Nasal Congestion

Nasal Congestion Q & A

What causes chronic nasal congestion?

Nasal congestion that's not due to a common cold and lasts for weeks on end comes from a number of underlying conditions. Allergies, sinus infection, a deviated septum and other anatomical abnormalities as well as an inflammatory condition called non-allergic rhinitis all may cause nasal congestion.

What home remedies for nasal congestion actually work?

Blowing the nose is one of the best options for nasal congestion, especially if the nose isn't too stuffed up to blow properly. The doctors at Ear Nose and Throat Specialists of Connecticut recommend that patients with allergies use allergy prevention medication and avoid allergy triggers. An over-the-counter antihistamine helps provide relief. For children, removing secretions gently with a rubber-bulb syringe might also help. Patient also can apply a warm compress to the face and sleep with the head elevated to encourage the sinuses and nasal cavity to feel less blocked. Also, rinsing the nasal passages using nasal rinse bottles or a neti pot may also help. Over-the-counter decongestants may also provide temporary relief, but don't take these products longer than recommended.Importantly, never use an over the counter decongestant spray for more than two or three days. Over the counter decongestant nasal spray addiction is a very common condition and one that can be difficult and frustrating to treat. If you are addicted to this type of nasal spray, Drs. Hecht and Astrachan have ways to deal with it and cure the condition.

How is a sinus infection different than a cold?

Both a sinus infection and the common cold can cause nasal congestion, but these are very different problems. A cold typically goes away after 5-7 days, whereas a sinus infection doesn't. Sinus infections  are most often due to bacterial growth in the sinuses, whereas colds are due to viruses.

How can someone tell the difference between a cold and a sinus infection?

Only a doctor can determine if a patient suffers from a cold or a sinus infection, and a cold may feel like a sinus infection if it causes serious congestion. However, a patient may find that they have a sinus infection when symptoms last for 10 or more days, significant green nasal discharge, high fever, and significant sinus pain. Give Dr. Astrachan and Dr. Hecht at Ear Nose and Throat Specialists of Connecticut a call with any concerns.

When does nasal congestion require a call to the doctor?

Nasal congestion from a cold requires no treatment, but patients should consider contacting their health care provider for symptoms lasting more than 10 days. Also, a high fever, green discharge accompanied by pain, or bloody discharge can indicate a sinus infection. Finally, parents should always call their pediatrician if a child younger than 2 months has serious congestion.

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