What is Nasal Congestion?
If you’re suffering from a stuffy head and pain in your sinuses if you have a cold or flu, there are chances that you will be dealing with nasal congestion. When you’re all stuffed up, the simple act of breathing can be difficult. On top of that, you might feel tired and lonely.
Nasal congestion (or “stuffy nose”) is often called “rhinitis” by doctors. “Rhino” is a Greek prefix meaning the nose, and “–itis” refers to inflammation. Therefore, rhinitis is known as the inflammation of the linings of the nasal cavity.
What causes Nasal Congestion?
Nasal congestion is caused by viruses and bacteria when you have a cold or flu, or by allergens like dust and pollen. These intruders cause inflammation in the nasal passageways, which creates swelling that greatly reduces or even blocks the airflow through the nostrils.
In addition to inflammation, nasal congestion is also the result of dilation (enlargement) of the large blood vessels (veins) in the nose that shrink the volume of the nasal cavity and reduce airflow. Contrary to the common belief that extra mucus is the primary cause of a stuffy nose, it is in fact the swelling of the nasal lining that leads to nasal congestion.
How can I prevent Nasal Congestion?
You can help prevent nasal congestion due to cold and flu viruses by practicing good hygiene. Wash your hands regularly, avoid sharing drinking glasses or utensils, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
If your nasal congestion is allergy-related, it’s best to avoid allergens (such as dust, pollen, and smoke) that may irritate your nasal passageways. Using a good humidifier and nasal saline sprays or rinses can also help with nasal congestion due to allergies.
What are the symptoms of Nasal Congestion?
If you are having nasal congestion with your cold or flu, you will experience a stuffy or running nose and pain in your forehead and under your eyes. You will also feel tired and have difficulty in breathing through your nose.