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Why is my nose stuffed up if I don’t have the flu?

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Nasal congestion is caused by inflammation of the blood vessels or tissues lining the nostrils. This stuffiness may be accompanied by rhinorrhea; that is, nasal or postnasal discharge, which is when mucus runs down the back of the throat.  

In any case, this symptom can occur for various causes such as common cold, flu, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, nasal polyps, vasomotor rhinitis, and excessive use of nasal sprays. 

Therefore, it is important to highlight that if nasal congestion occurs without an apparent cold or flu cause, the condition should be evaluated to diagnose and treat the cause in order to recover the quality of life and avoid complications.

Setbacks of nasal congestion

Nasal obstruction can cause various discomforts that diminish the patient’s quality of life and health, such as sleep disruption, headache, skin irritation and other symptoms that can be associated with infection caused by the inability to drain mucus. 

It is important that the anatomical conditions of the nose can easily expel the mucus generated and allow a constant flow of air into the lungs, because any condition that impairs this natural function can complicate health. 

When the nose becomes blocked without any apparent trace of flu or cold and the symptoms remain for more than seven days, it is advisable to see an ENT specialist to identify the root cause of the obstruction. 

Remember that nasal polyps, vasomotor rhinitis and sinusitis can represent a major health problem if not treated in time. 

Other reasons for a stuffy nose

Conditions you may be suffering from if you feel your nose is frequently or for long periods of time:

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Sinusitis or sinus infection:

This pathology occurs when the tissues lining the sinuses become inflamed and prevent mucus from circulating and being expelled. This accumulation ends in an infection that can cause fever, inflammation, blurred vision, etc.

When the sinuses become blocked, causing nasal obstruction and preventing normal breathing, various anatomical situations can lead to sinusitis. 

An ENT specialist should perform the appropriate tests to identify the cause of the infection and perform the treatment they deem appropriate. 

Allergic rhinitis:

This condition has an apparent external cause. The allergen produces an inflammation in the tissues of the nose and causes nasal blockage. The treatment is simple, but it is often complicated if not taken seriously. 

To avoid allergic rhinitis, the allergen must be identified and specific treatment must be followed. 

Vasomotor rhinitis or non-allergic rhinopathy:

It is a type of non-allergic rhinitis that produces the same symptoms as allergic rhinitis but does not have an exact cause. To diagnose it, the doctor must perform some tests to rule out allergies and to determine the best treatment. 

Some causes of this non-allergic inflammation can be strong odors, spicy foods, strong emotions, air pollution. 

Nasal polyps:

They are benign tumors; that is to say, non-cancerous that form around the paranasal sinuses. When they are small, they can go unnoticed, but if they are big, they can cause nasal obstructions without apparent and continuous cause. 

People suffering from allergic rhinitis, asthma and infections such as sinusitis are more prone to develop polyps, although no direct cause has been found so far.  

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What should I do if I have a stuffy nose without the flu?

The initial recommendation is to evaluate your condition carefully. If you have 1 or 3 days with the obstruction, you can try some home care such as:

If discomfort continues for more than 7 days with these home remedies or symptoms worsen in less time, such as you begin to feel facial or head pain, fever, fatigue or dizziness, it’s time to see a doctor.

Make an appointment right away! Don't waste any more time and let Dr. Lech, otolaryngologist in Panama, help you relieve your discomfort

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