Why Does Your Nose Get Stuffy?

Were you up all night with a stuffy nose?  Is your nose so stuffed up that you can’t smell or breathe, let alone think straight?  Stuffy noses are truly a living hell!  Stuffy noses come and take over us like its their own body leaving us with little self-control left.  The good news is that we can fix stuffy noses and normally a stuffy nose isn’t the sign of a huge and serious illness.

Let’s start with the basics though and we’ll move onto remedies and medications in a future article because in order to find the proper medication or remedy, you must first discover the root of the problem.  Let’s take a look at why our noses get stuffy…

What Causes a Stuffy Nose?

Courtesy of Leatherheart on Flickr.com

A stuffy nose, or a congested nose, is normally caused by allergies, a sinus infection, the flu or the common cold.

  • Allergies – Allergies is probably one of the most common causes of a stuffy nose.  Whether you are allergic to dust, ragweed, pollen or anything of the sort, you are probably going to catch a stuffy nose.  In addition to a stuffy nose, you may experience other allergy symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, wheezing,  as well as watery and itchy eyes.
  • Sinus Infection – When a sinus infection occurs, it causes your nose to become stuffy due to the production of mucus, which will block your sinuses.  You can experience symptoms for up to three months or even longer depending on how serious the sinus infection is.  A chronic sinus infection will last the longer being three months or possibly longer; sub-acute lasting one to three months; acute lasting up to one month.  Other than a stuffy nose, you may experience coughing, fever, headache, fatigue, sore throat, etc.
  • The Flu – The flu is a contagious virus that infects your nose, throat, and your lungs.  Normally, you catch this from other people when they sneeze or cough into the air – bacteria droplets are released into the air when they do this and you breathe them in causing you to become infected with the influenza virus.  On the other hand, you can also catch it from touching the same surface as another individual with the flu then touching your eyes, mouth, or eyes – at which time you are transmitting the virus to your body.  Apart from a stuffy nose, an infected individual may experience fever, nausea, chills, fatigue, dizziness, headache, etc.
  • The Common Cold- On an average, according to the American Lung Association, children catch the common cold anywhere from six to eight times per year, with some catching it more often.  Adults, on the other hand, can catch the common cold anywhere between two and four colds yearly. Colds can occur year-round (but mostly in the winter) and are usually transferred from one child to another and then on to their parents in some cases via sneezing, blowing of the nose, etc.  You can inhale the virus when someone sneezes near you that has the cold.  The first few days of the cold are most contagious.  Symptoms other than a stuffy nose include sneezing, runny nose after the congestion has moved on, cough, headache, sore throat, aches, lack of appetite, etc.

However, while these are the most common causes of a stuffy nose, there are many less common and not-so-obvious things that can cause a stuffy nose.  For example, stress, air pollution, physical exertion and even some medications can all cause a stuffy nose.  It’s important to limit these in your life if you experience a stuffy nose frequently.

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