A runny nose is usually caused by allergies, and this can be treated with over-the-counter medication, corticosteroids or nasal sprays. Discover why children under 6 shouldn't use over-the-counter decongestants with help from a pediatrician in this free video on runny noses.
Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill and today we're going to be talking about how to stop a runny nose. How to stop a runny nose depends a lot on why the nose is running? For example, in small children, you have to think about a foreign object off the nose, especially if all running is coming out of one side. So you can take a peek up there, the child's doctor may have to look with a special light, to see if there is something up there. One of the most common reasons for a runny nose is allergies. Usually the nose is not only runny, it's itchy, there's a lot of sneezing, there maybe dark circles under the eyes and watery eyes, redness and itching of the eyes as well. There are several great over the counter medications for runny nose from a cold. Among the best are Loratadine, the brand name for that is Claritin and it doesn't cause very much sleepiness. A medicine that may work just as well and maybe better for some people, is Cetirizine or Zyrtec. This one may make people a little sleep, so you might try the Loratadine first. But if one doesn't work, you certainly can try the other. Now the doctor is going to have some more effective medicines for allergies, if these medicines aren't cutting it. Those are nasal sprays, Corticosteroids that you can squirt up the nose. And some examples are Beclomethasone and Fluticasone. But there are quite a few of them on the market right now. They essentially all work the same, so you may as well go for the one that's the least expensive on your insurance plan. You're not going to get much benefit from using a more expensive one. Another reason for a runny nose, is a cold. And the bad news here is, especially for people under age six years, there's just not a lot to do. We no longer recommend over the counter decongestants for example, like Sudafed or Pediacare, for children under age six. But the good news is, they usually suffer through it pretty well. Now for children age six and older, there is one prescription medication, Ipratropium, the brand name for that is Atrovent. And it works on the receptors in the nose, really cuts off the running for many people, very, very effectively. So anybody age six and older, including adults can probably use Atrovent. But you will have to talk to your doctor about getting a hold of it. It is not over the counter at this point. Now if your runny nose has been going on for longer than a week and half to two weeks. If there's been a fever more than four days, a fever over a 102, or a fever that went away and then came back. You may have a bacterial infection of the nose. In children, we know that antibiotics can shorten the course of these infections. However, bacterial sinusitis in adults is much harder to treat. And it's not at all clear that antibiotics make much difference in the course of Bacterial Rhinosinusitis in adults. One thing that does seem to help, is again the nasal steroids even used for short term. The other thing is an ancient technique called the Netti Pot. This looks like a tea pot but it pours salt water up into your nose. And this may actually release some of the congestion and hopefully some of the running, when it's due to a sinusitis. Talking about relieving the symptoms of running nose, I am Dr. David Hill.
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