Why is My Nose Running and How Can I Make it Stop?

What is a Runny Nose? A runny nose is exactly what it sounds like - a nose that runs with excess nasal mucus. Runny noses and excess mucus production are extremely common and rarely a sign of anything more than a virus or allergy.

Common symptoms

Free flowing mucus from the nose, watery eyes, congestion and the sensation of something flowing down the back of your throat (post-nasal drip) are all common symptoms of a runny nose.  

Causes of a Runny Nose

The most common cause of a runny nose is a viral infection like the common cold. 

Other causes include:

  • Allergies
  • COVID-19 - Some people who contract COVID-19 develop a runny nose but it is fairly rare
  • Hay Fever
  • Sinusitis

Symptom Self Care

There are many things you can do to alleviate the symptoms of a runny nose at home. These home remedies include:

Antihistamines - if your runny nose is related to seasonal allergies, taking daily strong antihistamines can alleviate the problem. If over the counter antihistamines don’t work, you may need to see a doctor to be prescribed something more powerful and/or allergy testing to see if you can eliminate the cause of the allergic reaction.

Staying Hydrated - drinking plenty of fluids is always recommended, but good hydration can help with nasal congestion. Drinking plenty of clear fluids ensures that the mucus can stay runny so it is easier to expel through blowing your nose. Avoiding drinks that can dehydrate you, such as coffee and alcohol is a good idea. Hot drinks may be more beneficial than cold drinks, especially herbal teas with medicinal herbs, like ginger or mint.

Steam - inhaling steam, from a cup of hot tea, a facial steam (a pot of water brought to steaming but never boiling) or a long, hot shower can alleviate a runny nose and help speed recovery from a cold

Nasal Irrigation - a Neti pot looks like a small teapot and is used to irrigate the sinuses with a saline (salt water) solution.  Users use the spout to pour the saline solution in one nostril so it flows out the other. Neti pots are quite effective at clearing the sinuses, but the sensation can be quite unpleasant.

See a Doctor If:

For severe seasonal allergies and hay fever you may need to see a doctor for a prescription for steroidal nasal sprays or other powerful remedies not available over the counter.

You should see a doctor if your runny nose coincides with one or more of the following symptoms:

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