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

A blocked nose can be accompanied by a number of different symptoms, and these symptoms could be signalling different things wrong with your health.

Something many people have experienced during cold and flu season is a blocked nose with green or yellow mucus.

According to Abbas Kanani, superintendent pharmacist of Chemist Click, this could be signalling sinusitis.

He explained: “Sinusitis is swelling of the sinuses, usually caused by an infection.

“A blocked nose and green or yellow mucus are symptoms of the condition, 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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The mucus produced by your sinuses usually drains into your nose through small channels.

In sinusitis, these channels become blocked because the sinus linings are inflamed.

When it comes to treating sinusitis, Kanani advised: “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.”

A GP may refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist if, for example, you still have sinusitis after three months of treatment, keep getting sinusitis or only have symptoms on one side of your face.

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If your nose is blocked but without mucus it could be nasal polyps, said Kanani. This causes noncancerous growths to form inside nasal passages and sinuses.

He said: “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.”

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 congestions with clear watery nasal discharge is often down to rhinitis, said Kanani. It’s usually accompanied with an itchy nose, throat, eyes, or ears, and/or sneezing.

He added: “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.”

Having a blocked nose can be uncomfortable, particularly at night. Humidifiers can help with adding moisture to the air, which helps to break up mucus and soothe inflamed nasal passageways.

But Kanani warns if you have asthma, ask a doctor before using a humidifier. Propping your head up on pillows can also encourage mucus to flow out of your nasal passages.

He also advised: “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.

“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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