Nasal congestion is commonly found among adults and older children. It When the inner membranes of your nasal passage get inflamed, you are likely to experience stuffiness and congestion.
The treatment of nasal congestion depends on the underlying causes.
What is Nasal Congestion?
Nasal congestion is stuffiness in the nose due to the irritation or inflammation of nasal membranes. When blood vessels in the nose swell, it may cause a stuffy nose. Nasal congestion may be linked to a common cold, allergy, or sinus infection. However, many factors may cause nasal congestion.
What are Its Symptoms?
Nasal congestion is often part of the symptoms of common cold or sinus-related problems, such as:
- Excess mucus buildup.
- A stuffy feeling in the nose.
- Runny nose.
- Painful sinuses.
- Facial pain due to sinus infection.
- Breathing difficulties.
- Sinus pressure.
What Causes Nasal Congestion?
Many factors may cause inflamed membranes and nasal congestion.
- The common cold.
- Flu or sinus infections.
- Contact with allergens.
- Breathing hot and dry air.
- Sneezing related to allergies.
- Consumption of spicy foods.
- Alcohol consumption.
- Smoking cigarettes or inhaling industrial smoke.
- Structural problems in nose anatomy, such as a deviated septum.
- Excessive use of decongestant.
- Exposure to harmful chemicals.
- Nasal polyps.
- Changes in hormones.
- Certain medications used in the treatment of blood pressure, seizures, and depression.
When to See a Doctor?
Nasal congestion is a common health condition that does not pose a serious health risk. However, if you experience persistent congestion for over 10 days, and have fever, breathing issues, or discomfort, get in touch with a doctor. If congestion is due to an infection or allergy, it is best to start treatment after consulting a doctor.
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How to Treat Nasal Congestion?
Once a doctor diagnoses the exact cause of nasal congestion, he may recommend treatment options, such as nasal sprays, antihistamines for allergy, antibiotics for bacterial infection, OTC medicines, and pain relievers.
Home Remedies to Treat Nasal Congestion:
Certain home remedies may help if you are dealing with nasal congestion.
- Humidifiers: Use a humidifier in the room to keep the air moist and provide relief to inflamed membranes of the nasal passage. Dry air is often a culprit when you experience congestion. Hot and dry weather may make congestion worse. Constant use of a humidifier may help maintain the desired level of humidity in the air surrounding you.
- Steam Inhalation: Steam inhalation can help but be careful not to burn yourself with the boiling water. Put boiling water in a basin or a large bowl, and set it on a table. Sit on a chair near the table and put your face over the basin or bowl. Breathe normally for 5 – 10 minutes. Otherwise, you can also buy a steam cup from a pharmacy. The steam cup is a plastic cup with a lid and a mask. You can pour the boiling water into the cup, fix the cap and mask and then breathe the steam through this mask. For kids, the safest method of steam inhalation is in your bathroom. Shut the door of your bathroom and turn on the hot tap and/or shower.
- Hydration: Increase your water intake. Staying hydrated can help the body to flush out toxins and clear up mucus from your sinuses. Drinking warm liquids like soups and broths may help fight congestion. .
- Warm compresses: Apply warm compresses to unclog thick mucus. Warm compresses can provide instant relief when you have nasal congestion. Soak a towel in warm water and squeeze the water. Apply a warm towel around your nose for 30 seconds and repeat a few times for relief from congestion.
- Treat your allergies: Allergens are usual culprits in nasal congestion. Find out the allergens that trigger your congestion and avoid exposure. Consult a doctor for allergy medication.
- Use elevation: Keep your head elevated while sleeping. This will make breathing easier. You can also place a warm towel on your face to make breathing easy.
- Use Nasal Drops: Decongestant sprays and drops are very effective for a blocked nose. They can help to unblock your nose quickly. But they should be used only for a maximum of 5-7 days. If they are used for longer, you may have re-bound congestion when you stop using them. Decongestant sprays and drops cannot be used by children under 6 years of age
Nasal congestion is not a life-threatening condition. By identifying the triggers and underlying causes, it can be easily managed. Nasal congestion affects adults and children. It is necessary to treat allergies to avoid any life-threatening complications.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is nasal congestion found in infants?
Infants may also experience nasal congestion, making it difficult for them to breathe. Get in touch with your doctor if your baby has a fever along with breathing issues.
Can I blow my nose when congested?
Nose blowing may make congestion worse as it builds pressure in blood vessels of nasal membranes. Get rid of mucus to avoid building sinus pressure.
How long does nasal congestion last?
Nasal congestion may last up to 10 days and can clear on its own. In some cases, nasal congestion can be chronic. Chronic congestion can last up to months.