Breathe Right® Strips


In An Army of Placebos we talked about how it sometimes takes a few tries to relieve a stuffy nose when we're not allowed to use strong drugs like Sudafed (pseudoephedrine). That article failed to mention Breathe Right® nasal strips as a helpful adjunctive treatment for stuffy nose. These adhesive strips stick to the outside of your nose, and pull it open just a little bit to partially relieve the congestion.

Poiseulle" Law determined that the laminar flow rate of an incompressible fluid along a pipe is proportional to the fourth power of the pipe's radius. In other words, you need sixteen tubes to pass as much fluid as one tube twice their diameter. In the case of the Breathe Right nasal strip, we're not doubling the radius of your nasal passage; just increasing it a bit.

But consider the example of a 7 mm passage that increases to 8 mm. 7 to the 4th power is 2401.


8 to the 4th power is 4096!


In other words, you almost doubled the amount of air that can flow through your congested nostril just by increasing the diameter 1 millimeter.

Sorry for all that math, but I love to point out that staying awake in high school physics class does have a point, after all. A few tips from veteran users of Breathe Right nasal strips. First, the adhesive is good, but not great. So clean the oil off your nose well before application so the adhesive will stay put. Second, you need the strip sticky at its ends, but not in the middle. Some patients put a little dab of Kleenex in the middle of the strip before application so it doesn't stick to the bridge of your nose. Then, removing it doesn't peel off your skin. Ouch!

Note: Information contained in this article should not be considered a substitute for consultation with a board-certified allergist to address individual medical needs.

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