Nasal congestion or "stuffy nose" occurs when nasal and adjacent tissues and blood vessels become swollen with excess fluid, causing a "stuffy" plugged feeling. Nasal congestion may or may not include a nasal discharge or "runny nose."

Nasal congestion usually is just an annoyance for older children and adults. But nasal congestion can be serious for children whose sleep is disturbed by their nasal congestion, or for infants, who might have a hard time feeding as a result.

From Mayo Clinic to your inbox

Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Feb. 27, 2021

See also

  1. Acute sinusitis
  2. Acute sinusitis: Do over-the-counter treatments help?
  3. Alcohol intolerance
  4. Allergies
  5. Allergy medications: Know your options
  6. Allergy-proof your home
  7. Aspergillosis
  8. Avoid rebound nasal congestion
  9. Broken nose
  10. Bronchiolitis
  11. Can chicken soup cure a cold?
  12. Chicken soup: Can it treat a cold?
  13. Chronic cough
  14. Chronic daily headaches
  15. Chronic sinusitis
  16. Cluster headache
  17. Cold and flu viruses: How long can they live outside the body?
  18. Cold or allergy: Which is it?
  19. Cold remedies
  20. Cold symptoms: Does drinking milk increase phlegm?
  21. Common cold
  22. Common cold in babies
  23. Cystic fibrosis
  24. What is cystic fibrosis? A Mayo Clinic expert explains
  25. Cystic fibrosis FAQs
  26. Does honey offer sweet relief for allergies?
  27. Does zinc work for colds?
  28. Drug addiction (substance use disorder)
  29. Dust mite allergy
  30. Flu shots
  31. Flu: When to see a doctor?
  32. Food allergy
  33. Can adults develop a food allergy?
  34. Food allergy or intolerance?
  35. Group B strep disease
  36. Have a cold? Common sense rules
  37. Have a cold? Fight back with humidity
  38. Have a cold? Fight it with fluids
  39. Headaches 101: Know your type
  40. Headaches and hormones
  41. Headaches in children
  42. Headaches: Treatment depends on your diagnosis and symptoms
  43. High-dose flu vaccines: How are they different from other flu vaccines?
  44. Humidifier care 101
  45. Humidifiers
  46. Influenza (flu)
  47. Infographic: Lung Transplant for Cystic Fibrosis
  48. Medication overuse headaches
  49. Nasal Cleaning
  50. Nasal spray addiction: Is it real?
  51. Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  52. Neti pot: Can it clear your nose?
  53. Nighttime headaches: Relief
  54. Nonallergic rhinitis
  55. Oil of oregano: Can it treat sinusitis?
  56. Pain Management
  57. Pet allergy
  58. Plugged ears: What is the remedy?
  59. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  60. Rubella
  61. Shellfish allergy
  62. Sinus headaches
  63. Sinus infection and toothache: Any connection?
  64. Stress and headaches: Stop the cycle
  65. Stuffy nose? Try saline spray
  66. Vicks VapoRub: An effective nasal decongestant?
  67. Vitamin C: Can it prevent colds?
  68. Warm-mist versus cool-mist humidifier: Which is better for a cold?
  69. Wheat allergy
  70. Whooping cough
  71. Whooping cough
  72. Do zinc supplements shorten colds?