Runny nose, nasal congestion - Causes, symptoms and treatment. MF.
Apr 18, 2018
Runny nose and nasal congestion seem to us a natural condition, not once a year. But it is this banal runny nose that gives us a lot of inconveniences: a headache, constant scarves, a red nose and slanting looks of others - that's just a small part of it.
Causes of a common cold
Where does "snot" come from? What is called the common cold in the people has the medical name "Rinit" and is an inflammatory reaction of the nasal mucosa to the action of pathogens. The most common viruses provoke a runny nose.
Possible causes of a common cold:
• Cold weather or temperature changes
• Acute food consumption
• Increased adenoids
• Environmental irritants
• Exposure to tobacco smoke
• Foreign bodies in the nose
• Hormonal changes
• Structural disturbances( eg deviation of the septum,nasal trauma)
• Cartagena Syndrome
• Nasal polyps
• Respiratory syncytial virus
• Tumors of the nasal passages
• Vasomotor rhinitis
• Viral infections
Diseases accompanied by runny nose
Distinguish rhinitis acute and chronic. Acute rhinitis is most often one of the symptoms of acute respiratory disease( ARI) or influenza. Much less common cause of a common cold is a nasal injury. Even less often - anatomical obstacles( for example, curvature of the nasal septum, foreign bodies in the nose) can lead to nasal congestion.
In ARI, the runny nose, as a rule, overcomes three stages of development:
- The first stage is reflex. In response to hypothermia, local immunity decreases and the response of the vessels, which is rich in the nasal cavity, explains the clinical manifestations of the common cold. This is first a dry mucous( itching and sneezing) due to spasm, and then swelling due to enlargement( nasal congestion and difficulty breathing).
- The second stage of the common cold is catarrhal. It is caused by the action of the virus. Due to the inflammatory reaction of the dilated vessels of the nasal cavity, the fluid swims, and the influx of blood contributes to the activation of the glands producing mucus. At this time, there are abundant watery discharge from the nose, reducing sensitivity to odors. Usually the duration of this stage of the cold is 2-3 days.
Symptoms of organ damage associated with the nasal cavity may also appear at this time: congestion of the ears( due to the reaction of the mucous membrane of the auditory tube), lacrimation( due to swelling of the lacrimal fluid of the system or defeat of the conjunctiva virus), nasal voice.
- During the third stage of the common cold, there is an improvement in the condition of reducing the swelling of the nasal mucosa, restoring the sense of smell and breathing. But the discharge from the nose becomes more dense and becomes yellow-green in color. This is explained by the attachment of a secondary bacterial infection.
Chronic rhinitis can develop in the outcome of acute with incorrect treatment, with occupational diseases, impaired circulation of the nasal cavity and allergic diseases.
Without going into the subtleties of classification, I will tell you about the most frequently diagnosed types of chronic rhinitis.
Chronic hypertrophic rhinitis - inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nasal cavity with growth and increase in the volume of mucosa and submucosal, and sometimes bone tissue. The causes of this condition are frequent repeated acute rhinitis, as well as uncontrolled and prolonged use of vasoconstrictive drops in the rhinitis.
In this case, the patient usually complains of constant discharge from the nose, congestion and difficulty in nasal breathing, headaches, nasal voice. Also there is a persistent violation of smell( sensitivity to smells) and, as a consequence, taste sensations.
The patient is forced to constantly breathe through the mouth. This leads to excessive drying of the oral mucosa, which is manifested by thirst.
Chronic atrophic rhinitis , on the contrary, is manifested by thinning of the nasal mucosa and leads to a sensation of dryness in the nose, tightness and foreign body. Excretions from the nose are minor, but very dense, drying up in crusts, which can contribute to the development of a latent bacterial infection beneath them. This condition can develop in the outcome of a long-standing inflammation or occupational hazards and is prognostically unfavorable.
Allergic rhinitis also refers to chronic forms of the common cold. Depending on the cause of allergies and the severity of the condition, you can distinguish the seasonal form and the constant.
In an allergic patient, after exposure to a substance that is sensitive, sneezing, copious discharge from the nose, difficulty in nasal breathing due to congestion occurs. In the absence of contact with the allergen, the patient feels completely healthy. As a substance to which the body responds with increased activity of protective factors( runny nose including), there can be anything: pollen of plants, house dust, animal hair, food, medicines.
Allergic rhinitis may become a predisposing factor or the first manifestation of other allergic diseases of the body, most often allergic bronchial asthma.
Occupational hazards are often the cause of chronic colds. It can be a manifestation of an allergic reaction when a certain substance is ingested or a response to an irritating effect of it. At the risk of occupational diseases of the nasal cavity are workers of woodworking enterprises, where formaldehyde is used and the presence of suspended particles of wood particles in the inhaled air. When carrying out construction and repair work, harmful effects have varnishes, paints, adhesives, cement. Livestock keepers are constantly in contact with the hair and particles of the epidermis of their pets. Physicians are surrounded by a large number of medicines, protective equipment and disinfection. To reduce the impact of all occupational factors on the body, it is mandatory to use personal protective equipment.
Chronic vasomotor rhinitis appears in the pathological response of the vessels of the nasal cavity to changes in internal factors in the body. It can be changes in the level of hormones( most often the thyroid gland or sexual) in diseases, pregnancy, puberty. The persistent expansion or spasm of blood vessels during the action of cold, medications and even stressful situations causes difficulty in breathing, sneezing and the appearance of discharge from the nose.
In addition to the above, a coryza may be accompanied by cystic fibrosis, sinus infection, wegener granulomatosis, whooping cough.
Diagnosis of rhinitis usually does not cause complications, it is enough to interview the patient and examine the nasal cavity. Only with a chronic rhinitis to determine the reaction of the vascular wall is a sample with vasoconstrictive drugs and, if necessary, an allergic test under the supervision of a specialist doctor.
Complications of the common cold
The rhinitis itself is not dangerous. But with improper treatment or inattentive attitude, the infection can spread beyond the nasal cavity and become complications. First of all, these are sinusitis( inflammation of the paranasal sinuses: sinusitis, frontalitis, etmoiditis), diseases of the nasopharynx( tonsillitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis) and acute otitis media.
Treatment of the common cold
Usually skeptics say that we treat a runny nose a week, and without treatment recover for 7 days. But what for to delete from your life a week, if you can help yourself. The main thing is to do it right.
Treatment of an acute cold should be started as soon as possible. When ARI is assigned a home mode: and the patient will recover sooner, and colleagues will not get sick.
Non-pharmacological treatment of the common cold begins with thermal procedures: hot foot baths, hot tea on herbs. In the absence of allergies, aromatherapy is carried out with tea tree oils, eucalyptus, mint, lemon.
Separately it is necessary to say about the hygiene of the nasal cavity in such a difficult period. To prevent the penetration of infection into the cavity of the paranasal sinuses and the middle ear, it is necessary to release the nasal cavity from the mucus properly.
First, as calmly as possible and not much. Secondly, at one time only one nostril is released( the second at this time is clamped).Thirdly, during the bleeding, the mouth should be ajar. This avoids differential pressure. And fourthly, during the whole disease for hygienic procedures only disposable handkerchiefs should be used to avoid repeated self-infection.
Drug treatment is prescribed depending on the stage of the disease. Vasoconstrictor drops are effective and should be used only during the first and the beginning of the second stage of the common cold - when "snot" is not yet or they are not plentiful. Thus, this period is not more than 5 days. During this time, the vessels do not have time to "get used" to the action of drops.
During the second stage of the runny nose, the body itself tries to "wash" the pathological viruses from the nasal cavity: there are abundant secretions. During this stage, a runny nose rinsing of the nasal cavity can be carried out with both saline solutions and with infusions of non-alcoholic herbs( chamomile, calendula).The vasoconstrictive drop at this stage is ineffective.
In the third stage, when attaching bacterial infection, it is logical to use drugs with antibacterial effect of local action.
Antiallergic( antihistamines) drugs are prescribed for allergic rhinitis only by a doctor.
On the practical side, it is worth adding a few words:
- The use of drugs in the form of a spray, not drops, is justifiable in terms of efficiency and economy. Drops for the most part do not linger in the nasal cavity, but flow into the nasopharynx, exerting a small but general effect on the body.
- A lot of preparations based on sea salt are on sale. As mentioned above, their use is justified in the second stage of the disease. Their main function is to moisturize the mucosa and flush the secret. If you do not have enough money, get a usual physiological solution for injections in a pharmacy( in ampoules or a large vial).Its action is not worse.
- Preparations based on colloidal silver have proven themselves for a long time. Protargol is manufactured in a pharmacy on prescription, as the shelf life of it after dissection is only 24 hours.
- Antibiotic in the form of a spray should be specifically for use in the nasal cavity.
To which doctor to consult with the common cold
Of course, we do not run to the doctor with every runny nose. But if the condition has not improved for 10 days, there are pains in the ear, under the eye sockets, over the bridge of the nose or in the throat, headaches develop, overall well-being worsens - do not delay the visit to a specialist. Run after the coupon for an appointment with a district doctor, general practitioner or an ENT doctor.
In a situation where the runny nose is clearly seasonal in nature or is evidently provoked by staying in the same room with flowers, pets, you should seek help from an allergist.
Chronic rhinitis requires an individual approach. Now in the arsenal of ENT doctors are the newest possibilities of microsurgery, which are used when the conservative treatment is ineffective. Remember that even a runny nose sometimes requires specialist attention.