5 Must Know Things About Nasal Congestion(Stuffy nose)
Created by Dr. Surbhi Saini Updated on Jan 18, 2021
The pollution levels are constantly going up and the air quality is worsening every day. This leads to increased cases of health problems, especially related to the throat, ear and nose. You may find your family member, especially children, complain of problems related to breathing or nose like congestion, runny nose, blocked nose, aggravation of allergic rhinitis (runny nose associated with watery eyes, itching of nose, eyes and sneezing).
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 discomforts, 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…
5 Must-knows Nasal Congestion Facts
Dr Surbhi Saini, explains out one of the most common issues that is doing the rounds – nasal congestion. She throws light on the 5 must-knows about nasal congestion. Read on...
#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
- Pain in ears
- Loss of appetite and taste
- Toddlers seek the continuous attention of the mother
#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 - Read expert tips on allergy
- 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. Why you should not ignore a blocked nose?…
Final word, 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 !
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