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Nasal Congestion

Nasal congestion is a common issue where irritation in or around the nose causes tissues and blood vessels to swell up. The fluid buildup can cause significant discomfort, make it harder to breathe through the nose, and result in excess mucus discharge (getting a runny nose). Often seasonal, it tends to be caused by infections (such as colds) or allergic reactions. Thankfully, nasal congestion treatment is considered to be safe and effective.

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Advice for Nasal Congestion

What is nasal congestion and what causes it?

Nasal congestion is a condition where your nasal passages close up due to inflammation in the tissues lining them, with the result being mucus production, a stuffy nose, sinus pain, and difficulty breathing. Too much thick mucus will require you to blow your nose much more often.

The inflammation that causes it is typically triggered by your immune system responding to a threat like the common cold (which leads to allergic rhinitis) or a sinus infection. It can also stem from an allergy, which is why it so often troubles people in the spring when pollen levels rise.

In some cases, nasal congestion can result not from inflammation but from the appearance of nasal polyps, benign growths that can develop in nasal passages. Standard nasal congestion treatments may be able to shrink polyps, but in more serious situations they can need surgery.

Nasal congestion will usually clear up by itself if you wait long enough, but you may want to seek advice, diagnosis or treatment if it’s bothering you significantly and preventing you from enjoying your life or getting vital work done.

What are the symptoms of nasal congestion?

Most nasal congestion symptoms will be familiar to anyone who’s suffered from hay fever or had a bad cold. If you develop a congested nose, you can expect at least some of the following:

  • Excess nasal mucus
  • More frequent sneezing
  • Difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Louder snoring
  • Loss of taste and/or smell
  • Pain in nearby areas
  • A sore throat
  • Watering eyes

Anyone experiencing nasal congestion who doesn’t notice any symptoms has such a mild case that it isn’t anything to worry about. If you’re prone to nasal congestion and believe the symptoms are imminent, though, you can start treatment early so it can take effect sooner.

How is nasal congestion diagnosed?

Nasal congestion is a condition that will affect almost everyone at some point in their life, and it’s extremely easy to diagnose due to the obvious impact of the symptoms. A stuffy nose will inevitably impact breathing, and only a blockage elsewhere in the airways — which would be much rarer — could produce a similar effect.

If you’re suffering from the primary symptoms of difficulty breathing through your nose and elevated nasal mucus production, you can be fairly sure about the issue. Overall, it’s more a case of looking for reasons to suspect anything other than nasal congestion. If there are none, it’s safe to start looking for relevant treatments.

How can I treat nasal congestion?

Because nasal congestion causes almost always involve inflammation, the most effective treatment option is generally to reduce the swelling. We stock various treatments that can relieve nasal congestion in this way.

We sell saline nasal sprays that can clean your nasal passages, clearing out irritants and reducing dryness, with Sterimar Isotonic Nasal Spray being a great choice. We also stock nasal sprays that feature decongestants capable of contracting blood vessels to reduce nasal swelling: Sudafed Blocked Nose Spray and Vicks Sinex Nasal Sprays both fit this description.

If you’d rather not use a nasal spray (if your nasal passages are very sensitive, for instance), nasal decongestants are also available in tablet form. Sudafed Decongestant Tablets are safe and reliable, while Sudafed Sinus Pressure & Pain Tablets couple the nasal decongestant component with ibuprofen for added pain relief and inflammation reduction.

If you’re suffering from severe symptoms of nasal congestion, you might want to consider steroid nasal sprays or dual-action treatments such as Actifed Multi Action Tablets. Actifed pairs a decongestant with an antihistamine that works to reduce your allergic response.

How can I prevent nasal congestion?

The commonality of nasal congestion makes it almost impossible to avoid it entirely, but there are steps you can take to make it less likely. Here are some tips:

  • Clean your nose semi-regularly. Whether using saline sprays or simple water, cleaning your nose can help keep irritants at bay. A nasal wash mustn’t be too invasive, though, as you can end up causing further irritation as an unintended consequence.
  • Guard against infections. Given how often nasal congestion is the product of the common cold, making an effort to avoid catching colds can make a big difference. Eat healthily, stay away from people who’ve recently had colds, and wash your hands often.
  • Start treatment early. If you’ve suffered from nasal congestion before, you probably have a good idea of when you’re developing a cold or an allergic reaction. The moment you feel a tickle or a twinge that tells you a blocked nose is on the way, you can start over-the-counter treatment. This won’t prevent the issue entirely, but it will mitigate it.

Latest guides for Nasal Congestion

The Best Nasal Sprays: Effective Treatment for Nasal Congestion

Scott McDougall
Written by Scott McDougall

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