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nasal congestion

Stuffy or Runny Nose in Adults

A stuffy or congested nose occurs when the tissues lining it become swollen. The swelling is due to inflamed blood vessels.

The problem may also include nasal discharge or "runny nose." If excess mucus runs down the back of your throat - known as postnasal drip, it may cause a cough or sore throat.

Causes of Stuffy or Runny Nose

A stuffy or runny nose may be caused by:

The congestion typically goes away by itself within a week.

Congestion also can be caused by:

Home Care for Stuffy or Runny Nose

Finding ways to keep mucus thin will help it drain from your nose and sinuses and relieve your symptoms. Drinking plenty of clear fluids is one way to do this. You can also:

A nasal wash can help remove mucus from your nose.

Congestion is often worse when lying down. Keep upright, or at least keep the head elevated.

Drugstores sell adhesive strips that are placed on the nose. These strips help widen the nostrils and making breathing easier.

Medicines you buy at the store without a prescription can help your symptoms.

Many cough, allergy, and cold medicines you buy have more than one medicine inside. Read the labels carefully to make sure you don't take too much of any one medicine. Ask your health care provide which cold medications are safe for you

If you have allergies:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your doctor for any of the following:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your doctor may perform a physical exam that focuses on the ears, nose, throat, and airways.

Test that may be done include:

Alternative Names for Stuffy or Runny Nose

Nose - congested; Congested nose; Runny nose; Postnasal drip; Rhinorrhea: nasal congestion