Nasal congestion (also known as stuffy nose) is a condition in which the nasal tissues become swollen and gets accumulated with excess of fluid. It would cause stuffy feeling for the person and there will be nasal discharge of mucus causing “runny nose”. Nasal congestion occurs commonly in children and even for grownups. It can cause complications in infants which cannot breathe properly and may have difficulty in feeding due to nasal congestion.
Nasal Congestion Causes
Number of factors cause nasal congestion. Anything that cause irritation on the nasal tissues can cause congestion on your nose. Ranging from common cold to severe forms of allergies and sinusitis many factors can cause nasal congestion. Acute sinusitis, chronic sinusitis, common cold, cluster headache, exposure to cold temperature, allergy of many kinds, drug addiction, over-usage of nasal spray, enlarged adenoids, hay fever and presence of foreign particles in the nose can cause nasal congestion.
Dry air, dust allergy, food allergy (allergy caused by many food items), hormonal changes, flu, harsh perfumes, asthma, nasal polyps, stress, thyroid problem, hormonal changes, and tobacco smoke can also cause nasal congestion. The underlying tissues of the nose become swollen during nasal congestion in most of the cases. But for some it can occur due to blockage caused by thick mucus.
Symptoms Of Nasal Congestion
Infants can have feeding problems when their nose gets blocked due to congestion. It can cause complications and serious breathing problems in infants. Children will have difficulty in breathing and swallowing due to congestion. In older adults nasal congestion causes discomfort and annoyance. For some people it will affect the ears causing hearing problem and can also interfere with speech. It can affect their quality sleep also. Very often, nasal congestion causes thick mucus running from your nose.
It is easy to identify stuffy nose or nasal congestion by checking for the above symptoms. Your doctor may if so desire, order for sputum culture, blood culture for checking CBC, X-ray of the chest and serum total. He may request for any other allergy tests if the nasal congestion does not respond to the treatment.
Nasal Congestion Treatment
Plenty of over the counter syrup are available for getting relief from stuffy nose and nasal congestion. The main purpose of treatment should be to make breathing comfortable and reduce the symptoms of runny nose. Decongestants can be used for getting temporary relief from stuffiness but it may shrink the inner lining of blood vessels of your nose.
You can try these drops and nasal spray for 2-3 days before visiting your doctor. Antihistamines are largely used for reducing the mucus secreted from your nose. But it can make you drowsy and hence you should avoid driving your vehicle in case you are taking antihistamines.
Medications obtained over the counter will not always treat the underlying condition but will provide relief from nasal congestion. Check for the ingredients overleaf before you make a deal in the store. You can use gentle nasal spray for clearing the mucus. Drink plenty of fluids preferably hot water or tea.
Humidifier can be used to increase the humidity of the room you sleep. Nasal congestion home remedies like drinking hot water can clear the mucus very well and provide relief from sore throat also. You can also inhale steam vapor to get immediate relief from nasal congestion. The condition can become worse when you lie down and hence keep your head in elevated position even while you are sleeping.
For infants who cannot blow their nose you can gently apply saline drops on the nostril. You have to be very careful when handling infants and young children. Aspirator can be used for clearing the mucus from the infant’s nose.
You can consult your pediatrician if you are unsure of applying nasal drops to the infants. Always keep the head in raised position if your child gets nasal congestion which will make them to breathe comfortably. Infants should be kept well hydrated to prevent dehydration.