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A blocked nose with blood -pharmacist outlines potential causes

During cold and flu season a blocked nose is common. But it’s the accompanying symptoms that could be telling us specifically what’s wrong with our health.

Someone with nasal congestion may also experience bleeding from the nose. While the sight of blood can appear alarming, it’s usually just the sign of damaged blood vessels, said Abbas Kanani, superintendent pharmacist of Chemist Click.

He explained: “Your nose has many blood vessels that can become damaged for a variety of reasons. This could be down to blowing the nose too hard or too frequently. It often occurs with viral infections or allergies that cause the nasal tissues to become dry.”

Kanani said some people experience bleeding when blowing their nose more commonly in the winter months: “This is when cold and dry air can damage your nose’s blood vessels because there isn’t enough moisture in your nose.”

READ MORE Pharmacist shares what a blocked nose with green or yellow mucus means

“It may become even more dry and irritated in the winter because you spend time in heated indoor environments that lack humidity.”

Sometimes blood-thinning medications like aspirin and warfarin can affect the ability of your blood to clot and could lead to bleeding when blowing your nose. Kanani added: “Very rarely, blood when blowing your nose can be caused by a tumour in the nose with symptoms such as pain around your eyes, nasal congestion that progressively gets worse and a decreased sense of smell.”

Kanani outlined other symptoms that can accompany a blocked nose and what they mean, starting with green or yellow mucus.

Blocked nose with green or yellow mucus

Sinusitis is swelling of the sinuses, usually caused by an infection. A blocked nose and green or yellow mucus are symptoms of the condition, said Kanani, as well as a sinus headache, a reduced sense of smell and pain, swelling and tenderness around your cheeks, eyes or forehead.

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“You can often treat mild sinusitis without seeing a GP by getting plenty of rest and drinking plenty of fluids. Decongestant nasal sprays or drops can help with unblocking your nose and salt water nasal sprays or solutions to rinse out the inside of your nose.”

Blocked nose with clear mucus

Nasal congestion with clear watery nasal discharge is often down to rhinitis. Kanani said: “It is usually accompanied with an itchy nose, throat, eyes, or ears, and/or sneezing. Allergic rhinitis is where your nose gets irritated by something you’re allergic to, such as pollen, dust mites, mould or pet hair, causing sneezing and other symptoms.

“You can often treat allergic rhinitis without seeing a GP. You should try to avoid the things that trigger your allergies. A pharmacist may recommend antihistamines, decongestant nasal sprays or drops to help relieve symptoms.”

Blocked nose without mucus

It could be down to nasal polyps, which cause benign (noncancerous) growths to form inside nasal passages and sinuses, said Kanani. He advised: “They’re not usually serious, but they can keep growing and block your nose if not treated.

“Nasal polyps can sometimes feel like a cold. But colds tend to clear up within a few days, whereas nasal polyps will not get better unless they’re treated. At the beginning stages, nasal polyps may have no symptoms at all. As they grow bigger, you may experience a stuffy nose, cough, headaches, decreased sense of smell and taste and sinus pressure.

“You should see your GP if you think you may have nasal polyps, you have difficulty breathing, your symptoms are getting worse or you notice changes to your sense of smell.”

Nasal congestion rarely causes major health problems and is most often caused by the common cold or a sinus infection. Symptoms usually improve right away with proper treatment. Kanani added: “Generally, you should seek medical advice if your symptoms do not improve after three weeks. A doctor will talk to you about your symptoms to rule out an underlying condition.”

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  • Posted on December 2, 2023