If you've ever lived through winter with the furnace cranked up, then you know how much that dries out your skin. Well, the same holds true for the inside of your nose, and dried-out mucus means a stuffed-up snout [source: Doheny]. To ditch the drought, stay hydrated, and to keep your nose-pipes flowing, turn down the heat and turn on a humidifier or vaporizer.
Humidifiers and vaporizers add moisture to the air via different means. Vaporizers work mainly by boiling water, so they tend to run cheaper and delay mold or bacterial buildup. However, their scalding water could pose a hazard in a home with children or pets. Conversely, humidifiers create airborne water vapor from cold water. They use devices such as impellers (rapidly turning disks) and ultrasonics to create a fine mist. To avoid buildup of mold and mildew, you should rinse a humidifier daily, and thoroughly sanitize both humidifiers and vaporizers every one or two weeks using a mix of water, white vinegar and bleach [sources: Air & Water "humidifiers", Air & Water "cleaning"].
Experts disagree as to whether these gadgets can pump enough moisture into the air to do much good, so hedge your bets by keeping yours close to where you sleep. You can also check the air moisture with a hygrometer, which you can pick up for a few bucks at a department store. Aim to keep the moisture level above 30 percent but below 50 percent — your nose's old foes, dust mites and mold, love humidity, too [source: Doheny].
If a humidifier or vaporizer is just not in your budget, gently simmer a pot of water on the stove — while you're awake and keeping a careful eye on it, of course.
Sinus Congestion Tips
Here is some information to help you with sinus congestion.