Nasal congestion

Partial blockage of the nasal passage caused by swelling of the mucous membrane that lines the nose. Nasal congestion is sometimes accompanied by the accumulation of thick nasal mucus. Nasal congestion is a symptom of the common cold and of hay fever (see rhinitis, allergic); it may also be caused by certain drugs. The swelling may become persistent in disorders such as chronic sinusitis or nasal polyps. Steam inhalation can help to loosen the mucus. This involves placing the head over a basin of hot water, possibly with the addition of aromatic oils such as menthol or eucalyptus, and inhaling the steam for several minutes. Decongestant drugs in the form of drops and sprays should be used sparingly; tablets and syrups may be recommended for long-term use. Persistent nasal congestion should be investigated by a doctor.


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