What allergies cause nasal congestion
Not every cases of rhinitis are caused by an allergic reaction.
Some cases are the result of:
- oversensitive blood vessels in the nose
- an infection, such as the common cold
- overuse of nasal decongestants
This type of rhinitis is known as non-allergic rhinitis.
Sheet final reviewed: 29 April
Next review due: 29 April
What does your sinus congestion glance like? What is it doing?
Let's glance at the possibilities.
Do you own a runny nose?
Is your head stuffed up, making it hard to breathe through your nose?
- It could be a sinus infection (sinusitis).
- It may be a cold.
- It may be the flu.
If you own drainage, what color is it?
- Thick and white or cloudy: It is most likely a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu.
- Green or yellow: This color indicates an infection — but that does not mean it is caused by bacteria. Viral infections can also cause discolored mucus.
See your doctor, but you may not necessarily need antibiotics. It could be sinusitis.
- Clear and thin: It is probably a cold, the flu or allergies.
- Blood-streaked: This is generally caused by ruptured blood vessels in the nose.
It can happen as a result of dry nasal membranes or from blowing your nose too aggressively. Glance at other symptoms to determine whether or not you should see a doctor.
Do you own pressure in your face and eyes?
- It is probably a sinus infection (sinusitis).
- It may be allergies.
When to see a GP
Visit a GP if the symptoms of allergic rhinitis are disrupting your sleep, preventing you carrying out everyday activities, or adversely affecting your performance at work or school.
A diagnosis of allergic rhinitis will generally be based on your symptoms and any possible triggers you may own noticed.
If the cause of your condition is uncertain, you may be referred for allergy testing.
Find out more about diagnosing allergic rhinitis
What causes allergic rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis is caused by the immune system reacting to an allergen as if it were harmful.
This results in cells releasing a number of chemicals that cause the inside layer of your nose (the mucous membrane) to become swollen and too much mucus to be produced.
Common allergens that cause allergic rhinitis include pollen (this type of allergic rhinitis is known as hay fever), as well as mould spores, home dust mites, and flakes of skin or droplets of urine or saliva from certain animals.
Find out more about the causes of allergic rhinitis
What Could be Causing Your Sinus Congestion?
Sinus congestion can be caused by numerous things, so it is significant to assess your other symptoms as well.
If you own concerns about your symptoms, you should always contact your doctor or health care provider.
- Do you own a runny or stuffy nose, fever, body aches, and a cough? It is probably the flu.
- Do you own stuffiness and pain and pressure in your face and eyes? It is probably a form of sinus congestion.
- Do you own a runny or stuffy nose, headache, and cough? It could be a cold.
- Do you own a clear runny nose and itching in the eyes or nose?
It may be seasonal allergies.
Sinus congestion is a symptom that comes with a lot of upper respiratory infections and illnesses.
Most of the time it will go away on its own but sometimes it needs to be treated with medication.
When to See a Doctor for Congestion
Allergic rhinitis can lead to complications in some cases.
- sinusitis – an infection caused by nasal inflammation and swelling that prevents mucus draining from the sinuses
- nasal polyps – abnormal but non-cancerous (benign) sacs of fluid that grow inside the nasal passages and sinuses
- middle ear infections – infection of part of the ear located directly behind the eardrum
These problems can often be treated with medication, although surgery is sometimes needed in severe or long-term cases.
Find out more about the complications of allergic rhinitis
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis typically causes cold-like symptoms, such as sneezing, itchiness and a blocked or runny nose.
These symptoms usually start soon after being exposed to an allergen.
Some people only get allergic rhinitis for a few months at a time because they’re sensitive to seasonal allergens, such as tree or grass pollen.
Other people get allergic rhinitis every year round.
Most people with allergic rhinitis own mild symptoms that can be easily and effectively treated.
But for some people symptoms can be severe and persistent, causing sleep problems and interfering with everyday life.
The symptoms of allergic rhinitis occasionally improve with time, but this can take numerous years and it’s unlikely that the condition will vanish completely.
Treating and preventing allergic rhinitis
It’s hard to completely avoid potential allergens, but you can take steps to reduce exposure to a specific allergen you know or suspect is triggering your allergic rhinitis.
This will assist improve your symptoms.
If your condition is mild, you can also assist reduce the symptoms by taking over-the-counter medications, such as non-sedating antihistamines, and by regularly rinsing your nasal passages with a salt water solution to hold your nose free of irritants.
See a GP for advice if you own tried taking these steps and they own not helped.
They may prescribe a stronger medication, such as a nasal spray containing corticosteroids.