Waking up with a blocked nose every morning? Wondering how to stop mouth breathing at night? An ENT specialist tells us how to get rid of that stuffy nose once and for all…
Is your nasal congestion just a temporary nuisance, an allergy or a sign that you need to book a visit to the doctors? We know how common (and annoying) it is to have a stuffy nose that won’t go away, so we enlisted the help of Dr. Gan Eng Cern, ENT Specialist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, to give us some expert advice on the real causes and cures.
What causes a blocked nose?
Sensitive nose (or Rhinitis) is a common cause. If your stuffy nose is caused by sensitivity to dust mites, pollen or mould, you have Allergic Rhinitis. On the other hand, it’s weather changes, cigarette smoke or hormonal changes that trigger the sneezing, it’s Non-Allergic Rhinitis.
Sinusitis is another term you’ve probably heard of. Contrary to popular belief, ‘sinus’ is not a medical condition. Sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses), however, is. Symptoms include facial pain and coloured mucus, along with a stuffy nose.
Apart from an injury to the nose (causing your nasal septum to deviate), Rhinitis and Sinusitis are the most common causes for nasal discomfort.
Here’s how to clear things up…
For sensitive noses, getting rid of dust mites by washing bed sheets with hot water is effective for most people – allergies to dust mites are more common than you think! Want a permanent solution? Immunotherapy is a treatment where you’ll be exposed to a small dose of the allergen daily for three to five years so that your immune system will gradually stop reacting to the allergen.
Alternatively, nasal steroid sprays can help reduce inflammation for allergic and non-allergic rhinitis. To address sneezing and a runny nose, you can pop an antihistamine or decongestant tablet.
For diagnosed sinus infections, possible treatments include oral antibiotics, nasal steroid sprays, mucous thinners and nasal saline irrigation.
If DIY methods and over-the-counter medications don’t help, go to the ENT, we say. Nasal congestion is treatable and there’s no reason to live with the daily discomfort!
Dr. Gan, A Specialist Clinic for Sinus, Snoring & ENT, 38 Irrawaddy Road, #08-45, Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, Singapore 329563.
This post is in partnership with Dr Gan Eng Cern – ENT Specialist Singapore.