How Long Should Nasal Congestion Last

"Some surveys show that one in four Americans with nasal congestion experience symptoms every day, with 85 percent reporting that the condition negatively impacts their daily activities."

We have all experienced it: the facial pain, pressure, discomfort, and irritating, “blocked” feeling in our nasal passageways due to a cold, flu, allergies, or sinus infection. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, sinus infections afflict 31 million people in the U.S. and Americans spend over $1 billion each year on over-the-counter medications (OTC) to treat them.1 Although usually not a serious condition, nasal congestion should be monitored so a potential infection does not linger or turn into something more. In many cases, the culprit may be allergies, nasal polyps, or some other chronic condition. Let’s take a peek at what nasal congestion is, the signs and symptoms to be aware of, ways to help reduce nasal congestion, and when you should talk to your doctor. 

Nasal Congestion Duration

By definition, nasal congestion happens when blood vessels and nasal tissues swell with excess fluid, become inflamed and irritated, and cause that annoying “stuffy” feeling. This is due to histamine being released by your white blood cells as part of your body’s inflammatory response. Sometimes, it can cause the opposite effect and produce a runny nose. 

The biggest causes of nasal congestion include a sinus infection, the common cold, flu, and allergies, while things — a non-exhaustive list — such as stress, environmental factors, some medications, alcohol, hormonal changes asthma, and dry air can be additional potential irritants.2 

According to American Family Carenasal congestion should last no longer than ten days, with five days being about average for an individual experiencing symptoms. Duration is also dependent on whether the infection is viral or bacterial.3 However, some surveys show that one in four Americans with nasal congestion experience symptoms every day, with 85 percent reporting that the condition negatively impacts their daily activities.4 Chronic nasal congestion like this is typically the result of allergies or nasal polyps, non-cancerous growths that occur with chronic inflammation deep in the nasal passages. 

Common accompanying symptoms of nasal congestion include:

  • Headache
  • Sinus pressure & congestion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blocked air passages
  • Facial pressure

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Treating Nasal Congestion with OTC Medications

Though many people treat their nasal congestion with OTC decongestants, antihistamines, or nasal sprays, many of these medications contain harsh, synthetic chemicals that lead to undesirable side effects like dizziness, headache, nausea, dry mouth, drowsiness, and more. There’s some evidence that these types of medications can also make symptoms and your stuffy nose worse when used excessively.5 

As an alternative to common OTC medications for nasal congestion like Sudafed, Zyrtec, and Goldenseal, Brillia Health offers homeopathic products that do not use synthetic chemicals for a more gentle and impactful approach that reduces symptoms at the source. Brillia Health’s Cold-Flu Recovery uses targeted antibodies to help reduce the severity of your nasal congestion symptoms — even from your allergies — by using an active antibody ingredient to target the very source of inflammation — histamine. Let’s take a deeper look at exactly what it does in the body.

When we experience those irritating symptoms of a wet cough, nasal congestion, and fluid buildup on our lungs, these are directly related to the effects of histamine. Besides making our quality of life worse, these symptoms make it even more of a challenge for our body to fight off the cause of the cough. 

One of the active ingredients in both Cold-Flu Recovery and Cough Control is Lapine Histamine immune globulin, which targets and binds to these very histamines and stops them from causing all of those annoying (and dreaded) symptoms by reducing the histamine response in the body. One of the biggest differences between Brillia Health products and other antihistamines on the market is that Brillia Health works with your body to help it heal itself instead of masking symptoms and suppressing the body’s systems with harsh chemicals and distracting side effects. In turn, they do not have any contraindications so they are a great option for individuals with blood pressure issues or those who are taking other medications that cannot use traditional OTC antihistamines.

Additionally, the other two active ingredients in Brillia Health’s Cold-Flu Recovery boost your body's immune response to address any illness/virus that may be bringing on the nasal congestion. If there is no illness/virus, those two antibodies can boost your immune response to avoid getting ill while your body is under the stressor causing the stuffy nose symptoms. Even more, Brillia Health products have been clinically proven to shorten the duration of illness altogether should the nasal congestion be a symptom of a cold or flu coming on.

Home Remedies and Tips for Recovery

In addition to taking Brillia Health’s Cold-Flu Recovery as a safe, impactful, and effective way to help you reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of your illness, there are  also a number of home remedies for nasal congestion, including sleeping hacks, so you can get back to feeling like yourself again.66

    • Stay hydrated: Aim to consume, at least, half your body weight in ounces of water. By staying properly hydrated, the cilia inside your nose can do what it does best - keep your sinuses clear of any bacteria, debris, or potential allergens that could cause mucus buildup. When a “backup” occurs, cilia cannot do their job properly.
    • Warm showers are ideal: Steam is extremely beneficial in helping to clear nasal passageways and thin out mucus, which will help reduce inflammation. It may also help to relieve an accompanying headache, but may not be as effective for chronic sinus symptoms.8
    • Be consistent with nasal rinses, but don’t overdo it:  If using a neti pot, a highly beneficial tool for nasal irrigation, be sure to use it moderately to clear out any potential irritants (i.e. pollen and/or dust) and clear mucus buildup. Consistency is key, but be sure to keep it to a reasonable amount. 
    • Add more probiotic-rich foods to your diet: Probiotics have been shown to significantly help improve your gut microbiome, which has a direct effect on your immune system. Foods such as yogurt and kefir are just two examples of probiotics that would be ideal to implement on a daily basis.9
    • Use supplements: Key vitamins and minerals such as zinc, Vitamin C, echinacea, and even geranium extract will help give an added boost to your immune system. 
    • Try a humidifier: Moistening the air is an easy way to lubricate your nasal passageways, clear up congestion, and get better sleep.
    • Rest: Try to keep your head elevated when lying down to prevent mucus from pooling in your sinuses so you can sleep easier and more comfortably.

When To Call Your Doctor

A common question you may start to ask yourself is “When should I worry about nasal congestion?” and “When is it time to call my doctor?” Experts indicate the following signs may warrant a call (or trip) to your doctor’s office.10

  • If the symptoms of your infection last beyond ten days; you may even experience feeling better but then take a turn and begin to feel worse
  • If you develop a fever that is greater than 100.6
  • If you develop a sore throat
  • If the discharge in your nose becomes colored — green or yellow — or contains blood
  • Loss of smell and possible taste
  • Possible confusion and blurry vision
  • When you have exhausted all medications without any relief

Managing your nasal congestion symptoms are key in preventing the worsening of your infection. Find out more about how  Brillia Health’s Cold-Flu Recovery can help you target your symptoms in a  gentle and highly effective way without harsh synthetic chemicals, harmful side effects, or contraindications. Explore more resources on how to stay healthy all year long with lifestyle tips on how to boost your immune system at the Brillia Health blog.

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References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,and%20keep%20those%20cilia%20moving!, 8, 9, 10

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