Common sense makes people believe that nasal congestion is caused primarily by the improper flow of mucus in the nose and the sinuses. This is partially true – mucus is causing the stuffed feeling. However, it is just the result of the impaired capacity of the mucosal lining to regulate proper mucus production or its increased effort to isolate and flush out the irritant that is causing the inflammation and mucus overproduction.
Causes of nasal congestion include virus, bacteria, foreign materials that lodge within the nose and structural defects of the nose. These usually result to the following:
•Sinus infection or sinusitis
•Allergies like hay fever
•Nasal polyps or tumors
•Overuse of nasal sprays
Nasal congestion is not considered a serious condition except when it occurs in infants who are ‘obligated nose breathers’, meaning they are only capable of nasal breathing, unlike children and adults. Apart from interfering with breastfeeding, nasal congestion can potentially cause respiratory diseases to develop, interfere with speech and hearing development, interfere with sleep and may cause sleep apnea or irregular breathing during sleep. In older children and adults, this can cause the head to throb along with other discomforts such as facial pain.
Home Care Treatments
There is nothing much you can do about nasal congestion aside from fortifying your immune system defenses to allow your body to eliminate the cause at its own pace. In the meantime, you can help yourself with the symptoms. Below are some tips you can follow to make the symptoms a bit more bearable:
Keep in mind that among your top priorities is to keep your sinuses and nasal passages moist. Most people believe that the cure for nasal congestion is to dry out the nose. False. This only exacerbates the condition as this forces the mucosal membrane to further irritate, thereby leading to worse inflammation and more mucus produced. The result? Worse nasal stuffiness.
Keep your nose moist by doing the following:
•Use vaporizer, humidifier, or anything that will deliver the necessary amount of moist into your nose.
•Breathe steam from a bowl of hot water or take hot showers.
•Drink plenty of hot and caffeine-free fluids to thin out the mucus.
•Irrigate your nose with salt-water solution.
•Refrain from drinking anything with alcohol. Alcohol can sap out water from most parts of the body, including the mucosal lining of the nose.
Other things you can do to relieve the symptoms associated with nasal congestion:
1.Apply warm compress on your face. On top of reducing the facial pain and discomfort associated with nasal congestion, applying warm compress on your face can also open up the sinuses. When using this method, target the areas where the sinuses are located, namely on the nose, on both sides of the nose, the forehead and the eyes.
2.Keep your head elevated. Make breathing easier by propping your head on pillows during your worst bouts of nasal congestion.
3.Avoid swimming in chlorinated pools. This, here, is a big no-no as chlorinated pools can irritate the mucus membranes lining your nose as well as expose you to microbes that can potentially worsen your existing condition.
4.Take nutritional supplements and extra servings of fruits and vegetables. Improve your immune system defenses by keeping your body fueled with vitamins and nutrients it needs to keep up and eventually eliminate the cause of nasal congestion.
5.Take over-the-counter drugs. Decongestants, antihistamine, pain killers and relievers, you name it. There are plenty of OTC drugs that can help with your stuffy nose.
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