Got Stuffy Nose? It may be Due to These Causes

Stuffy nose (nasal congestion) is inability or difficulty in breathing through nose. Nasal congestion occurs due to swelling of nasal tissues, and adjacent tissues and nearby blood vessels due to accumulation of fluid in them. This give rise to stuffy feeling in the nose. Nasal congestion or stuffy nose may be accompanied by runny nose. In adults and children stuffy nose can be just annoying and may not cause any serious problem, however, in infants nasal congestion may lead to breathing and feeding difficulty.

What are the causes of nasal congestion?

The cause of nasal congestion is inflammation of nasal mucosa. Hence, anything that can cause inflammation or irritation of nasal mucosa can cause nasal congestion, such as infection (most commonly by virus and also bacteria), allergy, irritants etc.
Common causes of nasal congestion include,

    • Infection by commonly by virus (common cold, influenza, respiratory syncitial virus, sinusitis)
    • Allergy and irritants (such as cigarette smoke)
    • Non allergic condition such as Vasomotor rhinitis
    • Polyps (nasal polyps) can also cause nasal congestion

Less common causes of nasal congestion include,

    • Tumor
    • Acute sinusitis, chronic sinusitis
    • Bright light may also lead to nasal congestion
    • Cold weather/temperature
    • Cluster headache
    • Overuse or prolonged use (for several weeks or months at a time) of nasal decongestants available over the counter
    • Deviated nasal septum (DNS)
    • Dry air
    • Allergy (to wheat, soy, shellfish, pet, milk, mold, latex, dust mite, food allergy, peanut allergy)
    • Hay fever
    • Foreign body in nose
    • Hormonal changes, including thyroid changes
    • Medications
    • Occupational asthma
    • Pregnancy
    • Perfume
    • Stress

When should you consult your doctor?
Consult your doctor, if

  • Your symptoms last for more than 10 days
  • If your nasal congestion is accompanied by fever lasting for more than a couple of days
  • If your nasal discharge is green and accompanied by fever and sinus pain, indicating a bacterial
  • infection and may require antibiotic therapy
  • If nasal discharge contain blood
  • Nasal discharge (clear/colorless) after head injury
  • If you are taking immune suppressive medication
  • If you have asthma
  • If nasal congestion is causing trouble to feeding and breathing in infants and young children
  • If your child is running fever along with nasal congestion

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