Bunged up? Blowing your nose will make it WORSE – but our winter cold expert has some ideas that may help…
Struggling with a blocked-up nose or stuffy feeling in the head?
It’s that time of year, but while the temptation is to keep blowing your nose, it probably won’t help.
A blocked nose from a common cold is caused not by mucus, but by swelling and inflammation of the blood vessels in the nasal airways, triggered by the infection, explains Dr Ayah Al Ayoubi, consultant Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon at Chase Farm Hospital, London.
Struggling with a blocked-up nose? It’s that time of year, but while the temptation is to keep blowing your nose, it probably won’t help
Not only will blowing not work, studies show that forceful nose blowing can propel some infection-laden mucus into the sinuses, where secondary bacterial infections may take hold.
So if you must blow your nose, it’s best to blow gently, one nostril at a time.
And don’t bother inhaling the steam from a bowl of recently boiled water because that won’t help unblock your nose either.
But what about an over-the-counter remedy?
Decongestants — in the form of tablets or medicated nasal sprays — contain different chemicals that work as vaso-constrictors.
These narrow the small blood vessels in the nose, so reducing blood flow, which brings down the swelling and helps to open up the nasal airway so you can breathe more easily.