Q: How can one treat long nasal congestion?
A: I’ve been asked this question several times and in different ways. But ‘why is my nose blocked all through the year?’ is the common thread that runs through all the questions. ‘Stuffy nose’, ‘blocked nose’ or nasal congestion are different names used to describe this condition. In the simplest of terms, this condition refers to a situation when there is an obstruction (blockage) to the flow of air, in and out of the nose. This may be due to swelling of nasal tissues (tissues in the nose) and blood vessels with excess fluid.
Some causes include:
Common cold. We are all familiar with this common cause of nasal congestion 😀 This causes blockage of the sinus, which results in nasal congestion.
Allergies in which an individual’s immune system reacts in an exaggerated manner to certain foods or to pollen is a cause of nasal congestion. This ailment tends to run in families and so history of people with same condition or asthma etc in that family is not uncommon.
A nasal septum (the wall between the nostrils) that is crooked or bent to one side may cause nasal congestion. This ‘deformity’ may be from birth, due to injury or occur as a process of growth.
Excessive use of nasal decongestants can also lead to this as after the decongestant is stopped, there is rebound nasal congestion. And so, one ends up with the same situation they were trying to solve from the beginning! 😀 So, if you must, do not use your nasal decongestants for more than three days
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses (air cavities) that line the nose. When these air cavities (which are supposed to be filled by air) become filled with fluid as a result of blockage, bacteria, fungi and viruses can thrive in this environment and cause infection. Pus-like nasal discharge, facial pain and persistence of symptoms for more than a week, maybe suggestive of this.
Other conditions include:
• Cold weather
- Foreign body in the nose
- Presence of tumour or polyp (a small growth with a stalk protruding from a surface)
- Medications for high blood pressure
- Spicy foods (remember how you start sniffling once you start on a hot dish?)
- Stress etc
There’s a pretty long list of causes, but your doctor will attempt to narrow down to what the probable cause for you is.
In the meantime,
Ø try drinking a lot of water
Ø Use saline sprays instead of the nasal decongestants, if you’ve been indulging in this 😀
Ø Use a humidifier which loosens the mucous. Turning on the hot water shower and inhaling the steam is another great idea.
Ø Avoid irritants of the nose like smoke
All these measures will help reduce the nasal congestion.
Have a great week ahead, guys 😀