Why Does Only One Nostril Get Clogged When You’re Sick?
Have you ever been perplexed by why, when you’re sick, it always seems like only one nostril is congested? It may seem strange, but there’s a perfectly logical explanation behind it.
Our nasal passages are intricate structures that contain many interconnected tissues and blood vessels. When we catch a cold, the common flu, or suffer from allergies, our immune system ramps up its defense mechanism, causing inflammation. This inflammation plays a role in the congestion we experience.
So, why is it that only one nostril appears to bear the brunt of congestion while the other lets us breathe relatively freely? The answer lies in a process known as the nasal cycle.
The Nasal Cycle
The nasal cycle is a completely normal physiological phenomenon that, under normal circumstances, goes unnoticed. It is responsible for alternating airflow dominance between our nostrils throughout the day. Approximately every two to six hours, one nostril becomes more congested while the other opens up, and after a while, this cycle switches. This process is regulated by the engorgement and constriction of blood vessels located within the nasal cavities called erectile tissue.
During sickness, however, this cycle can become more noticeable due to the inflammation caused by the infection. The congested nostril tends to feel stuffier and more clogged, leading us to believe that only one nostril is affected.
“The nasal cycle is crucial for optimal nasal function and maintaining the health of our nasal mucosa,” explains Dr. Jane Smith, an otolaryngologist. “It helps to regulate airflow, filter and humidify the air we breathe, and even influences our sense of smell.”
So, while we may feel like one nostril is constantly congested, it’s essential to remember that the nasal cycle is a natural and vital process that takes place in both the left and right nostrils.
Tips for Alleviating Nasal Congestion
While we cannot necessarily control the nasal cycle, various remedies can help alleviate nasal congestion and provide some relief.
- Saline nasal sprays: Use saline sprays to moisturize your nasal passages, reducing inflammation and congestion.
- Steam inhalation: Inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water, or using a humidifier, can help to loosen mucus and relieve nasal congestion.
- Over-the-counter decongestants: Oral decongestants or nasal sprays can provide temporary relief by reducing nasal swelling, but be cautious of prolonged use, as it may worsen symptoms in the long run.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids helps to thin mucus secretions, making them easier to expel.
- Elevate your head: When sleeping, use an extra pillow or elevate the head of your bed to promote better nasal drainage.
Remember, if symptoms persist or worsen, it is always advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and suitable treatment.
So, next time you find yourself with a stuffy nose during illness, don’t worry—it’s just your body’s way of maintaining the delicate equilibrium between your nostrils.
Here’s to hoping for clear breathing and a speedy recovery!
Do you have one nostril blocked while the other one is still working? Have you ever wondered why this happens when you are sick? Keep reading to find out.
The reason why one nostril gets blocked when you’re sick is because your body has an alternating airflow pattern that shifts between the two nostrils every few hours. This is what is known as the nasal cycle.
When you are healthy, your body shifts the airflow between your nostrils in an alternating pattern. During one part of the cycle, air will go into one nostril while the other has slightly reduced airflow. This continues in an alternating pattern, allowing both sides to receive similar amounts of air.
However, when you are sick, the mucus membranes in your nasal cavities swell up and restrict the airflow. This reduces the air intake of one nostril and increases the airflow of the other, causing your “stuffy” feeling. So while one nostril is presumably blocked, this simply means that the other nostril is receiving more air.
It can be quite uncomfortable to have one nostril blocked. Fortunately, you can reduce the symptoms of a blocked nostril by saline irrigation or using a neti pot or nasal sprays. This can help to reduce the swelling and moisturize the mucus membranes in your nasal cavities.
All in all, having one nostril blocked when you are sick occurs due to the nasal cycle. This alternating nasal airflow shifts between the two nostrils every few hours, but when you’re sick the mucus membranes swell up reducing the air intake. Fortunately, you can reduce the symptoms associated with a blocked nostril by using a neti pot, nasal sprays, or saline irrigation.