Stuffy Nose 1

Monday, February 21, 2011

Nasal congestion, stuffiness or obstruction to nasal breathing is one of mans oldest and most common complaints. While it may be a nuisance to some, to others it is a source of considerable discomfort. Dr. Edward Hill looks at the most common cause of stuffy noses in todays Sixty Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

The most common cause of stuffy nose or congestion is infection. An average adult suffers a common cold two to three times per year. Colds can be caused by any number of different viruses.

Once the virus gets established in the nose, it causes release of the body chemical histamine. This dramatically increases the blood flow to the nose, causing swelling and congestion of nasal tissues, and stimulating the nasal membranes to produce excessive amounts of mucus. Antihistamines and decongestants help relieve the symptoms of a cold, but time alone cures it.

During a virus infection, the nose has poor resistance against bacterial infections. This explains why bacterial infections of the nose and sinuses so often follow a cold. When the nasal mucus turns from clear to yellow or green, it can mean that a bacterial infection has taken over.

Sinus infections produce fever, nasal congestion, thick yellowish discharge with pain and tenderness in the cheeks, upper teeth, behind the eyes or in the forehead.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.