While steam inhalation is a widely used practice to ease a blocked nose, it is unlikely to work for chronic nasal congestion, according to a new study from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom.
Nevertheless, saline nasal irrigation, a technique used to “flush out” excess mucus from the nose, may be more helpful for chronic nasal congestion, researchers suggest.
871 patients across England took part in this study. All of them had sinusitis, a common condition characterized by inflammation of the sinuses. Participants were randomized to take one of 4 treatments: usual care, daily steam inhalations, daily nasal irrigation, or a combination of nasal irrigations and steam inhalations.
During 6 months of follow-up, the scientists discovered that those patients who took daily steam inhalation only showed no improvements in symptoms of nasal congestion. However, patients who received daily nasal irrigation showed improvements in nasal congestion at both 3 and 6 months of follow-up.
More information here.