During the changing of seasons, many people suffer from allergies or nasal congestion. When stuffy noses and blocked sinuses don’t clear up, constant congestion sets in and can become quite a nuisance. It can also cause headaches, facial pain, and affect your breathing or sense of smell.
The inflammation of sinuses, often referred to as chronic sinusitis, is a common condition. There are a variety of reasons for congestion that persists: allergy, infection, a structural abnormality in your nose’s anatomy, or a misuse of decongestant spray.
Typically, allergic rhinitis is the cause of congestion. This condition becomes chronic if it persists for over 12 weeks, and includes major symptoms such as facial pressure or smell impairment accompanied by minor symptoms like headache, fatigue, fever, cough, or dental pain.
A viral infection is what most people associate with the common cold. Infections are sometimes transmitted through the air, but usually from hand-to-nose contact. Sinus infections include nasal congestion and thick discharge, and can include pain behind the eyes, in the cheeks and upper teeth, or around the forehead. Antihistamines and decongestants can help manage cold symptoms, but since there is no “cure,” it’s often best to just let them run their course.
Structural abnormalities can be present at birth, but may also arise after an injury. In children, enlargement of the adenoids (tonsil-like tissue in the back of the nose) is the most common nasal obstruction. In adults, nasal polyps can form as a hyperactive immune response to irritants like allergens, cigarette smoke, or dust.
Finally, nasal decongestant spray should only be used for three days maximum, because the membranes in your nose may become reliant on the medication. This can make it harder to relieve congestion on your own.
Breathe easier this fall and winter! For more information on chronic congestion or to schedule a consultation, call Marvel Clinic at (931) 455-2005.