What is nasal congestion?
If you’re suffering from a stuffy head and pain in your sinuses while you have a cold or flu, chances are you’re dealing with nasal congestion. When you’re all stuffed up, the simple act of breathing can be difficult. On top of that, you might feel tired and just plain dreary.
But what is nasal congestion, exactly? Nasal congestion (or “stuffy nose”) is often called “rhinitis” by healthcare providers. “Rhino” is a Greek prefix meaning the nose, and “–itis” refers to inflammation. Therefore, rhinitis is the inflammation of the linings of the nasal cavity.
What causes nasal congestion?
Nasal congestion is caused by viruses and bacteria when you have a cold or flu, or by allergens like dust and pollen. These intruders cause inflammation in the nasal passageways, which creates swelling that greatly reduces or even blocks the airflow through the nostrils. In addition to inflammation, nasal congestion is also the result of dilation (enlargement) of the large blood vessels (veins) in the nose that shrink the volume of the nasal cavity and reduce airflow. Contrary to the common belief that excess mucus is the primary cause of a stuffy nose, it is in fact the swelling of the nasal lining that leads to nasal congestion.
What are the symptoms of nasal congestion?
If you have nasal congestion with your cold or flu, you will likely experience a stuffy or runny nose and pain in your forehead and under your eyes. You may also feel tired and have difficulty breathing through your nose.
How long does nasal congestion last?
If your nasal congestion is due to viruses or bacteria, it will likely last as long your cold or flu (anywhere from five to 10 days). If your nasal congestion is the result of allergies, it may last longer. Taking a nasal decongestant can help control your symptoms.
How can I prevent nasal congestion?
You can help prevent nasal congestion due to cold and flu viruses by practicing good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently, avoid sharing drinking glasses or utensils, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers and avoid close contact with people who are sick. If your nasal congestion is allergy-related, it’s best to avoid allergens (such as dust, pollen, and smoke) that may irritate your nasal passageways. Using a good humidifier and nasal saline sprays or rinses can also help with nasal congestion due to allergies.
How can I treat nasal congestion?
Nonprescription vasoconstrictors, such as phenylephrine, relieve nasal congestion by shrinking the inflamed linings (or “mucosa”) of the nose through a process called “vasoconstriction” (constriction of the blood vessels). Shrinking these tissues opens the airways, reducing resistance and improving airflow.
For fast relief, try QlearQuil Daytime Sinus Congestion Relief—the non-drowsy formula contains an effective pain reliever and phenylephrine, which can safely and effectively clear up nasal congestion. If your sinus congestion is worse at night, try QlearQuil Nighttime Sinus & Congestion Relief. In addition to a pain reliever and decongestant, it contains an antihistamine to help stop sneezing and a runny nose so you can rest easier. Although QlearQuil Daytime and Nighttime do not cure nasal congestion, they both can help relieve your symptoms.