Common Nose Diseases

Closed Up Image of a Woman Nose, Differential Focus
Close up Image of a Woman's nose, differential focus. (Image: DAJ/amana images/Getty Images)

The nose is a sensitive facial feature that can quickly detect unpleasant smells. Sometimes, certain medical conditions can lead to narrowing of the nasal airway and infections. In some cases, pollen, ragweed and grass can enter the nose and trigger certain nasal conditions.

Choanal Atresia

According to the National Institutes of Health's MedlinePlus medical encyclopedia, choanal atresia is the most common nasal defect affecting newborns, occurring in one out of every 7,000 births. Its main symptom is breathing difficulties which result in a bluish color to the skin, lips and fingernails due to a lack of oxygen. This disease also leads to problems nursing, nasal blockage affecting one side of the nose and chest retractions (sinking of the chest as the baby breathes inward). The cause of choanal atresia is not known.

Treatment may involve placing a tube into the baby's mouth to help him breathe (intubation). Sometimes, a tracheostomy may be needed; this involves surgically creating an airway via the neck. Other types of surgery are also used to treat the condition.

Hay Fever

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is a condition characterized by a runny nose, nasal congestion, cough, sneezing, and a reduced sense of smell and taste. Fatigue, irritability, facial pain, sinus pressure, swollen eyes and drowsiness are other symptoms of hay fever, says the Mayo Clinic.

Hay fever may be seasonal and affect people when the levels of pollen, ragweed and weeds are elevated in the environment. Pet dander and molds are also possible triggers of hay fever.

Nasal corticosteroids and oral (taken by mouth) corticosteroids are used to decrease inflammation, while decongestants, antihistamines and leukotriene modifiers are used to relieve hay fever symptoms. Sometimes, washing out the nose with a saline rinse can also reduce hay fever.

Common Cold

The common cold is a viral infection that leads to a runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, a sore throat a cough, and headaches. MedlinePlus says that colds are the most common reason for children missing school and adults taking days off from work. Treatment for the common cold involves drinking plenty of fluids and resting. Certain antiviral medications, vitamin C, zinc and echinacea may help manage the common cold, according to MedlinePlus.

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