“We suffered a variety of viruses that coincided in a period that usually did not correspond to them. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)which had already peaked before the summer, rebounded in the fall, adding to the high incidence of rhinovirusof fluand the persistence of a high incidence of COVID-19″, explains the Dr. Luis Jiménez Ferreres, from the Otorhinolaryngology Department, San Rafael University Hospital in Madridat Infosalus.
We talk about the concept of “immune debt” which postulates that in the absence of other virus due to the prevalence of COVID-19 in previous years, and due to the use of masks, we have not acquired natural immunity against these virusesand neither before the fluwhich should also have greater affectation this year, as noted. “Our last contact with viruses was in 2019 and natural immunity declines over time. Due to this lack of contact, we have generated small immunity and we are more likely to get sick,” argues this expert.
So, when asked about the nasal congestionone of the main, or rather most boring symptomrespiratory photos, the doctor admits to Infosalus that his duration can be very varieddepending on the cause: “A cold due to rhinovirus lasts between 7 and 10 days, although symptoms can last up to 3 weeks. If it is due to the flu, it usually has more symptoms, especially fever , and lasts longer.
How to relieve nasal congestion
The best to help is the prevention with frequent hand washing Yes avoid direct contact with other infected patients, the latter being very difficult or even impossible, recognizes this specialist from the San Rafael hospital in Madrid.
This is why, he continues, once a nasal congestion has been established, if it is not allergic, or of another identified cause and which has a specific treatment, the most appropriate thing and the least aggressive to do is to help natural nasal cleansing mechanisms“For this we must realize nasal washes, keep one Humid climatewith a humidifier, sprays or misters, especially if we live in a region with a dry climate”.
Other popular therapies like drink hot drinks or herbal teas They help due to the vasodilating effect, as he points out, and more than due to the anti-inflammatory effect of the contents of the infusion, such as the Turmeric or the Ginger. “Honey has a slight effect on coughing, but nothing more and it should not be given to children under 1 year old”, warns this specialist.
Saline or nasal sprays?
Asked specifically about whether nasal washes with physiological serum or is it better with you vaporize seawater, Dr. Luis Jiménez Ferreres points out that nasal washes usually help clean the nasal cavity of remnants and mucus in a mechanical way.
“In addition, salinity promotes decongestion. The mechanical effect is probably the most effective, but hypertonic serums decongest more, and the trace elements and minerals provided by sea water, or other hot springs, can help improve the proper cleansing function of the skin. nasal mucosa. “, points out this expert.
On the other hand, consider using eucalyptus and menthol vapors: “Menthol has a cooling effect, and therefore makes us feel better. Eucalyptus has mucolytic and anti-inflammatory properties and thins mucus, facilitating its expulsion.”
Now, regarding the application of menthol or eucalyptus ointments, this doctor warns that, like vapors with these substances, applying them to the chest or neck does not help with mucus or cough, although he claims they improve sleep in children and adults. “As a side effect, they can irritate the skin and eyes,” he warns.
What are we doing wrong?
On the other hand, and when asked what we usually do wrong to decongest our nose in case of cold and very dense mucus, he indicates that since the problem of nasal obstruction is a very uncomfortable sensation, and that we only have the patience to wait for the symptoms to pass, the patient usually directly uses decongestant sprays easy to acquire nasal passages.
“These help immediately but should not be used for more than 3-4 days because they have a rebound effect, that is, we need more and more doses of medicine and, in addition, they cause addiction with possible side effects, ”warns Dr. Jiménez.
What are the dangers of using the humidifierthis expert points out that in regions with a dry climate, they are very useful, since a dry nose is more prone to bleeding.
“The humidity promotes nasal ventilation by improving the condition of the mucous membrane. Except in very specific situations such as allergies favored by humidity, they are recommended, but you must always keep them clean and in good condition by following the instructions that accompany them”, underlines this otolaryngologist.
Poorly resolved congestion
Regarding the possible complications that may arise from poorly resolved nasal congestionDr. Jiménez indicates that all congestions of viral origin, which represent 95% of cases, are self-limiting, that is to say that they resolve on their own, and do not cause complications.
“In all cases, nasal obstruction can promote the appearance of otitis Either sinusitis by not ventilating these cavities. Or lead to lung infections,” says Dr. Luis Jiménez Ferreres, from the otolaryngology department at San Rafael University Hospital in Madrid.
He therefore advises to consult a specialist when the congestion is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, headache or headache, which may suggest sinusitis or any other complication. “In general, the flu has a more accentuated clinic with higher fever, chills, muscle aches and malaise. In these cases, we must go to seek medical attention. Specialized care for allergies, ears, nose and throat will depend on the symptoms, the repetition of images of the obstruction, or its chronicity,” he adds.
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