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What are the contributing factors for stuffy nose?

  • Posted on- Aug 08, 2015
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Stuffy nose can be described as a more annoying condition rather than a serious one. It is a condition wherein the nasal passages are blocked or congested due to excess mucus build-up. The root causes are inflamed blood vessels and swelling of the mucosa lining of the nostrils. The reasons for inflammation of blood vessels could range from hypersensitive immune responses to the structural abnormalities. Determining the causes of the condition, avoiding them, and following the remedies would help in preventing frequent bouts of this nasal discomfort.

A stuffy nose is also known by different names such as blocked nose, nasal obstruction, nasal blockage, and congestion. Besides the difficulty in breathing, it brings along a set of symptoms such as pressure in ears, reduced hearing, mild facial pain, headache, snoring, sleep problems, and change in voice. This condition in infants greatly disturbs their normal breathing, feeding, and sleeping schedule. However, it is quite rarely a serious problem in adults.

ALLERGIC RESPONSES
When exposed to pollen, dust, chemical sprays, and other allergens, the body secretes histamines to counteract them. These immune system responses result in increased blood flow, which in turn causes swelling of mucous membranes and nasal congestion. Also, sudden changes in the environmental conditions, especially from hot to cold, is a major reason for this nasal discomfort.

NON-ALLERGIC RHINITIS (HAY FEVER)
This refers to inflammation of the mucous membrane in the nasal passages, without allergy and other apparent causes. The notable symptoms are blocked nose, runny nose, itchiness, and sneezing. Contrary to allergic rhinitis, either the condition becomes recurring, or the symptoms do not get better with time.

COMMON COLD and FLU
Whenever one has a cold or flu, he/she would end up with sore throat and nasal obstruction. This is because of the viral infection in the upper respiratory tract system. In the same way as that of allergies, the immune system responds to infection by secreting histamines, causing dilation of blood vessels, and inflammation of nasal membranes.

SINUS INFECTION
Bacterial infection of the paranasal sinuses is another prime factor for the nasal obstruction at night. It is usually followed by a common cold. Other symptoms such as sinus headache, sinus pressure, and mucous discharge accompany sinusitis. Both acute sinusitis and chronic sinusitis are equally responsible for causing the condition.

DEVIATED SEPTUM
Constant bouts of a blocked nose are most likely due to structural abnormalities. Nasal congestion due to deviated nasal septum may be manifested in one or both nostrils. Other structural problems that may cause recurring nasal blockage are enlarged adenoids and concha bullosa.

MEDICATION SIDE EFFECT
A blocked nose that is caused as a result of the adverse effects of medications is not an unusual case. This is because some drugs affect the blood circulation, and may bring about an increased flow in the blood vessels. This causes swelling of the mucous membrane in the nose, ultimately, leading to increased secretion of mucus and blocked nose.

Remedies for stuffy nose

  • Nasal congestion developed due to cold and flu would subside as soon as the infection would resolve. So, one should follow the home remedies for cold to get relief from nasal blockage.
  • In the same way, existing allergy-triggered nasal blockage would be relieved gradually, if further exposure to allergens is avoided. So, it is necessary to stay away from pollen, dust, and air pollutants.
  • Nasal irrigation with salt water solution gives an instant relief from the nasal discomfort. The saline solution can be purchased or even prepared at home. This solution should be used as many times as possible.
  • Dry air and less humidity level worsens nasal congestion, so humidify rooms with a humidifier. This will moisten and dilute nasal mucus, thus, allowing its quick clearance.
  • In a prompt step to clear nasal obstruction, follow steam inhalation therapy. Simply fill a bowl with hot water, drape head with a towel, and inhale the steam.
  • Similar to steam inhalation, taking steam bath works wonders in getting rid of nasal congestion. This remedy would not only give a decongesting effect to the nose, but it would also warm up the overall body.

In case of any chronic health problem, whether it is a blocked nose or a headache, one should consult the concerned doctor. Also, if nasal blockage becomes persistent, even after adopting the above mentioned remedies, or if it is accompanied with fever and facial pain, seek medical advice as soon as possible. This would help prevent complications from arising, in case an underlying condition is causing chronic nasal congestion. The underlying condition can be identified and treated promptly.