What All Should Know About Runny Nose?
You may have heard the old joke: If your nose is running and your feet smell, you must be upside down! But why does your nose run? Read on to find out the whole story.
Runny nose occurs when nasal tissues and blood vessels produce excess fluid or mucous that runs out of your nose or down the back of your throat. The increased production of mucus is usually the result of the body attempting to clear cold or flu viruses or irritants and allergens from the body. A normal amount of mucus is always present, lubricating the lining of the nasal passageways and keeping germs out. An increased production typically results in runny noses and even postnasal drip, both of which can be irritating.
Runny nose can be caused by a cold, influenza, allergies to such things as dust, pollen or pet dander, or as a response to irritants such as tobacco smoke. Some people have a chronically runny nose for no apparent reason (a condition called non-allergic rhinitis). Runny nose may or may not be accompanied by nasal congestion. A runny nose may be annoying and uncomfortable, and it can be a sign of a more serious problem in adults and infants.
When should I call my doctor?
- Your symptoms last more than 10 days.
- You have a high fever, particularly if it lasts more than three days.
- Your nasal discharge is green and is accompanied by sinus pain or fever. This may be a sign of a bacterial infection.
- You have asthma or emphysema, or you’re taking immune-suppressing medications.
- You have blood in your nasal discharge or a persistent clear discharge after a head injury.
And you should call your child’s doctor if:
- Your child is younger than 2 months and is running a fever.
- Your baby’s runny nose or congestion causes trouble nursing or makes breathing difficult.
What can I do until I see my doctor?
Try these measures to relieve post-nasal drip – when excess mucus accumulates in the back of your throat:
- Avoid common irritants such as cigarette smoke and sudden temperature changes.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Use a humidifier.
- Try nasal saline sprays or rinses.
What are the Causes of Runny Nose?
Allergy, Chronic Rhinitis and Post-Nasal Drip, Cluster Headaches, Cold, Flu, Allergy Treatments, Common Cold, Cystic Fibrosis , Flu (Influenza) , Food Allergy , Hay Fever , Measles , Occupational Asthma , Respiratory Syncytial Virus ,Roseola , Sinus Infection , Swine Flu , Wegener’s Granulomatosis , Whooping Cough (Pertussis), Cold weather or sudden temperature changes , Consumption of spicy foods , Enlarged adenoids , Environmental irritants , Exposure to tobacco smoke , Foreign bodies in the nose , Hormonal changes, Injury/trauma to the nose , Kartagener syndrome , Medications , Nasal polyps , Respiratory syncytial virus , Structural abnormalities (e.g. deviated septum), Tumors of the nasal passages , Vasomotor rhinitis , Viral infection.
How to cure runny nose? And What about home remedies?
There are many home remedies that can be employed to treat a runny nose or at least alleviate the aggravation of one. The important thing to remember is that a runny nose is different than nasal congestion and should not be treated with a decongestant unless a doctor recommends it.
Saline sprays or rinses are an option for alleviating the irritation that accompanies a runny nose. Saline nasal sprays are available over the counter and help thin the mucus, making it easier and more comfortable to expel. Saline sprays also help rid the nasal passages of irritants. You can also make your own saline solution by dissolving one-fourth of a teaspoon of salt in 2 cups of warm water. Using a rubber suction bulb, place a few drops in each nostril. Use a humidifier to keep the air – and your nose – moist. But make sure your humidifier stays clean and free of fungus, which can aggravate symptoms.
Avoid irritants or triggers you know your body doesn’t like. Smoke, dust, pollen, and animal dander are some of the most common culprits. Consider using vitamins, minerals to help prevent or shorten colds.
Relief for a Stuffy Nose (Congestion)
Steam away stuffiness. For temporary relief, put the kettle on for an old-fashioned steam inhalation. Steam helps shrink the swollen mucous membrane and promotes drainage. Some studies suggest the cooling sensation of menthol creates the feeling of breathing more easily, even if it doesn’t reduce congestion.
Nasal decongestant sprays may also provide temporary relief, but if they’re used for 3 days or more, they can actually increase stuffiness, so don’t overdo it.
Regardless of the cause, a runny nose can be both aggravating and inconvenient. Plenty of warm fluids do help in muco-regulating and wash out process.
Treating of runny nose should be done by E.N.T doctors after diagnosing of the cause which may not be a simple one.
Dr. Heba Abd Elmawgoud M
GMC hospital,Fujairah, UAE.