Reasons Why Your Nose Is Stuffy
Yet, opening up the nose through medical therapy or even surgery has been found to cure sleep apnea in only 10% of people. Patients will definitely feel and breathe better, but its unlikely that their sleep apnea is addressed definitively. However, I have seen many of the people in the 10% group derive significant benefits from clearing up their nasal congestion. Besides breathing better for the first time in years, opening up the nose can allow the person to tolerate and benefit from other treatment options for OSA besides CPAP.
Why Is My Nose Stuffy?
Problem #1: Deviated Nasal Septum
One of the more common reasons for a stuffy nose is due to a deviated nasal septum. A septum is a term that describes a structure that acts as a wall or separator between two cavities. Your heart has one too. No one has a perfectly flat or straight septum.
All septums, by definition, have slight irregularities or curvatures. A major reason for a crooked septum, unbeknownst to many people, even other doctors, is because your jaw never developed fully. Most people with sleep apnea have narrow upper jaws, which pushes up the roof of your mouth into your nasal cavity, which causes your septum to buckle.
If medical options dont help you to breathe better through your nose, then you may be a candidate for a septoplasty. To get a much more detailed explanation about this procedure see the accompanying article, Myth and Truths About Septoplasty.
Problem #2. Flimsy Nostrils
When To Go To A Doctor For A Sinus Infection
An untreated sinus infection can turn into a chronic infection, so its important to see the doctor if your symptoms arent improving on their own. We recommend making an appointment with your doctor if:
- Your symptoms havent improved after two days of at-home treatment
- You have cold symptoms that last for 10 days
- You have a fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
- Youre experiencing severe pain in the upper part of your face or your teeth
- You have facial pain from the bridge of your nose to your lower eyelid
- You notice thick and discolored mucus
- You have mild face pain for a month or longer
What Causes Nasal Polyps
While the exact cause of nasal polyps is not yet established, they have been linked to prolonged inflammation of the lining of the nose and sinuses, also known as chronic rhinosinusitis. Rhinosinusitis can be related to many different factors from allergens to upper respiratory tract infections and even secondhand smoke. In some people, these contaminants trigger an abnormal immune response that leads to excessive swelling of the nasal lining in the form of nasal polyps.
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Are Some People More Prone To Developing Nasal Polyps
Cystic fibrosis is one of the conditions that may predispose a person to developing nasal polyps. Other conditions include asthma and sensitivity to aspirin that, together with nasal polyps, form Samters Triad, also known as aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease. People who have Samters Triad suffer from severe asthma accompanied by nasal polyps. They also frequently develop an allergy-like reaction to aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
If You Want A Decongestant
If you dont have underlying health concerns that prevent you from taking a decongestant, heres how to stop feeling so dazed in the cold remedies aisle.
Know that there are two types of OTC decongestants, both of which constrict blood vessels, says Zhou.
Pseudoephedrine is OTC, but pharmacists have to keep it behind the counter and note its purchase . It not only constricts blood vessels, it also somewhat works on the lungs to help open those. It has two mechanisms of action that help you breathe better, she says.
Phenylephrine, the other main type of decongestant that you can just pluck off the shelf, doesnt have that lung action.
The trouble with these at night is that theyre stimulants. So for PM or nighttime formulations, drug companies add something to the meds that help you sleep. If you dont like or need those sedating additions, theres a hack you can try with daytime meds, says Zhou. Try taking a 12-hour formulation about 11 or 12 hours before you want to sleep. It may keep your nose from being blocked long enough to get you to sleep, and hopefully a stuffy nose wont awaken you in the middle of the night.
What about combination products? Those cold meds with something for cough, headache, and congestion? I like combination products if you truly need every ingredient in there, says Zhou. But in general, when it comes to cold medications, more isnt better. Get just the ingredients you need to breathe easier.
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Are Nasal Polyps Dangerous
There is no evidence that nasal polyps are life-threatening. However, they can be a big inconvenience and can interfere with the normal drainage and ventilation of your sinuses. The mucus produced by the sinuses is meant to wash away irritants and contaminants from the nasal passages. If nasal polyps get too big, they may block the normal flow of mucus and cause it to build up and become infected, further worsening your sinus issues.
Stuffy Nose During The Winter
Being in a cold environment does not cause a stuffy nose. Rather, stuffiness in the winter is usually the result of getting lots of colds or more active allergies during wintertime. During the cold winter months, people spend more time inside, which means more exposure to dust, allergens, and cold germs. A runny nose might be more common in the winter months, but may not be directly related to the season.
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What Causes A Stuffy Nose
When we talk about a stuffy nose, whats really going on is that the tissue lining the inside of the nose is swollen, or there is a buildup of mucus in the nose. Both of these result in a stuffy nose, which can make it hard to breathe, hear, and, when that tissue gets really swollen, to sleep at night.
Although theres no one singular thing that causes this swelling, common causes of a stuffy nose are:
- The common cold
- Foregin objects in the nasal cavity
Your Stuffy Nose Doesn’t Respond To Allergy Medication
As allergist Sara Narayan, MD, wrote in an article for Emerson Hospital in Massachusetts, one surefire sign that your nasal congestion might be caused by COVID is when you take allergy medication and it doesn’t provide any relief. That’s a pretty good indication that your stuffy nose is being caused by something other than allergies. And for help treating coronavirus if you do become infected, check out This Common Medication Could Save You From Deadly COVID Complications.
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Diagnosing And Treating A Persistent Stuffy Nose
During your ENT consultation, your childs doctor will review all of your childs symptoms with you and ask questions that will help determine if theres a pattern to their symptoms. An examination will be done, and testing may be recommended. Common tests include allergy testing, nasal endoscopy, x-rays and CT scans.
Once the cause has been determined, noninvasive treatments are prioritized whenever possible. For concerns like allergies and deviated septums, antihistamine, decongestant and anti-inflammatory medication could be indicated. Allergy shots may be recommended for children with severe allergies if they dont respond well to medication. In cases of adenoid hypertrophy, severe septum deviation and choanal atresia, your childs doctor may discuss surgery with you.
An aching face and a stuffed up nose are an uncomfortable distraction and possible sleep disruption for a child that needs to learn and grow. If your child seems to have a chronic nasal blockage, make an appointment with Pediatric ENT of Oklahoma today.
What Triggers Nasal Congestion
The short answer is many things trigger nasal congestion. Thats because your nose is on the front line when it comes to protecting your body from intruders. Your nose takes in air that may carry dirt, particles and allergens. The inside of your nose houses a battalion of hair and cilia that snare intruders, sending them to your nostrils. When you sneeze or blow your nose, youre kicking intruders out of your system. Sometimes, your nose hair and cilia dont catch all intruders. When that happens, the tissue lining the inside of your nose becomes inflamed and starts to swell. Then, your immune system kicks in, flooding your nose with mucus thats intended to wash away intruders. Swollen nasal tissues and mucus combine to block your nose, making your condition worse.
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When To Contact A Medical Professional
Contact your provider for any of the following:
- A stuffy nose with swelling of the forehead, eyes, side of the nose, or cheek, or that occurs with blurred vision
- More throat pain, or white or yellow spots on the tonsils or other parts of the throat
- Discharge from the nose that has a bad smell, comes from only one side, or is a color other than white or yellow
- Cough that lasts longer than 10 days, or produces yellow-green or gray mucus
- Nasal discharge following a head injury
- Symptoms that last more than 3 weeks
- Nasal discharge with fever
Nasal Congestion Relief At Night
Experiencing periods of nighttime nasal congestion does not mean that you have to resign yourself to nights filled with restless sleep. No matter the reason that you or your children experience a stuffy nose around bedtime, there are steps that you can take to help you and your family breathe more easily during the night and get better, more restful sleep.
For adults, here are some common home care tips adapted from the NIH:
- Arrange your pillows so that you can sleep with your head elevated.
- Use a humidifier to keep the air from becoming too dry in your bedroom. This will help keep your nasal cavity from drying out.
- Drink clear fluids throughout the day, especially those without sugar, alcohol or caffeine, to keep mucus thin and help drain it from your nose.
- Remove mucus with the help of a nasal wash, using a saline nasal spray
If you have allergies, you can avoid allergy triggers by decreasing the presence of allergens in your room with regular cleaning. Additionally, an air purifier like Molekule may help reduce the levels of airborne allergens in your bedroom.
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What Kind Of Stuff Clears Up A Stuffy Nose
Have you ever heard this? Mobby, by doze id stubbed ub. A stuffed up nose can make these and other words sound incredibly cute, but the symptoms of nasal congestion arent much fun! This time of year, clogged noses are usually caused by upper respiratory viral infections. In most cases, that means there isnt a whole lot you can do to speed up the healing process, but you do have some options when it comes to stuffy symptom relief. As an ear, nose and throat specialist, here are a few of my top recommendations.
Hydrate. Parents know to give their kids plenty of liquids when they are sick but one of the best stuffy nose solutions is to keep nasal tissues moist, too. Saline spray or drops given every few hours can help clear up nasal passages, thin the mucus, and shrink swollen tissues and unlike cold medications, its safe for babies and kids of all ages. Running a cool mist vaporizer at night in your childs bedroom can also help as well.
Grab Some Tissues. After youve used saline sprays or a humidifier to soften dried mucus membranes and nasal passages, toddlers and older kids can usually be encouraged to blow their nose. Use a bulb suction on infants or small children who arent able to blow. Delicate skin around the nostrils chap easily, so use soft facial tissues and dab petroleum jelly around the nose and upper lip to protect them.
Allergies And Nighttime Nasal Congestion
Not only does lying down increase your symptoms of nasal congestion, but your allergy symptoms can also worsen during the night, causing a runny or stuffy nose as well as coughing or sneezing that make it difficult to get a good nights sleep. The bodys production of certain allergy-regulating hormones differs, depending on where it is in the sleep-wake cycle. When you are fully awake, you produce more of these hormones, and when we are getting close to sleeping, the production of these hormones starts to dip, leaving our bodies more susceptible to allergic reactions .
Your bodys reactions to pollen, pet dander, mold and dust mites can become more severe during the night. While partly caused by the dip in allergy-regulating hormones, there are other factors that contribute to this as well. For instance, dust mites are typically concentrated in mattresses and pillows, meaning that you are exposed to them consistently all night long. Because of this, someone with a dust mite allergy may notice that their symptoms become worse at night and when they first wake up in the morning. Additionally, if you have a pet that has a habit of sleeping on your bed, there will be a higher concentration of pet dander there. The hours of nighttime exposure may cause an allergic reaction.
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When To Seek Medical Treatment
Are Sinus Infections Contagious
A sinus infection caused by a virus is contagious. When you sneeze or cough, the virus can travel in droplets of moisture through the air. If another person breathes in the virus, they might develop a cold that turns into a sinus infection. In order to limit the spread of sinus infections, remember to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. And wash your hands frequently to avoid leaving the virus on objects that you touch.
If your sinus infection is caused by a bacteria or fungus, its not contagious. But you should still wash your hands frequently and cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze.
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Things You Can Do If You Have Non
Non-allergic rhinitis is not harmful, but it can affect your life.
You can often treat it without seeing a GP.
Try to avoid the things that trigger your symptoms, if you can.
A pharmacist can advise you about medicines that can help, such as:
- nasal sprays to unblock your nose
- salt water nasal sprays or solutions to rinse out the inside of your nose
You can buy nasal sprays without a prescription, but they should not be used for more than a week. Using them for longer than this can make the problem worse.
If you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you feel better.
Do Nasal Polyps Hurt Or Bleed
If they are true benign nasal polyps, then you shouldnt experience any pain or bleeding, Dr. Kim says. However, there are other benign and cancerous masses that may grow in sinuses and nasal passages and disguise themselves as nasal polyps, such as an inverted papilloma or sinus cancer . If you are experiencing unexplained pain and bleeding in your nose, dont ignore it, especially if its just on one side of your nose. Your ENT may need to perform a biopsy if the growth looks suspicious.
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How To Treat A Sinus Infection At Home
Many sinus infections go away on their own. You can try some of these treatments at home to help you manage your symptoms and feel more comfortable.
- Press a warm, moist towel to your face for 5-10 minutes every day. This can help reduce swelling and pain.
- Drink lots of water and other fluids. This can help thin your mucus and reduce congestion.
- Breathe in warm, humid air. Using a humidifier helps, or you can take a hot shower or bath.
- Try clearing your nasal passages with a saline solution . A saline wash helps clear your nasal packages and reduces congestion. You can buy saline drops at your local pharmacy or make your own saline solution at home.
- Over-the-counter pain medicine like Tylenol and Advil can help reduce pain and manage other symptoms, like a fever or headaches.