Health and Wellness

5 Things to know about Nasal Congestion

Dr Surbhi Saini
All age groups

Created by Dr. Surbhi Saini
Updated on Dec 04, 2017

5 Things to know about Nasal Congestion

Nasal congestion or stuffy nose is a seemingly simple yet a disturbing condition.  It leads to short-term issues such as difficulty in breathing and interrupted breathing patterns that can cause a lot of discomfort, especially in a child, making him/her irritable. It can also lead to long-term health issues. The 5 essential things one should know about this condition are as follows…

1. Why is my child suffering from nasal congestion/blocked nose?

Nasal congestion may be due to common cold, enlarged adenoids (tonsil type tissue behind the nose), allergy, deviation of nasal bone, some cystic swellings called as polyps, and etc. Let me take you through the most common causes of a blocked nose…

Common cold, flu, and sinus infection are all caused by virus infection. These viruses are transmitted by air, which causes the nasal tissues to swell up. If the nasal mucous turns yellow or green, it means that bacterial infection has also occurred.

Sinus infection also causes nasal congestion, which leads to thick discharge of mucous. Sinusitis is the inflammation of sinuses in and around the nasal region causing blocked nose.

Structural abnormalities, which include deformities of the nose and nasal septum such as deviated nasal septum (cartilage that divides the two nostrils), large inferior turbinate, polyps in the nose and large adenoids – may cause a chronic blocked nose situation. These deformities could be due to an injury or may be present at the time of birth.

One of the most common causes of nasal congestion is enlarged adenoid glands (tonsil-like tissue situated at the back of the nose). The other cause is polyps (fleshy growths) or tumours in nose that occur due to infection of the nasal sinuses.

Allergy occurs due to an inflammatory response to harmless environmental substances known as allergens such as pollen, dust mites, house dust, and animal dander. These allergens release a substance called histamine, which can cause congestion and excess production of watery nasal mucous.

 

2. Is it possible that nasal congestion/blocked nose can lead to other health issues?

The answer is ‘yes’ – look out for these other symptoms that can accompany a blocked nose.

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Headache (older children complain of heaviness in head)
  • Pain/swelling around the eye orbit
  • Snoring
  • Pain in ears
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite and taste
  • Toddlers seek continuous attention of mother
  • Lethargy

 

3. How to relieve the discomfort caused by a blocked nose?

The main goal of treatment is to help your child breathe easy and sleep without disturbance. Here are some relief measures…

  • Hot bath or shower helps to open blocked mucous in the nose
  • 1-2 drops of eucalyptus oil on pillow cover, quilt or collar
  • Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids such as warm water, soups, dal, juices, vegetable stew, warm milk, and etc.
  • Identify indoor and outdoor allergens or irritants, which cause/ worsen the condition and remove them
  • Avoid smoking in the house and car as it may trigger allergy in your child.
  • Increase the humidity in air by using a humidifier.
  • Use nasal saline drops or a nasal spray to bring immediate relief – this is especially helpful at bedtime.  

 

4. When to seek consultation?

Do not rely completely on home remedies –  if after using saline drops and trying the above mentioned remedies, there is no improvement in the congestion or if the condition worsens, please see a doctor. Also, if the child gets fever, shortness of breath, acute ear pain, cries uncontrollably, it is time to seek the advice of an ENT specialist.

 

5. Final word: Why you should not ignore a blocked nose…

A blocked nose is a seemingly common ailment that may be observed a number of times in a year due to various causes like allergens, pollution, common cold, viral infections, change of season, and more. However, no matter how common it is, it should not be taken lightly especially in children as it can aggravate the underlying cause in the long run and lead to bigger health problems. For more information on this, please read my upcoming blog: ‘Blocked Nose: Why You Can't Ignore It!.

As is said, a stitch in time saves nine!    
 

Did you find the information shared by Dr Surbhi Saini useful? You may write to her with your queries or share your feedback in the comments section below.

 

 

Disclaimer: Special initiative powered by Otrivin to help you breathe easy. Always use as directed on pack. Opinions expressed above are independent opinions of the author.

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| Jan 30, 2018

Thanks a lot...

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| Dec 06, 2017

thanks a lot.. its really helpful

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| Dec 06, 2017

thanks a lot.. its really helpful

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| Dec 05, 2017

Thankyou Surabji

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| Dec 05, 2017

I think if we inculcate the habit of having steam in early on age. It should be the better way to contain this....

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| Dec 05, 2017

Thankyou doctor for such a comprehensive blog....

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| Dec 04, 2017

nasal blockage is the most common problem in this weather suffered not only by children but by us adults too.. many thanks Dr. Surbhi for sharing the possible causes for suffering with nasal blockage and how to deal with it .

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| Dec 04, 2017

Nasal congestion is a problem that can occur any time and children whether in their teens or preteens are most susceptible to it. Thank you Dr Surbhi for your valuable inputs.

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| Dec 04, 2017

Well no wonder my mother in law kept telling me to use saline water what she must have meant was to use nasal drops. Thank you doctor.

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| Dec 04, 2017

Thank you Dr Surbhi for some simple solutions regarding blocked nose

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