Nasal congestion symptoms, in addition to being uncomfortable, can alter the speech of those who suffer from it. Learn why, and treat it right away!
All people, at some point in their life, have experienced nasal congestion. It is a very frequent symptom that, in addition, can be very annoying and unpleasant. Although this sensation is due to excess thick mucus, it is not always the case.
In fact, on many occasions nasal congestion is a liquid and fluid discharge, such as a drip. The main cause of this symptom is the common cold. However, it is not the only reason it can happen. We explain everything you need to know about it.
Nasal congestion symptoms and causes
Nasal congestion, as we have pointed out, is a very common sign that can appear as a result of many reasons. Any issue that irritates or inflames the lining of the nose can cause it. In most cases it is a benign and self-limited process, such as a common cold.
According to a study conducted at the University of Chicago, the clinical syndromes that most frequently cause nasal congestion are processes in the upper airways, such as the following:
- Allergic rhinitis.
- Vasomotor rhinitis.
- Chronic sinusitis.
Allergic rhinitis is a disease similar to the common cold. That is, it causes congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, and general discomfort. However, the difference is that it is not caused by a virus, but is secondary to an alteration of the immune system.
Vasomotor rhinitis, for its part, consists of the blood vessels of the nasal mucosa being constantly engorged. This causes increased discharge which, in turn, determines nasal congestion. Sinusitis, both acute and chronic, is inflammation of the paranasal sinuses.
In these cases, it is common to use sprays that help to decongest the nose. The problem is that the very use of these sprays, in a prolonged way or used excessively, can also trigger a worsening of nasal congestion due to the rebound effect.
Any situation that irritates the mucosa of the nose, such as smoke, a foreign body located in the nose or even a draft of air that is too dry, can lead to nasal congestion. According to the MSD Manual, nasal septum deviation is also a problem frequently associated with this symptom.
Other less common diseases, such as Churg-Strauss syndrome or Wegener’s granulomatosis, are related to nasal congestion. Both pathologies are due to an alteration of the blood vessels.
Home remedies and tips
There are numerous home remedies and simple measures that help relieve and reduce nasal congestion. Ideally, avoid any substance that can further irritate the lining of the nose. Remember that the underlying problem is not always an infection, but also exposure to allergens.
For example, you have to try to stay in a room free of smoke, be it tobacco or combustion. If possible, the air should be humidified, so that the dryness inherent in certain environments is counteracted.
In addition, staying well-hydrated is essential to make the mucus more liquid and fluid. Thus, in cases in which the cause is an infection, the elimination of the mucus is quick. In many cases, serum or salt water washes may be helpful.
In an article published in Offarm Magazine, they recommend using seawater to wash the nostrils. This is because it has no toxic effect on the lining of the nose. However, although it is harmless, its effect is not as fast as that of certain medications that a professional has the ability to prescribe.
Prevention – Is it possible?
The truth is that, most of the time, nasal congestion is due to an infection of the upper respiratory tract. In this way, one of the basic prevention measures for this symptom is to try to avoid colds and flu.
For this, vaccination against certain viruses can be useful. This is what they comment on in an article in the Cuban Journal of Pediatrics, in which they mention that, in addition to reducing symptoms such as nasal congestion, there’s a reduction of the incidence of complications and even mortality.
When the cause is an allergic process, prevention is based on staying away from the substance in question that triggers the reaction. However, not all sources of congestion are preventable, although many of them can be treated. Therefore, the ideal is to always consult a doctor.
Its multiple origins
Nasal congestion is a symptom that can appear for many reasons. The main causes are respiratory infections and allergic processes. However, it can be a hormonal imbalance, a systemic illness, or an irritant such as smoke.
The differentiation between one origin and another can be simple in winter, for example, when there is circulation of flu and colds. But it is complicated in other times and in environments where factors converge, such as low humidity and the existence of passive smoking. When in doubt, it is preferable to make a consultation to evaluate the use of inhalers or medications, acute or chronic.
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