What is a stuffy nose?
A stuffy nose is most commonly associated with the common cold, but it may occur due to many health conditions. The doctors call this condition “nasal congestion” because the membranes of the nasal passages become inflamed due to excess mucus or some irritating element.
What are its causes and concerns?
A stuffy nose may be the result of several different factors, the most common of which are listed below:
- Viral infections, like the common cold, are the most common cause of a stuffy nose. A cold usually lasts about a week. One needs to wait it out, since such conditions do not respond to antibiotics. On an average, children are prone to having up to 6 colds a year and adults may have up to 3 in a year.
- Bacterial infections like Sinusitis are also another cause of a stuffy nose.
- Allergic Rhinitis is the second most common cause of a stuffy nose. The stuffy nose results from the body’s inflammatory reaction to a pollutant in the environment, like grass, dust, pollen, mould or pet dander.
- Vasomotor Rhinitis is another cause of a stuffy nose, which happens because of the nasal passages’ inflammation. When the body reacts to an allergy attack, the blood vessels get larger, causing the nose’s membranes to be blocked. This results in a stuffy nose. In such cases, it helps to relieve a stuffy nose if one avoids airway irritants like cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes etc .
- Structural abnormalities of the nasal passages, usually noticed in childhood, are also a cause of a stuffy nose. They can also develop in adulthood, usually due to some injury. Though over the counter allergy medication can provide some relief with the stuffy nose, surgery is often the only option to correct these abnormalities.
What are its symptoms?
The following symptoms typically characterise a stuffy nose or nasal congestion. If you notice these symptoms, get your condition evaluated by a medical professional:
- Yellow or green mucus, not clear – this indicates a bacterial infection and needs to be treated with antibiotics
- Pain behind the eyes
- Discomfort in the forehead area
- Pain in the cheeks
When the stuffy nose results from Allergic Rhinitis, symptoms may also include a runny nose and watery eyes. If you suffer from a persistent stuffy nose due to allergies, consider seeing our mouth and nose specialist for help.
What are the solutions and treatment options?
Treatment of a stuffy nose depends on the factors that have caused it. Following are some treatment options usually recommended:
- Over the counter medication, drinking plenty of fluids and taking rest are some solutions suggested when the stuffy nose is a result of a viral infection, like a common cold.
- The physician usually prescribes antibiotics if the condition is caused due to a bacterial infection.
- If the stuffy nose occurs because of an allergic reaction (like Allergic Rhinitis), then it is best first to see the doctor to get your condition examined. Treatment options usually consist of over the counter medication like Claritin, Zyrtec and Dimetane, prescription allergy medication or even allergy shots.
- If the stuffy nose is a problem caused due to structural abnormalities in the nasal passages, surgery is usually the only option available.
A stuffy nose is annoying and uncomfortable and could, at times, indicate a serious infection or allergies. So why suffer when several treatment options are at hand? Call us today to schedule a medical evaluation with our qualified physicians and we will help you “breathe easy”!
Additional Reading: http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/stuffyNose.cfm
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