Nasal Congestion Medications
Home / Nasal congestion / Best Medicine for Nasal Congestion, What to Take, How to treat, Cure, Over the Counter Nasal Congestion Medications

Best Medicine for Nasal Congestion, What to Take, How to treat, Cure, Over the Counter Nasal Congestion Medications

Wondering how to treat that bout of nasal congestion? Find out some of the best medicine for nasal congestion or those you can use to clear the symptoms of a nose that is stuffy or congested? We’ll also mention some the over the counter medications that can be used to treat congestion.

What to Take For Nasal Congestion


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Nasal congestion is a symptom for an underlying condition such as common cold, flu and sinus infection. It is also commonly caused by the presence of allergens in the environment which triggers allergic reactions.

Although it normally goes away by itself in a week, supportive treatment can be used to control and ease the symptoms. So what should you take for nose congestion?

Decongestant nasal sprays and drops are commonly used to relieve this problem. Prolonged use (more than 3 days) is however advised against as this can have the opposite effect for nosel congestion by making it worse off. Nasal decongestants are also not advisable for use in children below 2 years of age.

Oral Antihistamines can also be taken to relieve nasal congestion.  Some antihistamines make patients drowsy and caution should be taken after taking them not to drive or operate machinery.

Pain relievers can also be taken for management a congested nose.

Decongestants, antihistamines, and pain killers are all typically taken to control the symptoms of nose congestion as opposed to treating the underlying conditions.

You may also consider using adhesive strips which can be obtained from most drugstores.  These help to keep the nostril open and thus facilitate easier breathing when one is suffering from a congested nose.

Best Medicine for Nasal Congestion

Nasal spray

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We have already mentioned that medication is typically used to control the symptoms of congested or stuffy nose. So, what are some of the best medicines for nasal congestion? Let’s look at various types of medications and some common brand names that you will come across in your local and online drug stores.


Decongestants rank among the best and the most commonly used medicines for nose congestion. They offer temporary relief of congestion due to infections such as common cold, flu and sinus infection, or due to allergies such as hay fever.

Decongestants only offer relief for stuffiness, not other symptoms such as runny nose and sneezing. These medicines work by shrinking the blood vessels in the lining of the nasal passages thus decreasing swelling and the associated congestion.

Decongestants are usually sold over the counter as nasal sprays such as oxymetazoline (Duramist, Afrin, and Dristan), naphazoline (Privine), and phenylephrine (Sinex, Rhinall, and Neo-Synephrine).

They are also sold as pills such as phenylephrine (Sudogest PE, Lusonal, and Sudafed PE) and Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed and Sudogest).

If you are self-treating with nasal decongestants, you should read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow them very carefully. You should also know when to see a doctor or pharmacist; this information is usually available in the precaution section.

Decongestants nasal sprays and drops should be used for maximum 3 days as over-use of them can actually worsen the nasal congestion. As for oral decongestant, they should not be used for more than 7 days without consulting with your doctor.

Decongestants should therefore not be used for children aged below 2 years unless advised to do so by your doctor or pediatrician.


If  caused is caused by allergic reactions due to exposure to indoor and outdoor allergens such as pollen, moulds, dust mites, and pet dander, antihistamines and other allergy medicines can be used to control the allergy.

Some allergy medicines contain both antihistamines and a decongestant with the former helping to offer relief for sneezing and the latter serving to relieve nose congestion.

You should also read and follow the follow the instructions given on the packaging or by the pharmacist/doctor carefully.

Pain relievers

Allergy medicines

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Pain relievers don’t help with nose congestion, pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Motrin and Advil), naproxen sodium (Aleve) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help ease the pain that often accompanies congestion. No matter the degree of pain, however, you should not take an overdose of the pain relievers; follow the instructions very carefully. These are some of the best medicine for nasal congestion.

Best over the Counter Medicine for Nasal Congestion

Over the counter medicines may help relieve a congested nose and the pain associated with it due to sinus pressure, and make breathing more comfortable. Nasal decongestants, antihistamines, and pain relievers (pain killers) are the most common over-the-counter medicine for nasal congestion.

They are available in most drugstores, online and offline in various brand names.  Although we have already mentioned it, it is so important that it deserves another mention; decongestants are not suitable for use on babies aged below 2 years and should not be used for more than 3 days as this can make the symptoms worse rather than improve them.

How to Cure Nasal Congestion – Treat

A congested nose is normally a symptom for an underlying condition. It is commonly caused by viral infections the likes of common cold and flu, both of which have no cure. Such nasal congestion typically goes away by itself in around one week, but supportive treatment may be administered to control the symptom.

Over-the-counter nasal decongestants and antihistamines are commonly used in treatment of nose congestion symptoms and as we have already mentioned, these medicines don’t treat the underlying condition.

In addition to decongestants and antihistamines, there are numerous measures that you can use to treat nose congestion at home such as using saline nasal drops, raising the head of your bed by stashing a pillow beneath the mattress, using a humidifier or vaporizer to raise the level of moisture in your room, using adhesive strips to keep the nasal passages open, and drinking lots of fluids such as hot tea or broth. [Read more on home remedies for congestion]

These options will help you treat nasal congestion at home, but should symptoms persist for more than 7 days or seem to worsen, you should seek the attention of your doctor.

The treatment options for chronic nose congestion e.g. due to enlarged adenoids or deviated septum depends on the underlying conditions. Surgery may for example be needed to remove the adenoids.

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