A runny nose can be very annoying, especially when at work or during other social situations. While a runny nose is common during cold and flu season, a constant runny nose could signify other health issues such as internal infections. You should seek medical attention for a prolonged runny nose. Home remedies and medications are available to help stop excessive mucus production.
Causes of a Runny Nose
Mucus inside the nose traps pollen, dust, bacteria and viruses to protect the lungs from pathogens. A runny nose occurs when too much mucus is produced. Hay fever and other types of seasonal allergies, exercise, spicy foods, pet dander and dust can cause excessive mucus production.
A constant runny nose may be a sign of something worse such as a bacterial infection. If you experience a runny nose that lasts longer than 10 days, if mucus turns green or it becomes difficult to breathe normally, you should seek medical attention. You may need antibiotics or other medications to help your body fight the infection.
Home Remedies for a Runny Nose
Making changes to your environment can help reduce your exposure to certain allergens including dust, pet dander, food ingredients and pollen. If you suffer from specific allergies such as food allergies, chemicals, or animals, reduce or avoid exposure to these items. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, keep windows closed, especially during windy days.
Have the air ducts in your home cleaned at least once a year to remove pollen, dirt, dust and other allergens from your home. Use a hypoallergenic mattress and pillow covers if you are allergic to dust mites, pet dander or dust.
While taking these precautions can help reduce allergic reactions, you will experience a runny nose from time to time. To cure a constant runny nose, avoid cold liquids. Drink plenty of water, but make sure it is room temperature as cold water can cause additional mucus production.
Drink ginger tea once a day to reduce nasal cavity inflammation. Add garlic to foods to help your body fight infection if you have a cold. Invest in a humidifier to help maintain proper moisture levels in your home. This is especially important during the winter months since heating systems lower moisture levels in the air. Low moisture levels can cause a runny nose.
Medications that contain antihistamine are used to reduce mucus production by restricting the production of histamine, a chemical in the body responsible for mucus production. Over-the-counter sprays and prescription antihistamine products are available.
Medications that contain pseudoephedrine and corticosteroids are also available over-the-counter or by prescription.
If the medications you are taking make you overly drowsy during the day or increase anxiety or depression, consult your physician.