Nasal Care

Understanding why nasal passages become blocked or dry out.

What is nasal congestion, exactly?

Nasal congestion is simply a ‘blocked”, stuffy nose – something we’re all familiar with. It starts when the lining in your nasal passages becomes inflamed and irritated – causing mucus to build up and mucus tissue to become swollen. The combination of extra mucus and swelling makes your nose feel clogged, you may have a runny nose or even sinus pain. Depending on the cause, it can be temporary or chronic, mildly annoying to miserable.

What causes nasal congestion in the first place?

The most common causes are:

  • colds,
  • allergies,
  • sinusitis or sinus infections,
  • deviated septum,
  • nasal polyps, and
  • trauma to the nose

What is nasal dryness, exactly?

This is when there is a general lack of moisture in the nostrils and nasal passages, and you feel the irritation somewhat. An extremely dry nose, though, can cause real discomfort and be embarrassing. Severe cases even interfere with your nose’s basic functions: smelling and filtering impurities from the air. In these cases, the skin inside the nose can develop painful fissures that bleed, and crusts can form that are prone to infections.

What causes nasal dryness?

The most common culprits are environmental, either in the home or outdoors – things like dust, pollen and pet dander and pollution. Dry winter temperatures and heating can cause it, as can summer air conditioning, which robs the air of humidity. Certain medications can cause nasal dryness, as can some medical conditions.

When to see your doctor:

  • You have signs of a sinus infection: a high fever, pain in your sinus areas, a bad taste in your mouth and post-nasal drip, or a yellow or green discharge when you blow your nose
  • Your symptoms have not improved after 10 days
  • Dryness persists or becomes painful
  • You received a blow to the head or face, especially if there is clear fluid or blood coming from your nose

For children under 2 months with nasal congestion:

Children under two months old should be seen by a doctor if they are congested and have a fever,  are unable to nurse or take a bottle, or have trouble breathing.


The content included in this section is for information purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. For any personal medical advice, please consult your healthcare professional.

Once you understand the importance of a clean, clear nose, you can see why daily nasal care is so helpful.

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