Enlarged Turbinates: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

The turbinates are thin, bony plates inside your nose. Allergies or a lengthy cold can irritate them and cause them to swell, or enlarge. The swelling makes it hard for you to breathe. Another cause of the swelling is overuse of decongestant nasal sprays.

Sometimes it is not clear why turbinates swell. In most cases, the swelling does not cause pain. But it can feel like an object is blocking one side of your nose.

Your doctor may do tests to be sure about what is causing the problem. He or she may prescribe a steroid spray to reduce swelling. Your doctor may advise you to stop using over-the-counter nasal sprays.

If the turbinate swelling does not go down, you may need surgery to open your nasal passage.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines or use nasal sprays exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • Ask your doctor about cough medicines and decongestants, including nasal sprays. Some doctors recommend these medicines, while others feel that they do not help. Treat a symptom with a medicine that is only for that problem. For example, if you have a cough, use a cough medicine. Don't use a medicine for a cough, stuffy nose, and headache.
  • Use a vaporizer or humidifier to add moisture to your bedroom. Follow the directions for cleaning the machine.
  • Use saline (saltwater) nasal washes to help keep your nasal passages open. They wash out mucus and bacteria. You can buy saline nose drops at a grocery store or pharmacy. Or you can make your own at home. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 2 cups of distilled water. If you make your own, fill a bulb syringe with the solution. Put the tip into your nostril, and squeeze gently. Blow your nose.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking can make breathing problems worse. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have trouble breathing.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: July 29, 2016