Nasal Congestion 101

February 12, 2015 Illness, Your Health

While the snowy winter months bring cups of hot chocolate, snowmen and other outdoor wintry fun, it is not uncommon to find more than one member of the family with a stuffy or runny nose. These nasal symptoms can be uncomfortable, interrupt daily activities and, for some members of the family, pose significant trouble breathing or indicate a more serious infection. See Five Star Urgent Care Regional Medical Director Dr. LouAnne Giangreco explain the points highlighted in this blog in her most recent appearance on WSYR Bridge Street.

It’s important to first understand that just because the temperatures outside are low, a runny nose does not necessarily mean you have a cold. Allergic rhinitis and the cold weather itself can be the cause of a nasal drainage.

If a sinus infection is present, an antibiotic isn’t always warranted, as most sinus infections are the results of viral infections and not bacteria. If antibiotics are unnecessarily administered, bacteria can become resistant to them and may not work for future bacterial infections.

Mucus coloring also does not determine a doctor’s diagnosis or prescription. White mucus represents a blockage in the nasal passage, yellow mucus is a signifier that white blood cells are fighting an infection, and green mucus shows dead white blood cells and debris. It is the duration of symptoms and constellation of other symptoms that predict what type of treatment is necessary.

RSV, or Reparatory Syncytial Virus, is another cause of nasal congestion. This disease typically begins with a runny or stuffy nose, cough, fever and decreased appetite, but may also escalate to difficulty breathing and trouble eating or drinking. Young children should be monitored closely for a progression of symptoms; however, a visit to the doctor isn’t mandatory for only a runny nose.

Contact a Five Star Urgent Care location nearest you today if you have prolonged nasal congestion.