Nasal polyps are smooth, greyish-white, gelatine-like bulbs that cling by thin stalks to the inside of the nose or sinuses. No one knows how polyps form. But they seem to crop up in people whose noses are continually congested from hay fever, especially people who suffer from a year-round allergy to dusts or other over-present offenders. Frequent bouts with colds or the flu also tend to over-activate nasal tissues and cause polyps. So if you have uncontrolled hay fever and frequently get colds, you’re more likely to get polyps.

‘Every patient with nasal polyps should have a complete allergy study,’ says Meyer B. Marks, chief of pediatric allergy at the University of Miami School of Medicine (Annals of Allergy).

You can have large nasal polyps and not know it. You can’t always see them yourself, even with a mirror. But you may have some clues. If your nose is continually congested and your sense of taste or smell isn’t as sharp as usual, ask your doctor to check your nose for polyps.

If polyps grow so large that you can’t breathe through your nose, your doctor will probably want to remove them surgically. But once you’ve had nasal polyps, they tend to grow back. To prevent that – or to prevent small polyps from getting larger -it’s important that you keep your allergies under control. Using an air filter in your bedroom can clear up congestion and other breathing difficulties in just half an hour or so – and give you eight full hours of total relief. Vitamin √Ď acts as a natural antihistamine clearing a clogged nose and sinuses. Regular exercise keeps nasal mucus flowing, so it can’t back up and aggravate polyp-forming tissues.

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