Homesickness at home.
January 13, 2007 12:52 PM   Subscribe

Nasal congestion on waking... A few possible causes, but a lot of them are ruled out.

All right - here's the deal.

I've moved back home for a break from school, and in the past week, on almost every morning, as soon as I wake up - and a lot of times I'll wake up early (before 9 in college-speak), and I'll have a pretty congested nose. A few minutes after waking it gets a lot worse, and eventually I can't breathe out of my nose well enough to go back to sleep. Possible things that affect this... I have an ancient radiator in my room which I thought was drying out the air, but after turning it off and using a humidifier that still persists. There's a cat in the house, and I'm allergic to cats, but I don't have itchy eyes, so I don't know if it could be that (also, I've lived here before, with that cat, and the radiator)

Flu? Cold? Other stuff? I'm not sure what's going on, and thinking of having a doc appt, but any help beforehand would be cool (my doctor... is on his mark on some things, but I doubt the breadth of his knowledge)
posted by tmcw to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My vote is for a mild allergic reaction. Mine always hit the nose first. I'm allergic to dust mites, and if I'm in a slightly dusty place, I'll just get a little stuffy. If I'm in a REALLY dusty place, I'll get very congested and my eyes will water.

Drop by the drugstore and pick up a few loratadine tablets (brand-name:Claritin) to get you through your break.
posted by chrisamiller at 1:11 PM on January 13, 2007

It could be an increase in allergens such as dust. Also, it could be dry air. This sounds like me when I wake up in my room in the basement in the winter.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 1:15 PM on January 13, 2007

You've just described my life for the past 4-5 years, ever since I got a cat. I finally figured it out after getting out of the house for a week and discovering what it was like to breathe through my nose again. I still love my cats, but I relish being able to take the occasional break from them and smell things again.
posted by sharkweek at 1:22 PM on January 13, 2007

What kind of pillow & sheets do you have? If your pillow is down, you may be allergic to that. You might want to look into some kind of allergy free pillow and bedding. Also, you might want to try washing your sheets & pillowcase in a detergent that has no perfumes or dye.

Also, I recommend things like this to cover your pillows and bedding. They've helped my allergies A LOT.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:38 PM on January 13, 2007

Allergies to the dust mites lurking in your pillow, mattress, and blankets.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:39 PM on January 13, 2007

You are experiencing some sort of allergic reaction from a combination of factors. Go to the drug store and buy some Ayr. It is a saline solution that is going to help much more than a humidifier. Two squirts, each nostril before bed, repeat upon waking up. Afterwards take a shower. Blow the snot out of your head while showering... Place thumb over one nostrill, deep breath and blow out the open nostril as hard as you can. Repeat on the other side. (This is called a "Farmer's Blow"). Dry off and start your day. Smile at the cat but don't pet it.
posted by bkeene12 at 1:55 PM on January 13, 2007

After living away from the cat (and house in general), your resistance to it might have decreased. I was totally fine living with a cat until I went away to school. When I came home after not having seen a cat in 3 months, I couldn't stand to be near it.
(Due to allergies, I guess I should specify.)
posted by librarina at 3:27 PM on January 13, 2007

Even better than Ayr, would you be willing to try a Neti pot? It's changed my life.
posted by rbs at 3:46 PM on January 13, 2007

I'll second librarina's comment. Whenever I'm staying at my parents' house with cats after an absence of as little as a couple weeks, I wake up with the same sort of congestion and no other allergy symptoms. I never had this problem while living with cats everyday for six years, though. I've found that a week or so of being around the cats again, regardless of whether or not I've taken allergy meds, makes the symptoms clear up, but YMMV.
posted by thisjax at 4:35 PM on January 13, 2007

If you only use one pillow, try two for a while. Simply propping your head up might help the congestion drain. You can also try a saline nasal spray (like Ocean Spray) during the daytime to help keep your nasal passages moist.
posted by IndigoRain at 6:33 PM on January 13, 2007

Allergies to the dust mites lurking in your pillow, mattress, and blankets.

I'd second this as a possibility - I had the same problem for 2+ years, but it was reduced quite a bit after I picked up a set of these and started washing all my bedding in hot water rather than cold each week. A cheap solution that made a big difference in my case.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:51 PM on January 13, 2007

Remove the cat and the radiator and you pretty much have my life. I'd say allergies - dust and dustmites can be really irritating. Check your pillows - mine (which I don't use anymore) were damp and disgusting.

Unlike many people I know (and on this thread), it's humidity that makes me suffer. I fare much, much better in dry weather. I can't wear many of my clothes that have been sitting in the cupboard as they've gone damp and collected mites - I have to wash them and sun-dry them first.
posted by divabat at 3:03 AM on January 14, 2007

Response by poster: All right - thanks all for the comments. I'm thinking allergies - because I don't have a headache, or anything else, just nasal congestion...

And - no down pillow, I use one of the newfangled foam (hard) ones.

Although, weirdly enough, I slept last night in a dorm room, so obviously there were no cats involved, and had the same thing. It was extremely dusty, though.
posted by tmcw at 2:36 PM on January 14, 2007

« Older Can I show copyrighted images to a class?   |   Where we should move? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.