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- What Causes Blocked Nasal Passages
- Symptoms of Blocked Nasal Passages
- Preventing Blocked Nasal Passages
- Help for Blocked Nasal Passages
What Causes Blocked Nasal Passages
Blocked nasal passages occur when there is inflammation of the membranes inside the nose. When blood vessels become inflamed, swelling obstructs the nasal passages, making it difficult or impossible to breathe through the nose.
Nasal congestion varies in severity from a minor annoyance to a more serious, potentially life-threatening condition. Babies who struggle with blocked nasal passages while feeding can sometimes develop a form of respiratory distress. Chronic nasal congestion can lead to other conditions like headaches, facial pain and snoring.
Nasal congestion is usually triggered by allergies or viral illness. Sometimes a deviated nasal septum or the presence of a foreign body can cause blocked nasal passages. Overuse of nasal sprays has also been linked to chronic congestion. In very rare instances, blocked nasal passages may be caused by a tumor or other more serious medical condition.
Symptoms of Blocked Nasal Passages
In addition to the basic symptoms of difficulty breathing through the nostrils, other symptoms may also be present. Pressure or pain in the face, especially around the eyes and across the bridge of the nose, can occur if the blocked nasal passages are due to a sinus infection or viral illness. Fever may also be present.
Headache and pain in the jaws can also occur when there is swelling in the sinuses. Nasal congestion due to an allergic reaction may be accompanied by sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. The accompanying symptoms can help determine the cause of a stuffy nose.
Preventing Blocked Nasal Passages
There are several ways to help prevent blocked nasal passages, depending on the cause. If you tend to be congested due to allergies, reduce exposure to allergens and use an air purifier. Ensure common triggers like dust mites are kept to a minimum. Launder bed linens frequently in hot water and sweep regularly with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner. Steam wands and mops are also excellent for killing dust mites and other allergens without the use of cleaning chemicals.
A humidifier in the winter months can help soothe irritated nasal passages caused by dry air. Many people find relief using natural products like neti pots to regularly flush the sinuses and moisturize them with a saline solution.
Help for Blocked Nasal Passages
There are several remedies that can help provide relief for blocked nasal passages. Steam inhalation with a vaporizer can help moisturize nasal membranes, reduce swelling and open the nasal passages. Essential oils like camphor or eucalyptus can be inhaled to relieve congestion. Herbal remedies like elderberry, echinacea and garlic can also relieve blocked nasal passages and fight inflammation.