What is a blocked nose?
What are the possible causes of a blocked nose?
The possible causes of a blocked nose include:
Less common causes of a blocked nose include swollen adenoid glands, an injury or trauma to the nose or side effects of some medications.
How is a blocked nose treated?
Whilst the most common causes of a blocked nose get better on their own, there are some treatments and remedies that can help. The following are treatment suggestions for nasal congestion:
- Steam inhalation - very carefully sitting on a chair and putting your face over a bowl of boiled water whilst breathing normally for five minutes. Be careful to avoid just boiled water as the steam can be dangerous;
- Saltwater - saline drops can help to clear a blocked nose and are available from your local pharmacy;
- Menthol vapours - there are many products containing menthol, such as Vicks, which can relieve a blocked nose;
- Nasal sprays - decongestant sprays will help to unblock the nose quickly and are available over-the-counter but mustn't be used for longer than two weeks as can cause rhinitis medicamentosa;
- Humidifiers - can add moisture to the air and may help to break up mucus.
When should I see a doctor?
In most cases of a blocked nose, such as if you have a common cold, for example, there is no need to see a doctor. Conditions like hay fever can be managed at home. It is recommended to visit your local pharmacist for some over-the-counter medication, such as antihistamines for your pollen allergy symptoms.
You should visit your GP if your nasal congestion is not getting better after 10-days of trying home remedies for a blocked nose. You might also want to see your doctor if you are not sure of the cause of your blocked nose, or if you are unwell with a very high temperature.