A chronic runny nose can be annoying and uncomfortable, but it is rarely a sign of a serious illness. The most common cause of chronic runny nose is allergic rhinitis, which may occur year-round or only during peak pollen times. However, allergic rhinitis is not the only cause of chronic runny nose. Determining the cause of your chronic runny nose is the 1st step in curing the problem.
Visit your doctor to make certain your nose is structurally all right. Conditions such as septal deviation, septal perforation and nasal polyps may all cause a chronic runny nose. These conditions require surgical correction.
Identify and avoid any potential triggers of allergic rhinitis. You can have allergy testing performed or keep a symptom diary to help identify what activities or exposures cause or increase your symptoms. Pollen, animal dander, mould, dust, dust mites and certain foods are common triggers for allergic rhinitis.
Remove plants from your home; bathe your pets more frequently; use pollen masks when mowing your lawn or working outside; and switch to synthetic or cotton sheets and pillows. Keep your house and car windows closed during peak pollen seasons, and install an air purifier inside your home to filter the air. Avoid nasal irritants, such as cigarette smoke, perfumes, aerosol sprays and car exhaust. Make sure visitors to your home smoke outside.
Try using a steroid nasal spray to help cure chronic runny nose. Intra-nasal glucocorticoids can dramatically alleviate symptoms of inflammation and runny nose when used short-term. Long-term use increases the risk of side effects.
Take a daily anti-histamine to dry your chronic runny nose. Anti-histamines are especially helpful for allergic rhinitis, and there are non-sedating anti-histamine medications available over-the-counter.
Avoid using oral decongestants, oral steroids and decongestant sprays long-term. While these treatment options can provide considerable relief, they may cause dangerous side effects and a rebound runny nose when discontinued.
Try a medication such as cromolyn sodium, montelukast or ipratropium to reduce nasal drainage and cure chronic runny nose. Speak with your doctor about getting a prescription for these medications. Use a saline nasal irrigation solution to help alleviate symptoms of chronic runny nose. Saline, or salt water, helps reduce swelling and drainage without causing the side effects common with medications.
If your nasal discharge is cloudy, yellow or green, it may indicate an infection or other problem that requires treatment with antibiotics.
Tips and warnings
- If your nasal discharge is cloudy, yellow or green, it may indicate an infection or other problem that requires treatment with antibiotics.