Stuffy nose or a nasal congestion is a condition where the air passages get blocked due to underlying causes. This makes breathing difficult and can in some cases prevent any air from passing in through the nose. For these people, breathing through the mouth is the only option till the nasal passages are cleared.
Nasal congestion may be caused due to infection. A common cold or flu can result in getting a stuffy nose. Viral infections are more common during childhood, as the immune system is weaker. However, with age, viral infections may not occur as commonly. During such an infection the sinuses are filled with water and swell up. This causes the airways to get blocked. While decongestants and antihistamines can be an effective way for temporary relief from the discomfort, a stuffy nose usually clears off on its own after a few days or weeks at the most.
Acute and chronic sinus infections can also cause the stuffy nose. While the acute form of sinus infection can be treated using medication, the chronic kind needs to be corrected through a small surgery in the nasal cavity. This is because for patients with chronic forms of the condition, small fleshy growths, known as polyps, are formed inside the nose. These polyps can only be removed through an operative procedure.
Depending on the cause for the nasal congestion and the duration of the same, a person can try to find relief from the condition through several means.
Nasal Wash- patients at home generally use Neti pots or nasal irrigation kits, in a bid to find some relief. Such items will help clear the mucus from within the nose and clear out the nasal air passages. A saline solution can also be used alongside the wash to increase effectiveness of the same, the solution can be created at home using water, baking soda and salt.
Steam- The vapour or steam can aid to thin mucus inside the nose and clear it out. For the best effect, take boiling water in a bowl and sit over the bowl with a towel on your head. Breathe in the steam. This process can be repeated 3-4 times each day.
Chicken soup- A bowl of hot chicken soup will not only make you feel better, but will also open those nasal passageways. Even though, people see no connection between the two, the chicken soup can help a lot, no matter the illness that you suffer from.
If the stuffy nose persists for more than a couple of weeks, you should visit a doctor to treat the same.
People who are suffering from stuffy nose can try out the procedures for the treatment. However, medical aid is only needed if the patient has been suffering from a stuffy nose for more than 2 weeks.
People who suffer from a stuffy nose for longer periods of time may be suffering from chronic sinus infections. Such an infection can only be cured to operative procedures.
People suffering from a common cold or flu do not need to seek medical treatment for the stuffy nose. The treatment for the underlying cause is enough to cure the nasal congestion as well.
Treatment to the stuffy nose can have certain side effects. However, there are no severe effects from the medication. For instance, nasal decongestants may cause runny nose, irritation at the back of the throat, sneezing and similar side effects.
There are no post-treatment guidelines to follow as such for a stuffy nose. However, if the same was caused due to an allergen, patients should take care to avoid the trigger.
At most, a stuffy nose will take around a month to be cured. However, if the same has been caused due to a common cold or allergic reaction, the condition may go away sooner
Treatment usually costs around Rs. 100 to Rs. 500 in most cases. However, in case of chronic sinus infections, the cost of treatment may be greater as surgery is required. In such a case, Rs. 5000 to Rs. 10,000 may be required.
Results are not permanent. Stuffy nose can return at anytime when a person contracts a common cold or flu.
Stuffy nose generally does not require the use of traditional medication in order to get cured. In fact patients can simply bear the symptoms for a week or two, after which the condition is cured automatically. Using the steam treatment and the saline nasal wash may be enough to rectify the condition.