For Managing Stuffiness (Congestion)

Sinusitis can vary from person to person. What works for one person may not work for someone else. It may take some time to find the best treatment methods. Some options that may help ease symptoms are:

Inhaling Steam

Some people find that inhaling steam helps soothe acute sinusitis. Inhaling steam may also help cold symptoms.

One way to use steam treatment is with a bowl with steamy hot water. The person leans over the bowl in a comfortable position. The steam is kept in by placing a towel over the bowl and the person's head. The person breathes in the steam for about 10 minutes at a time. This is done several times a day.

In stores there are also steam inhalers made for this purpose. Another method is to place hot packs over the face several times a day. These methods must be used with care to avoid burns.

Saline Nasal Sprays/Nasal Irrigation

Some doctors advise nasal sprays or nasal irrigation. This means rinsing out the sinuses and nasal passages. This is done using a device and warm salt solution. Distilled water is often advised. Nasal irrigation is often used to manage long term sinusitis.


Acute rhinosinusitis in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed November 15, 2021.

Chronic rhinosinusitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed November 15, 2021.

Sinusitis. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: Accessed November 15, 2021.

Sinusitis overview. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website. Available at: Accessed November 15, 2021.

Thunberg U, Saber A, Söderquist B, et al. Long-term clinical follow-up of patients with chronic rhinosinusitis. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2021;130(5):504-512.

Last reviewed November by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP  Last Updated: 11/17/2021