What do Eva Langoria and Kate Winslet have in common? Well, apart from looking gorgeous and having a great acting career, they are said to suffer from a common problem that affects millions of people worldwide every year: blocked nose.
Blocked or stuffy nose – also called ‘nasal congestion’ – occurs when the nose encounters irritants that cause the tissues of the nose and surrounding areas, as well as the nasal blood vessels, to become inflamed. The affected tissues begin producing mucus to flush out the irritants, and as a result, they become swollen with excess fluids. This gives rise to the ‘stuffy’ feeling. Sometimes, the mucus leaks out of the nose (runny nose). In extreme cases, one may experience breathing difficulties.
There are many possible causes for nasal congestion.
Eva Langoria’s nose is very sensitive to perfume, and the wrong kind of perfume can cause her nose to be get stuffy. Dry air, cold air, dust and tobacco smoke are some other examples of possible environmental irritants.
Allergens from both indoors and outdoors can cause hay fever or allergic rhinitis. Kate Winslet is said to suffer from this problem. A person vulnerable to hay fever should get medical advice on how to manage his or her condition as well as to minimise exposure to the allergens responsible for the condition.
Nasal congestion is one of the many symptoms of influenza.
De-congesting the Nose
While rarely life-threatening, nasal congestion can be an annoying condition. Your nose is always dripping and you find yourselves trying to blow your nose – often at the wrong time and place, how embarrassing! Your ability to speak clearly may also be affected. Well, there are some things you can do to make yourself feel better.
- Keep your nostrils moist. Drinking plenty of water (at least eight glasses a day), using a saline spray, and breathing in steam from a pot of boiling water are some tried-and-tested methods that work.
- Get some over-the-counter medications. As decongestants usually contain oxymetazoline hydrochloride, they can help by reducing the swelling and the amount of mucus in your nasal passages. For allergies, antihistamines may help. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Nasal congestion may also be caused by structural abnormalities in the nose, such as when the nasal septum (the thin wall separating the nostrils) gets displaced or deviated to one side. Surgery may be necessary in this instance. Popular actress Jennifer Aniston is said to have undergone surgery to correct a deviated nasal septum.
Mayo Clinic. Available at www.mayoclinic.org
WebMD. Available at www.webmd.com