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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes swelling in the throat and breathing difficulty?

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Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 15903 Questions

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Posted on Fri, 10 Mar 2017 in Medicines and Side Effects
Question: I have had the flu for 5 days and saw the doctor yesterday. They told me it would just have to run its course. However last evening my nose swelled completely shut and remains that way. I was unable to sleep all night. About 2am I felt my throat swelling shut and had difficulty breathing. I panicked, turned the shower on hot in the bathroom and stayed in there for 10 minutes and tried to calm down. This helped my throat to open back up. Right now my throat is OK but my nose is still completely swollen shut. I have a lot of pressure and a bad headache. Should I take my alkaseltzer plus daytime as I have been taking? I took the alkaselzer nighttime at midnight. I have been taking these meds for the past few days and they usually helped except for last night.
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 33 minutes later
Brief Answer:
can use along with a topical decongestant, consider anti inflammatory med

Detailed Answer:
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

The difference between the alkaselzer day and night is the presence of the antihistamine in the night time formulation.
They should both contain a decongestant to help with nasal congestion but you may still want to add a topical decongestant to this eg normal saline drops or otrivine

One of these decongestants added to the oral decongestant would help to prevent the blockage that you experienced earlier.

If you are at home or do not need to be out and about, you can use the XXXXXXX seltzer night during the day, the anti histamine would also help with the symptoms as well.
Antihistamines can cause drowsiness so if this is a problem, it should be avoided.

If the throat is inflamed, the use of a medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen or cataflam would help. These are anti inflammatory medications, typically used with pain but can be used in the absence of pain, just to reduce any inflammation present

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James 39 minutes later
Thank you. That was helpful. When am I no longer contagious?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 5 minutes later
Brief Answer:
when no more secretions or coughing

Detailed Answer:
HI

In most within 7 to 14 days. Essentially when there is little to no coughing or nasal discharge.

These conditions are spread by contact with these secretions (cough droplets and nasal discharge)

Please feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James 32 hours later
Still struggling with this. So far 6 days of 101 fever. The non penetrable sinus congestion continues. The pressure is painful as well as the constant headache. Flonase has not provided any relief, nor has my XXXXXXX seltzer plus. I have not slept since Tuesday. I'm taking Advil for the pain and it helps a little.

Any suggestions? I called the doctor yesterday and they seem to think I need to let it run its course a few more days.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
sorry to hear

Detailed Answer:
Hi

It must be difficult to hear let it run its course.

You can add otrivine or normal saline drops to help the congestion, even though they are applied nasally, would still help relieve the sinus congestion

Steam inhalation or the use of menthol rubs or crystals may also help the sinus congestion. Would have to be careful with the steam inhalation if you chose to do this.

Add paracetamol to help with the pain, look at the dose of the ibuprofen you are using. Technically the maximum dose of ibuprofen for pain is 3200mg though this is usually prescribed, it may be best to speak to your doctor about the dose

It is possible , if the symptoms continue to be severe, that you may need a course of antibiotics

If anything else unclear, can let me know
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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