Some people find that when they eat a food that does not agree with them they experience nasal congestion. This is because one of the body’s natural reactions to food allergies is to swell up.
Swelling is one of the body’s defence mechanisms that it uses to ward off bacteria and parasites. It is also a way for your body to protect an injury site.
People who suffer from food sensitivities often experience nasal swelling when they eat foods that they are sensitive to. When this happens it is called rhinitis. Exactly, why some foods can cause this reaction is not fully understood. The trigger does not to be the same as it is for someone who is allergic to dust, pollen or some other airborne particles. In those people, the body produces more mucus to keep the airborne allergens outside of the body.
The danger of nasal congestion
In most cases nasal congestion is not dangerous it is just unpleasant. That said, it is not something you should take lightly. If there is other swelling for example in the mouth the combination of nasal swelling and a swollen tongue can lead to difficulty in breathing.
This means that you need to be careful with nasal congestion. If the swelling occurs quickly you need to consider seeking medical help.
If you are sure the swelling is not extreme and is not going to interfere with your breathing here are a few things you can try to help reduce nasal congestion caused by an adverse reaction to a food.
Take an anti-inflammatory
Sometimes a simple anti-inflammatory can reduce the congestion. Naturally, you should only take those you know that you do not have an allergic reaction to.
Take an anti-histamine
Sometimes taking an anti-histamine can really help, but only if your symptoms are due to your body’s autoimmune system trying to protect the body. Unfortunately, not all reactions to food intolerances are not as a result of your autoimmune system over-reacting to a food. Different mechanisms are at play in people with food intolerances than they are with people who have true or full-blown food allergies. This means that sometimes anti-histamines do not relieve the symptoms of those suffering from food sensitivities rather than what are called true food allergies.
Here are some other things you can do to relieve mild allergy related nasal congestion.
Use a warm compress
Warm compresses are a great way to reduce nasal inflammation. To make one all you need to do is to dip a flannel into warm water, leave it until it is not too hot to touch, wring it and apply it to the affected area.
Nasal sprays can help to reduce congestion. It is wise to use a decongestant spray that you have already tried and tested. This ensures that you do not end up using a product that could make the situation worse. That is to say, a product that could cause a further allergic reaction.
Just a quick aside note – nasal decongestants should not be used on a regular basis. This is because doing so could lead to Rhinitis Medicamentosa. This condition results in over-stimulation of the blood vessels around the nasal passages, which can lead to atrophic sinusitis.
Fill a bowl with hot water. Drape a towel over your head and shoulders while leaning over the bowl of hot water. The aim is for the towel to trap the steam to allow you breathe it in and relieve some of the swelling.
Again, be careful when using this method. You will need hot water to generate the steam, so if you feel light-headed it is probably not wise to lean over a bowl of hot water. If you passed out you could end up with your face in the water. Anyone who faints regularly should not use this method.
Lay down and elevate your head
Laying down and elevating your head can really help to relieve congestion. When you place yourself in this position you naturally open up the nasal passages.
Massage your sinuses
Gently massaging your sinuses, cheeks and forehead can help to relieve some of the tension. This helps to ease the pain of swelling around the nose.
There are several ways to treat nasal swelling, but by far the best course of action is to avoid getting congestion in the first place. This means avoiding those foods that you know that you are intolerant to.