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What causes a stuffy nose?

Answered by Dr Ellie Cannon
8th September 2015
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A stuffy nose (Also called congestion, catarrh, or blocked nose) is one of the most common symptoms of a cold and the flu. Colds are infections caused by any one of 200 viruses that target the respiratory system.

When the immune system sends white blood cells to fight off an infection, one of the effects is swollen mucous membranes that decrease the size of the nasal passage, combined with the production of more mucus.

Sometimes babies younger than six months will get the “snuffles”. This is usually due to the build-up of mucus in the nose. If your baby seems well otherwise, it probably has nothing to do with a cold.

Hay fever, allergies and nasal polyps can also cause a blocked nose.

Lastly, never overlook the possibility that a blocked nose can be caused by a curious child putting something in their nostril. If you think this is the case, seek medical advice immediately – don’t try to remove the object yourself.

 

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