A man with congestion

Congestion Symptoms

Congestion occurs when your body is fighting off an irritant or infection, which causes an excess amount of mucus to be produced. This can occur along your nasal passages, sinus cavities, or in your lungs. The symptoms of congestion will vary depending on the location and severity of the congestion, as well as if it is accompanied by an infection.

Nasal Congestion Symptoms

More commonly known as a “stuffy” or “runny” nose, nasal congestion is the result of your nasal tissues becoming swollen with excess fluid. Nasal congestion is usually just a nuisance; however, sometimes it is indicative of a more serious problem. Additionally, it can be serious in infants if they are having trouble nursing or breathing as a result. Besides feeling stuffy and having a runny nose, if you or your child experiences any of the following symptoms, you should speak with your doctor.

  • A high fever that lasts for more than three days
  • Nasal discharge that is green or yellow and accompanied by sinus pain or fever
  • Blood in your nasal discharge
  • Persistent clear nasal discharge after experiencing a head injury
  • If your child is less than two months old and experiencing nasal congestion along with a fever
  • If your child is struggling to breathe or having trouble nursing as a result of nasal congestion

Chest Congestion Symptoms

Chest congestion is caused by an excess amount of chest mucus being produced by your body in an attempt to fight off foreign or invading bodies. This can be caused by a variety of different conditions, but the symptoms of chest congestion are usually the same. They include:

  • Coughing: While coughing up mucus may not be very pleasant, it means that your body is fighting off an infection and trying to clear your lungs of harmful irritants.
  • Wheezing: If your lungs become filled with fluid or pus, this could cause you to begin wheezing.
  • Coughing up blood: If you are coughing a lot, this could cause irritation in your respiratory tract which could lead to blood in your mucus.
  • Shortness of breath: Since you are not able to breathe as easily as normal, this can cause you to feel short of breath, especially if you are participating in activities that are physically exerting.
  • Chest pain and tightness: When mucus builds up in your chest, this creates a feeling of tightness and heaviness that can also be painful when you take deep breaths.

Sinus Congestion Symptoms

When your sinuses become congested, this can very easily lead to a sinus infection, or sinusitis. The symptoms of sinus congestion and infection include:

  • Pain: Since your sinuses are located above and below your eyes and behind your nose, it can be very painful with you have a sinus infection that is creating a lot of pressure in these areas of your face. It may also cause swelling and inflammation in and around your sinuses.
  • Sinus discharge: You usually have a greenish-yellow nasal discharge when you have a sinus infection that is draining from your infected sinuses to your nasal passages.  
  • Headache: Because of the pressure and swelling, sinus congestion can also lead to intense headaches, as well as earaches and toothaches.
  • Cough: If the discharge from your sinuses drains down the back of your throat, this can cause irritation which can lead to an annoying and persistent cough.
  • Sore throat: As a result of coughing, you may also end up with a raw and aching throat. 
Last Updated: December 16, 2016