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As soon as the temperature starts to drop, a stuffy and congested nose can often follow suit. However, this year, some extra nasal congestion brings with it a bit more worry as COVID-19 continues to circulate with nearly 60,000 death cases in the UK. One of the entry routes of SARS-CoV-2 is the nasal epithelium.
In a study published in MedRxiv, acute nasal dryness in COVID-19 was further investigated.
The study noted: “A group of 35 patients with COVID-19 was surveyed about the presence of a variety of nasal symptoms that may be associated with drastic perturbations experienced in the nasal cavity.
“More than 68 percent of the patients reported at least one “nasal” symptom.
“The clinical group also experienced “a strange sensation in the nose” and having excessive nasal dryness significantly more often than the control group.
“Fifty-two percent of the patients reported a constant sensation of having had a strong nasal douche.
“Nasal symptoms predominantly co-occurred with anosmia/hyposmia, and ageusia/hypogeusia, appeared principally before or during the other symptoms of COVID-19, and lasted for twelve days, on average.
“The presence of these nasal symptoms, and their early occurrence, could potentially facilitate early diagnosis of COVID-19 and initial social distancing efforts.”
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Why the nose is affected by a COVID-19 infection
Both the nose and the mouth are entry portals for the COVID-19 because the virus is transmitted through inhalation of or contract with infected droplets.
In fact, the nose can be so infected with a COVID-19 infection that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends diagnostic testing for collecting upper respiratory nasal swabs.
“Nasal mucosa represents a vulnerable area for coronavirus to colonise for its abundant blood vessels, mucinous glands and serous glands which create a humid environment,” said the International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology.
The health site added: “Typically, human coronavirus caused disruption of the ciliated epithelium and ciliary dyskinesia. This is likely to impair mucociliary clearance.”
Dr Ahmed Sedaghat said the nasal cavity is likely the major site of entry and infection by COVID-19 since at least 90 percent of inhaled air enters the body through the nose.
“Nasal virus production is at very high levels and tends to occur early in the disease process while patients are still asymptomatic or having very mild symptoms,” he added.
If you are experiencing a runny nose or congestion, it’s important to carefully monitor your symptoms and take the precautionary measures issued by the government.
Like many symptoms of coronavirus, a congested or stuffy nose is a non-specific symptom, which means it can be linked to a number of illnesses.
This is why it’s imperative to closely monitor any other symptoms you may be suffering with.
Treating nasal congestion due to COVID-19 is similar to treating nasal congestion as a result of any illness as long as you’re not experiencing any severe symptoms like shortness of breath or chest pain.
If your symptoms are mild, you can try a few different techniques that help relieve sinus pressure from a stuffy nose.
Saline rinses and nasal steroid sprays are available over the counter to help clear up your nasal passageways.
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