Q: Can you blow your nose too hard?
A: While the majority of the population will not have any serious consequence blowing the nose, several groups should avoid forceful clearing. Individuals at increased risk for complication include those with recent nasal, facial, ear and brain surgeries or trauma, those prone to nosebleeds and people who have a high risk for aneurysm (small balloon-like changes to arteries around the brain). Some less serious compli-cations include nose-bleeds and ruptured eardrums. If you experience difficulty with clearing the nose, see your physician for an evaluation. Nasal deformities, polyps, masses, allergies and infections all can contribute to frequent or incomplete nasal clearing and are readily identified on exam. Also, symptoms of dizziness, fainting and increased headache following a particularly forceful blow should be discussed with your doctor, as they can be a sign of an underlying problem. A good alternative if you are concerned is to simply sniff to clear the nose, as this is not associated with any serious complication.
-- Dr. David L. Armstrong, Chattanooga ENT Associates; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society
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