What Causes Your Stuffy Or Runny Nose And What To Do About It

A stuffy or runny nose can be caused by a number of different things. If your condition is sudden and accompanied by a cough or fever, then your runny nose is probably the result of a flu or cold. However, when your nasal problem becomes chronic, it's time to find out what's causing it so you can get relief. Here is a look at some of the causes of rhinitis and what you can do about it.

Allergic Rhinitis

The first step is to determine if your stuffy or runny nose is caused by an allergy. The easiest way to do that is to be allergy tested. This is done with a skin test or blood test. Once you know what you are allergic to, you can take steps to avoid it. If it isn't possible to avoid the allergens entirely, and your rhinitis bothers you a lot, your doctor may recommend allergy shots. Before taking the shots, your doctor may have you try allergy medication. You can buy some of these medications over the counter and others need a prescription. They work in various ways to reduce your allergic response and stop the swelling and discomfort in your nose.

Non-Allergic Rhinitis

Non-allergic rhinitis is more difficult to pin down. It has a variety of causes and your doctor will work to find out the source of your problem. This is necessary to find an effective treatment. The medications used for allergic rhinitis may not be effective if your nasal problem has a different cause. Some of the things that can cause non-allergic rhinitis are side effects of medication, response to temperature or humidity changes, eating hot or cold foods, and irritants such as exposure to cleaning solutions, perfume, smoke, or dust.

The cause could even be structural problems in your nasal passages, or you could have a medical condition such as a chronic sinus infection. To rule these out, your doctor may order an MRI or CT scan to see if you have abnormalities in your nose. Another test that may be done is a nasal endoscopy where the doctor inserts a tube in your nose which allows him or her to view the inside of your nose on a screen. This shows the degree of irritation and lets the doctor examine the inside of your nose and sinuses to assess the health of your tissues.

Treatment for non-allergic rhinitis involves removing the cause if possible. For example, your condition may be caused by daily exposure to chemical fumes at work. Also, your doctor may try different types of medications in the form of nasal sprays or pills that work to reduce swelling in your nose. Some things you can try at home include sleeping with a humidifier in the room to prevent nasal dryness and using a saline nasal spray to keep your nasal tissues moist.

Also, avoid using over-the-counter decongestants without your doctor's guidance. Using these products for too long can actually cause you to have rhinitis, which sets up a cycle that is difficult to break. Contact a company like Northwest Asthma & Allergy Center PS to learn more.