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Nasal Congestion

West Shore ENT & Allergy

Otolaryngology & Allergy Specialists located in Norton Shores, Muskegon, Grand Haven, Fremont, & Ludington, MI

Nasal congestion is one of the more uncomfortable symptoms of a cold. It isn’t dangerous but it makes breathing difficult, interfering with your daily activities and your ability to sleep. At West Shore ENT & Allergy in Norton Shores, Grand Haven, Fremont, Ludington, and Muskegon, Michigan, the team offers treatments to open your airways and improve airflow. If you're suffering from a blocked nasal passage, call the office or use the online scheduling tool to make an appointment today.

Nasal Congestion Q & A

What is nasal congestion?

Nasal congestion, commonly called a stuffy nose, is a blockage of your nasal passage. It happens when your nasal tissues become swollen with excess fluid and its symptoms include:

  • Nasal blockage
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Sinus pain
  • Itchy nose

Nasal congestion is more dangerous in infants because it interferes with their breathing that isn’t fully developed and can lead to fatal breathing problems. If your baby has nasal congestion, contact West Shore ENT & Allergy right away.

What causes nasal congestion?

Nasal congestion is caused by foreign particles and germs that enter the nose and cause inflammation and swelling that blocks the airflow through each nostril. 

Nasal congestion can also be due to expanding blood vessels that shrink the volume of your nasal passage. This restricts airflow and makes it harder to breathe.

Some things that commonly cause congestion are:

  • Bacterial and viral infections
  • Allergies
  • Common colds
  • Medications
  • Nasal polyps

In adults, abnormalities like a deviated septum — crooked cartilage that separates your nasal passages — can also cause congestion. Very rarely, tumors cause nasal congestion but you should work with your doctor to determine the cause of your condition before seeking treatment.

How long does nasal congestion last?

If your congestion is because of a virus or bacteria, it lasts as long as the infection, usually 7-10 days. Your congestion will last longer if it’s caused by allergies, and you could need medication to help get rid of it.

How do you treat nasal congestion?

Your treatment depends on the cause of your symptoms. If your congestion is triggered by something you can avoid, like cats, then minimizing your exposure to the allergen helps control your symptoms enough that you don’t need additional treatment.

Most cases of nasal congestion are cleared up by home remedies, especially when the cause is a common cold. If your congestion is not serious, your doctor could suggest using:

  • Decongestant medication
  • Antihistamines
  • A neti pot
  • A humidifier
  • Saline nasal spray

If your doctor prescribes a course of medication, follow the directions and take the entire course, even if your symptoms have disappeared.

Most of the time, your congestion will go away after a week of following these treatments. However, you’ll need medical treatment if it continues and you experience:

  • High fever
  • Blocked nasal passages
  • A bluish skin tint
  • Quick, noisy breathing
  • Breathing difficulty

Avoid irritants like cigarette smoke and drink plenty of water to help thin your mucus, making it easier to expel.

If you’re suffering from nasal congestion and the many issues it causes, call the office or use the online scheduling tool to make an appointment at West Shore ENT & Allergy today.