Table of contents:
- Main symptoms
- Causes of nasal congestion
- How the treatment is done
- Possible complications of nasal congestion
Nasal congestion, also popularly known as stuffy nose, is a very common situation in case of respiratory tract infection and allergies, as these conditions cause inflammation of the nasal mucosa and blood vessels, increasing the production of mucus, which accumulates and can make breathing difficult.
This situation can be accompanied by symptoms such as snoring, sleep apnea, cough, fever and sore throat, in addition to making breastfeeding difficult for babies. If nasal congestion lasts longer than 1 week and is not properly treated, sinusitis can result, which should be treated with antibiotics as directed by your doctor.
Thus, it is important that in case of nasal congestion, the doctor is consulted, because in this way it is possible to evaluate other symptoms that may be present, identify the cause and indicate the use of medication, such as nasal decongestants or medication for relieve symptoms.
Nasal congestion can appear at any time and be accompanied by some symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, snoring, difficulty in breastfeeding, in the case of babies, and sleep apnea, which is a situation characterized by the momentary stop of breathing during sleep. Learn more about sleep apnea.
In addition, depending on the cause of nasal congestion, it is possible that other symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough, sneezing, runny nose, headache and body ache and excessive tiredness, for example, may arise.
Thus, in the presence of nasal congestion and associated symptoms, it is recommended that the general practitioner or otolaryngologist be consulted, as it is possible for an assessment of the symptoms presented and tests to be carried out that can help identify the cause.
Causes of nasal congestion
Nasal congestion occurs due to inflammation of the nasal mucosa, internal structures of the nose and blood vessels in this region, resulting in local swelling and increased production of mucus, which causes difficulty breathing. The main causes of nasal congestion are:
- Upper respiratory tract infection, i.e. that affects the nose and throat, such as flu, cold, pneumonia and whooping cough;
- Respiratory allergy, such as allergy to pet hair, pollen and dust, for example;
- Prolonged and frequent use of nasal decongestants;
- Nose changes such as deviated septum and nasal polyps;
In addition, some situations, despite not being able to cause nasal congestion, can stimulate this change, such as environmental pollution, dry weather and sudden changes in temperature.
Nasal congestion and COVID-19
COVID-19 is a disease that causes inflammation in the body, including the respiratory system, so some people may experience nasal congestion as one of the symptoms of infection. In addition to nasal congestion, COVID-19 can have symptoms such as fever, sore throat, headache, general malaise, cough and, in the most serious cases, difficulty breathing. Know how to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19.
How the treatment is done
Treatment for nasal congestion can be done through home measures or through medication indicated by the doctor and, therefore, it is important that the general practitioner or otorhinolaryngologist is consulted for an evaluation and, thus, indicated the most appropriate treatment.
The main home treatment for nasal congestion that may be indicated by the doctor is nasal washing with warm s alt water, vaporization and increased water consumption during the day.
In addition, the doctor may recommend, in some situations, the use of seawater solutions, as they have anti-inflammatory and antiallergic properties, reducing the symptoms of nasal congestion.
Check out other options for home remedies to unclog your nose.
Remedies for Nasal Congestion
Treatment with drugs may vary according to the cause of nasal congestion and associated symptoms, and the use of vasoconstrictor drugs may be indicated, via nasal or oral route, with the aim of making the blood vessels of the nose return to its normal size, relieving nasal congestion and making breathing easier.
Some medications that may be indicated are Phenylephrine, Oxymetazoline or Pseudoephedrine, for example, nasal decongestants being more used than oral decongestants due to side effects, since the oral use of this type of medication can cause changes in heartbeat, arrhythmia and increased blood pressure in some cases.
Although they are often indicated, the use of decongestants is not recommended in cases of hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and for people who are using monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) drugs. Use during pregnancy and breastfeeding must be evaluated by a physician.
In addition, in case nasal congestion has been associated with infections, the use of antibiotics or antivirals may be indicated, in addition to the use of antihistamines, in case of congestion due to allergy, and use of analgesic drugs and/or antipyretics, according to the symptoms presented
Possible complications of nasal congestion
Nasal congestion can lead to the development of complications if not treated correctly or when treatment is started late or not performed as directed by the physician.
Thus, as a consequence of nasal congestion, it is possible to develop sinusitis, which is an inflammation of the mucosa of the paranasal sinuses that can have as symptoms headache, runny nose and heaviness in the head and face. Know how to recognize the symptoms of sinusitis.
In children, the main complication is the decrease in hearing capacity, since the structures of the nose are linked to those of the ear, so that the inflammation of the nose could cause a change in the perception of sound and, in more bass, the development of speech.
Prolonged and frequent use of nasal decongestants can also cause rebound congestion, which is characterized by the loss of drug function. That is, instead of promoting congestion relief, this remedy causes the nasal mucosa to remain inflamed, making the symptoms persistent.