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What are the Most Common Nasal Symptoms?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2018
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Nasal symptoms abound when people have conditions like allergies, colds, other viruses, or sometimes infections. They tend to be irritating and may not fully clear even with treatment. Some people suffer from chronic nasal symptoms, usually resulting from continued inflammation in the nose, and others are glad to see these symptoms end as a virus or infection comes to a close.

One nasal symptom that doesn’t necessarily mean illness is the sneeze. Sneezes can signal a viral infection, but they could also be a means by which the nose cleans itself of dust or pollen. Additionally, sometimes people have sneeze reflexes, like when they are exposed to bright sunlight. While occasional sneezes could be ignored, constant sneezing, especially of the allergic kind might need to be addressed.

Many nasal symptoms are the direct result of irritated membrane in the nose. It may be inflamed and this causes an overproduction of mucus. This mucus can result in the well-named “stuffy nose,” or nasal congestion. In this condition it may feel difficult to breathe in or out of the nose, or a single nostril, though stuffiness might come and go throughout a day. Blowing the nose, no matter how hard, doesn’t appear to relieve congestion very much, and things like ability to taste or smell could be affected.

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The nose may feel swollen and huge, and with constant blowing people could add another of the nasal symptoms to their problems. Skin on the exterior of the nose can get red and chapped due to continuous wiping. Even the tissue that has added lotion may cause this problem.

Another of the nasal symptoms many people notice when they have congestion is runny nose. Mucus runs out of the nose, even with constant wiping or blowing. It can also run down the back of the throat, which tends to create irritation. Some people notice a sore or scratchy throat especially as they’re first getting a cold or virus, and this may be attributed to post-nasal drip.

Congestion and runny nose are fairly benign nasal symptoms but they may be accompanied by other symptoms that warrant more attention. Color of mucus and presence of blood in the mucus could indicate sinus infection or sinusitis. While most colds can be ignored, persistent stuffiness, dark brown or green mucus with or without blood in it, a sensation of choking or being unable to breathe due to thick secretions in the throat, and presence of great sinus pressure, headache and/or fever, might suggest that bacterial infection is present.

Generally, these nasal symptoms should not be ignored, as they may be unlikely to resolve on their own. Instead people may want to see their doctors who might suggest treatment with antibiotics. Many physicians now recommend nasal rinsing too, which can help relieve congestion slightly and promote greater sinus comfort. Some people already pursue this regularly to deal with less serious, but still uncomfortable, nasal symptoms as caused by colds or chronic allergies.

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