Should your symptoms persist beyond three months, you may have chronic rhinosinusitis. Often times, the underlying cause is inflammation and not infection.
The sinus inflammation can be severe enough to form nasal polyps – clusters of swollen mucosal lining that can grow to large sizes and obstruct the nose. Loss of smell is frequent and the mucus can be so thick as to resemble globs of glue.
CAN I SELF-MEDICATE?
You may try these simple, over-the-counter remedies if your nasal symptoms are mild and of recent onset.
Irrigating your nose with purified saltwater can help clear a nose that is overwhelmed with mucus. This can be done with a saline nasal spray, which is gentle and convenient to use.
Alternatively, you can do nasal irrigation with a squeeze bottle. This is more efficient as it allows a larger volume of solution to get deeper into the nasal cavity. However, if your nose is very obstructed, this method may be difficult.
Antihistamines can be effective if your chief problems are runny nose, sneezing, and itchy nose or eyes. They may not work so well for a blocked nose or thick mucus, because they will dry out the mucus and make it even more viscous.
Over-the-counter nasal decongestant sprays give quick but short-lived relief. When the medication wears off, your nasal tissues will swell up again.
With repeated use, nasal congestion will rebound, causing your nose to feel more and more blocked, and potentially making you dependent on the medication. This is why you should not use decongestants for more than five days, nor for a persistently blocked nose.