North Hills ENT

Stuffy Nose

A stuffy nose is a condition that doctors call nasal congestion, and it can have several causes. Although most people think they have a cold when they get a stuffy nose, this symptom can occur from a number of health conditions. With a stuffy nose, the membranes of the nasal passages get inflamed from excess mucus or from an irritating element.

Causes and Concerns

One cause of stuffy nose is infection, and the common cold is the most common type. A cold is caused by a virus. Therefore, antibiotics are not needed or recommended. A cold usually lasts about a week - give or take a few days. With the help of over the counter medications, plenty of fluids and rest, you should start to feel better within a few days. The average child will catch up to six colds a year, and the average adult will catch up to three colds a year. A sinus infection (sinusitis) is the most common type of bacterial nasal infection, and this can also lead to a stuffy nose. If your cold lasts more than seven days, you should seek medical evaluation.

Allergic rhinitis caused by allergies is the second most common cause of a stuffy nose. An allergy is an inflammatory reaction to a pollutant whether it is environmental (grass, dust, pollen, hay fever, mold, or pet dander). If over the counter medications (such as Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra) do not work for you, then our allergy specialists may prescribe a prescription allergy medication. If those fail, allergy shots are also an option.

Another cause of stuffy nose is vasomotor rhinitis, and it occurs when the nasal passages become inflamed (swollen.) During an allergy attack or reaction, the blood vessels in the nose enlarge and cause the membranes in the nose to become blocked resulting in a stuffy nose. Avoidance of airway irritants usually helps with this form of stuffy nose. Sometimes prescription nasal sprays can help.

The fourth cause of a stuffy nose is structural abnormalities, such as a deviated septum. Surgery is often the only option to correct structural abnormities of the nasal passages.

Symptoms and Signs

With a sinus infection, you may experience a fever, headache, pain behind your eyes, discomfort in the forehead area, or pain in your cheeks. If these symptoms occur, you need to be evaluated by a medical professional.

With allergic rhinitis, symptoms include a stuffy nose, runny nose, and watery eyes. If you have a persistent stuffy nose from allergies, we can help. Consider seeing one of our providers for an evaluation.

Summary

No one likes to suffer with a stuffy nose, especially if treatment is an option. If you or someone you love has a persistent stuffy nose, you could have an infection or persistent allergies. Call today and let one of our specialists help you find solutions to your symptoms.

Call us at 817-595-3700 to schedule an appointment.

Additional Reading:

 http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/stuffyNose.cfm