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August 20, 2019

Five possible reasons for persistent congestion

Sorting through the causes – and how to get relief

Prevention Congestion
Allergies Running Nose Cold 08202019 Public domain image/from Pexels


That stuffy head, runny nose feeling can be a real pain. Do you suffer from persistent congestion even when you are not sick with a cold or the flu? Unfortunately, there are many possible reasons to consider in finding a cause.

According to the Mayo Clinic, "nasal congestion can be caused by anything that irritates or inflames the nasal tissues."

Here are five possible reasons for persistent congestion. (Sources include the Mayo Clinic, American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Johns Hopkins Medicine, National Sleep Foundation and Harvard Health.)

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Often allergies are to blame for your stuffed nose. Allergic rhinitis can cause sneezing, congestion, a runny nose and itching in the nose. Common triggers include pollen, pet dander, mold and dust mites.


The Mayo Clinic describes a deviated septum as when "the thin wall (nasal septum) between your nasal passages is displaced to one side." If you have a deviated septum, you will notice that one of your nostrils will look bigger than the other. Medications can help open nasal passages but surgery is needed to fully correct the problem.


Nasal polyps – defined as benign (noncancerous) growths that may form inside nasal passages and sinuses – might also be a cause of persistent congestion. They usually develop in clusters on either side of the nose or sometimes both sides.


Pay attention to when the congestion occurs. It could be what you are eating and drinking that is inflaming the membranes in your nose. Alcohol, spicy foods and dairy products are all known to cause or worsen nasal congestion.


Congestion from allergies, according to the National Sleep Foundation, is linked to obstructive sleep apnea, a condition where your breathing stops briefly while you are sleeping. A serious condition, it can cause havoc on your overall health if not treated.

Besides treating any underlying conditions, there are ways to get some temporary relief from congestion:

• Irrigating your nasal passages
• Stay hydrated
• Take a hot shower and inhale the steam
 Sleeping with an extra pillow to keep your head elevated.

If you suffer from persistent nasal congestion and you are not sure why, schedule an evaluation with your doctor.

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