Nasal congestion or "stuffy nose" occurs when nasal and adjacent tissues and blood vessels become swollen with excess fluid, causing a "stuffy" plugged feeling. Nasal congestion may or may not include a nasal discharge or "runny nose."
Nasal congestion usually is just an annoyance for older children and adults. But nasal congestion can be serious for children whose sleep is disturbed by their nasal congestion, or for infants, who might have a hard time feeding as a result.
Nasal congestion can be caused by anything that irritates or inflames the nasal tissues. Infections — such as colds, flu or sinusitis — and allergies are frequent causes of nasal congestion and runny nose. Sometimes a congested and runny nose can be caused by irritants such as tobacco smoke and car exhaust. This condition is called nonallergic rhinitis or vasomotor rhinitis.
Less commonly, nasal congestion can be caused by a tumor.
Potential causes of nasal congestion include:
Until you see your doctor, try these simple steps to relieve symptoms:
To relieve postnasal drip — when excess saliva (mucus) builds up in the back of your throat – try these measures: