What are the signs of nose problems?

Nose symptoms, also called nasal symptoms, include any symptoms that affect the nose. The nose has two nasal cavities (nostrils or nares) that are lined with mucous membranes and divided by a cartilaginous wall called the septum. The nasal bone (or bridge) forms the top of the nose.

Aside from breathing, the nose is responsible for trapping fine debris and other potentially dangerous particles in the air to prevent them from reaching the lungs. The nose also houses special cells that are responsible for your sense of smell, and it warms and moistens air before it enters your lungs.

Because it performs such important respiratory functions, the nose is often the source of symptoms caused by respiratory-related illnesses, including the common cold, flu, sinusitis, and allergic rhinitis. In addition, the nose is the most prominent feature of the face and is easily exposed to injury and trauma. In fact, nose injuries account for about 40% percent of facial bone injuries, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (Source: AAFP).

Nose symptoms vary depending upon the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Typical nose symptoms include:

  • Dry or itchy nose
  • Injury or deformity of the nose
  • Loss of smell
  • Nasal congestion or stuffiness
  • Nasal discharge (runny nose) that may be clear, yellow, whitish, bloody or green
  • Noisy or whistling sound when breathing through the nose, particularly at night
  • Nosebleed
  • Skin tumors
  • Sneezing
  • Sores or pustules at the base of nasal hairs
  • Swelling
  • Tissue erosion (tumors, inhaled drug use)
  • Ulcer formation

    Nose symptoms can happen at any age from newborns to the elderly. Depending on the cause, nose symptoms can begin suddenly and disappear quickly, such as with an isolated nosebleed due to temporary nose dryness. Nose symptoms can also develop with time and occur along with additional symptoms.

    In some cases, the underlying causes of nose symptoms, such as nasal cancer or sinusitis, can be serious or life threatening. Seek prompt medical care if you develop unexplained nose symptoms, symptoms that are not improving after treatment, or if you have a fever that has lasted for more than 48 hours. 

    Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you or someone you are with has nose symptoms accompanied by shortness of breath, wheezing, high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), facial or tongue swelling, or a change in alertness or consciousness.


    What other symptoms might occur with nose symptoms?

    Nose symptoms may be accompanied by other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. In many cases, nose symptoms are accompanied by other upper respiratory symptoms, such as a fever or headache.

    Symptoms of upper respiratory infections that can occur ... Read more about nose symptomssymptoms


    What causes nose symptoms?

    Nose symptoms can be caused by a wide variety of mild, moderate and serious diseases, disorders, and conditions. The most common cause of nose or nasal symptoms is the common cold. Each year, there are more than a billion cases of the common cold in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health. (Source: NIH) Read more about nose symptomscauses

    Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 20, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

    This Article is Filed Under: Ear, Nose and Throat

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