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Stuffy Nose Can Mean Many Things

Has your honker ever been so congested that it barely qualified as a tweeter?

Nasal congestion goes by many different names -- including stuffy nose and nasal obstruction -- and has many causes. Most cases of nasal congestion are caused by a virus and the congestion typically disappears within a week, says the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Nasal congestion can range from being an annoyance to a life-threatening condition. For example, it can interfere with nursing and cause dangerous respiratory distress for the first few months of an infant's life.

In older children and adolescents, nasal congestion may cause problems with hearing and speech development. It can also interfere with sleep.

Nasal congestion caused by influenza or the common cold is often accompanied by clear, watery discharge and a variety of other symptoms such as cough, fever, headache, sore throat and joint and muscle aches, the NLM says.

There is no medication that can cure influenza or the common cold. However, you can relieve the congestion with non-prescription drugs such as decongestants, acetaminophen, nose drops and sprays, cough remedies and throat lozenges.

Other ways to deal with nasal congestion include: drink lots of water or other fluids, rest as much as possible, and use a vaporizer or humidifier to increase indoor air moisture.

Hay fever can also cause nasal congestion. In those cases, the congestion is accompanied by clear, watery discharge, itching eyes and sneezing.

To treat stuffy noses caused by hay fever, you need to avoid exposure to as many allergens as possible. These allergens may include pets, certain foods, dust and pollen. Antihistamines and decongestants don't cure hay fever, but they can relieve symptoms.

A sinus infection can also cause nasal congestion. Along with congestion, signs of a sinus infection are thick, cloudy, yellow-green nasal discharge and pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones that worsens when you bend forward.

More information

Here's where you can find out much more about your nose.

Reference Source 101


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