A swollen nose is a very disturbing symptom that can mean different things for various people. Some may experience redness and extreme pain on one side of the nose, while others feel that their noses are clogged and need to blow them all the time. Sometimes the pain in the nose radiates to the cheek or the eye on the same side, and others may even feel a lymph node in the neck area. Other symptoms that may be associated with a swollen nose are headaches, toothaches and pain in the face.
The possible causes of swelling in the nose and all symptoms associated with it include local infection, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, trauma, nasal polyps, and in children, a foreign body.
Causes of Swollen Nose
Infection. One possible cause of swollen is a local infection either inside or outside the nose. At first it might appear like a pimple that is reddish and firm. Then it starts swelling and gets bigger, until it causes more pain, redness and finally produces pus. If inside the nose, it can be due to a pulled nose hair or a constant habit of picking the nose or blowing the nose too often, causing mucosa lesion. From the lesion, bacteria such as Staphylococcal. break the natural defense leading to an infection. It is similar when the swollen occurs on the skin of the nose, moreover there are pores that can be clogged and infected with Staph bacteria.
If the small pimple grows bigger it may form an abscess or a boil, which is a localized collection of pus, also red, warm and painful, occasionally accompanied with fever. Regional lymph nodes can also become swollen and painful, which is activated immune system of the body combating intruding bacteria.
When it remains small pimple, antibacterial solution might be enough. When form an abscess, the basic treatment is draining the puss, then apply antibacterial cleaning solution. If the infection spread out, oral or intravenous antibiotics prescribed by a doctor may be needed. Usually, when puss is drained and inflammation recedes, pain also goes with them. However, you can also take some pain killers to help cope with it. Remove the pus by yourself with pressure or using a needle is not suggested.
Sinusitis. Another common cause of swollen nose is sinusitis. Sinusitis may be due to allergic reaction or infection. Inflammation causes swollen of sinus mucosa leading to clogging and excessive mucus production. That’s why you constantly blow your nose and feel headaches. Treatment of sinusitis with antibiotics, nasal decongestants and pain relievers may reduce the symptoms. Allergic sinusitis is similar with allergic rhinitis as follow.
Allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis also causes swelling of the mucosa inside the nose, whenever you inhale dust, pollen, smoke, bacteria or some pollutants. These may bring about constant sneezing, runny nose and headaches. The nose is swollen, clogged, reddish and painful, especially when you blow it too often. The treatment for allergic rhinitis or sinusitis includes antihistamines, decongestants and pain relievers.
Trauma. Any kind of trauma to the nose, such as falling, being hit or bumping the nose against something hard can bring about pain and swelling. The crooked nose indicates nasal bone fractured or cracked, usually accompanied with bleeding and bruising around the nose and eyes. Some may even have difficulty in breathing. These are signs that you should seek immediate medical help.
Nasal polyps. Nasal polyps can also cause swelling inside the nose. Polyps are benign, tear-shaped growths inside the nose that are associated with allergic conditions or continuous stimulus. When large enough, they can block the nasal passages, cause mucus production and collection, facial pain, and other symptoms similar to sinusitis. If keep growing, they can push into bones and change the shape of the nose of face. You should see an E.N.T doctor for treatments including decongestants, steroid nasal spray and surgical removal of the polyps.
Foreign body. Foreign bodies stuck inside the nose are common among young children, some older children and adults have them, too. This can cause tenderness and swelling of the nose. If the foreign body, like a bead or small toy, stuck in the nose undetected for a few days, or cut the mucosa, infection will set in, and give out a foul-smelling discharge that may be yellowish or green. Bleeding can also occur. Immediate medical consultation should be done to remove the object and cure the infection.
How to Relieve the Swelling
If the probable cause of your swollen nose is infection, then you should see a doctor for antibiotics. Some may need surgical intervention, such as drainage of an abscess or pus, repair of a broken nose or removal of polyps. However, for immediate relief, here are some tips:
First of all, do not poke the inside of the nose with your finger or any object. This may cause bleeding or infection. Do not blow your nose too hard, instead blow gently.
Do not put anything inside, such as tissue or cotton to pack the nostril.
Apply ice wrapped in a zip-lock bag or towel on the nose to reduce swelling and pain. You can do this for 15-20 minutes at a time, up to 3 times daily.
Take a pain reliever or anti-inflammatory medication such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Be sure to take these after eating something to reduce the risk of stomach irritation.
If your nose is congested due to allergies or sinusitis, nasal decongestants, nasal sprays and antihistamines may be helpful. However, when you have taken these for more than 3 days but the symptoms persist, consult a doctor.
Use an extra pillow to elevate your head when lying down. This will help drain the mucus and allow you to breathe and sleep more comfortably.
Avoid smoking or taking alcohol which may aggravate the symptoms. Avoid inhaling dust, pollen or other irritants that can trigger allergic reactions.