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Swollen Nasal Passages Causes, Allergies, Treatment & Medicine

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If you suffer from swollen nasal passages and you are wondering what causes it and what are some of the good treatments, then continue reading to discover how to relieve swelling of nasal passages. This article will also suggest some home remedies and medications you can use.

Swollen Nasal Passage Causes

There are numerous causes of swollen nasal passages. Exposure to irritants such as dust, pet hair, and pollen is a common cause. Certain diseases such as sinusitis (inflammation of sinuses) and the common cold are also known to cause it. It could also be caused by a bacterial or viral infection of the sinuses.

Swollen Nasal Passages Causes Allergies Treatment
Swollen nasal passages

Nasal passages are swollen typically occur when the delicate lining of the nasal passages becomes inflamed. Prolonged use of nasal decongestant sprays can also cause this problem. Such products are usually used to relieve the patient of a stuffy nose, but they contain drugs that can lead to swelling of the passageways in the event of overuse including oxymetazoline, xylometazoline, and naphazoline among others.

In some people, it can arise from the consumption of foods that cause allergic reactions in their bodies. In some cases, swelling of nasal passages is the result of the overproduction of mucus.

Swollen Nasal Passages – No Mucus

When not accompanied by mucus, it can be an indication of dry sinus infection. While sinus infection typically results in nose congestion and clogging, a dry sinus infection is usually not accompanied by nasal congestion and clogging.

The lining of the nose typically gets dry, and pain is commonly felt in the sinuses and in the nose lining. The mouth may also feel dry.

Dry sinus infection commonly results when the nose gets so dry that there is no mucus to prevent penetration of bacteria and viruses. This kind of dryness in the nose can result when a person goes to a hot and dry environment causing the mucus in the nose to dry up. It can also be the result of cigarette smoking.

When the nose gets dry, it becomes less capable to filter off pathogens and other solid particles. The dry mucus can exacerbate the problem by blocking the mucus-producing area of the nose.

Increasing the level of humidity in your house with a humidifier can help to relieve the swollen nasal passages. Drinking lots of water and avoiding smoking are also recommended. You can also use over-the-counter nasal saline to alleviate this problem. If the problem of a nose passage that is swollen with no mucus however persists you should see a doctor. He/she may prescribe some antibiotics and nasal steroids.

Swollen Nasal Passages Due to Allergies

Swelling of your nasal passages often results from allergies triggered by indoor and outdoor environmental allergens such as dust, pet dander, pollen, chemical fumes, and mold spores. Consumption of certain foods can also cause allergic reactions that culminate in this condition.

These allergens can trigger an allergic response in the body, leading to an inflammation of the mucous membranes in the nose passageways. They are also often associated with allergic rhinitis, which typically causes cold-like symptoms, such as sneezing, itchiness, and a blocked or runny nose.

Treatment of swollen nose passages due to allergies often involves the use of antihistamines and nasal decongestants.

Swollen Nasal Passages Treatment and How to Relieve

Before seeking treatment from your doctor, there are numerous home remedies that can help to relieve swollen nasal passages. Here are a few you might want to consider:


Inhaling steam from boiling water is one of the easiest but very effective ways to relieve this bothersome condition.  All you need to do is to hold your face over a pot of boiling water and inhale the steam. It also helps to cover your head with a towel as you breathe in the steam produced.

You may as well consider adding a few drops of eucalyptus or tea tree oil into the boiling water. Hot steam help to decongest the nasal passage by thinning out the mucus.


Eucalyptus oil

Rinsing your nose with salty water is another simple home remedy for swollen nasal passages. This helps to clear the passages of your nose.


  • To about 8 oz, of lukewarm water, add a ¼ teaspoon of common salt and stir thoroughly.
  • Using a syringe, neti pot, or squeeze bottle, rinse the inside of the nose with the solution. As you do this, tilt your head sideways to allow the water to flow into one of your nostrils. Let the water pass through the nasal passage and into the other nostril.

This will help to clear the mucous membrane.  You should however not use this remedy if the nose passageways are completely blocked.

A humidifier or vaporizer: Having a humidifier or vaporizer in your house can increase the moisture level in the air and thus prevent dryness of the nasal passages and sinuses.

Tree tea oil: this remedy has antibacterial properties and will help to eliminate any bacteria and viruses causing the swelling of the nasal passages.


  • To a small pot of boiling water, add 4 to 5 drops of tea tree oil
  • Inhale the steam while wrapping your head around with coarse clothing such as a towel.
  • Repeat daily for about a week or so.

Moving Beyond the Home Remedies

Other measures that you might want to use are:

  •  Eliminate any potential allergens in your surroundings e.g. pet hair, cigarette smoke, and dust
  • Avoid any foods and spices that can cause allergic reactions in your body
  • Use an over-the-counter oral decongestant to relieve the swollen nasal passages.

Swollen Nasal Passages Treatment – When to See a Doctor

Most of the home remedies above will help in treatment but if they don’t seem to relieve the nasal congestion, or if the mucus looks yellow or green, you should see a doctor immediately. If nasal congestion is accompanied by blurred vision, prolonged coughs, or facial swelling, you should as well consult your doctor immediately.

Swollen Nasal Passages Medicine or Medication

Over-the-counter nasal decongestant sprays and medications are usually effective in the treatment of nose passages that are swollen. If however they seem not to work or some of the symptoms mentioned above are observed, you should seek the attention of your doctor.

Medical treatment of nasal passages that are swollen often involves the prescription of antibiotics, decongestant nasal sprays, or steroids. Antihistamines and other allergy medications may also be prescribed.

In case of recurring nasal congestion, the doctor could recommend discontinuing the use of decongestant nasal sprays and medications. This is because decongestant nasal sprays can actually worsen nasal congestion after continuous use.

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