A stuffy nose is a common complaint that can be due to sinus issues like allergies, sinus infections, and viral illness. When blood vessels in the nose become inflamed, it causes swelling that obstructs the nasal passages, making it difficult to breathe.
A stuffy nose is usually a minor annoyance, but in some cases can be a symptom of a more serious condition. Babies who struggle to breathe through the nose while feeding can sometimes develop a form of rapid respiratory distress. A chronic stuffy nose can also lead to other health conditions like snoring, insomnia, sleep apnea, facial pain, and headaches.
Most stuffy noses are triggered by allergies or viral illness. Chronic overuse of nasal sprays has also been linked to chronic nasal congestion. In extremely rare cases, a constant stuffy nose can be caused by a tumor or other chronic medical condition.
Stuffy Nose Symptoms
In addition to the basic symptoms of difficulty breathing through the nostrils, other symptoms may also be present with a stuffy nose. The accompanying symptoms can help determine the cause so that the right treatment can be administered.
Pressure and pain around the eyes and across the bridge of the nose can occur when a sinus infection or viral illness is present. There may also be tenderness or pain that extends down towards the eardrum or jaw if a sinus infection is a culprit. Headaches and jaw pain can also be the result of swelling in the sinus cavities.
A stuffy nose accompanied by sneezing and itchy, watery eyes are often due to allergies or hay fever. A stuffy nose with a fever indicates infection and is not likely due to a simple cold or allergies.
Preventing Stuffy Nose
There are several ways to help prevent a stuffy nose depending on the cause.
- If you tend to be congested often due to allergies, reduce exposure to allergens and use an air purifier.
- Take steps to reduce exposure to common triggers like dust mites by using protective coverings on bedding and furniture and regularly laundering linens in hot water.
- Steam wands and mops are a great non-toxic way to kill dust mites and other allergens without the use of any chemicals that could cause further problems with congestion.
A stuffy nose in the winter months may be caused by dry air irritating the nasal passages and causing inflammation.
- A humidifier can provide relief to dry, irritated sinuses.
- Many people with nasal congestion find the regular use of a neti pot helps flush sinuses and remoisturize nasal cavities.
Help for Stuffy Nose
There are several remedies that can help provide relief for a stuffy nose.
- Steam inhalation with a vaporizer can help moisturize nasal membranes, reduce swelling and open the nasal passages.
- Essential oils like camphor or eucalyptus can be inhaled to relieve congestion and clear nasal passages.
- Herbal remedies like elderberry, echinacea, and garlic can relieve congestion and inflammation naturally while boosting immunity. Also, Tea Tree Oil helps de-clog a stuffy nose.