Keep Your Nose Running Smoothly

A runny nose is often the first sign of a cold or the flu. To stop the problem:

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Take an antihistamine. If your runny nose is caused by an allergy, an antihistamine can help. It blocks the substance that your body releases when you have an allergic reaction and can help dry up some of the mucus in your nose.Blow your nose. This is often all it takes to get rid of the problem.

See your doctor if:

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Blood appears in your nasal discharge after a head injury.Your runny nose occurs on only one side.Your nasal discharge is thick or discolored. Discharge should be white or gray; green or yellow discharge may be caused by a bacterial infection.A fever accompanies your runny nose.Your symptoms last longer than three weeks.

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Postnasal drip

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Rinse with a saline spray. You can buy an over-the-counter saline spray, or create your own saltwater rinse. The appropriate salt-to-water ratio is approximately 1/8 teaspoon salt to 1 cup of water.Use a humidifier. A humidifier moistens dry air, keeping mucus from thickening and drying.Drink lots of water. Hydration keeps your postnasal mucus thin.Avoid irritants. Things like cigarette smoke and sudden temperature changes can cause your body to produce more mucus.

See your doctor if the problem persists.

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A stuffy nose is any nasal congestion or blockage that makes breathing difficult. If you experience other cold-like symptoms like a cough, sore throat, or fever along with your stuffy nose, you probably have a virus resulting in a cold or the flu. An allergy may irritate your nasal passages, causing them to swell, resulting in a stuffy nose. Finally, vasomotor rhinitis may cause the blood vessels in your nose to expand, resulting in a stuffy nose. This can be brought on by vigorous exercise or environmental irritants like cigarette smoke. For relief:

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Use an oral decongestant. Potential side effects exist. Use for no more than 3 days.Use a saline spray. Buy or create your own (see above).Drink lots of liquids. Water, juice, tea, and anything decaffeinated may help.Inhale steam. Steam from a warm shower or boiling water can loosen mucus.Blow your nose. Doing this gently and frequently can clear your nasal passages.

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An allergy can cause sneezing spells, watery eyes, a runny or stuffy nose, and an itchy throat. It can also aggravate any asthma you already have. While the thick nasal discharge, sore throat, fever, and other cold symptoms are often short-lived, the symptoms of allergies may come and go in a seasonal pattern, caused by outdoor allergens like pollen. This is seasonal allergic rhinitis. Year-round allergy symptoms resulting fromperennial allergic rhinitis are caused by indoor allergens like dust mites and pet dander. If you experience symptoms that you think may be caused by allergies, see a doctor for an allergy test.

If pollen or another outdoor allergen is causing the problem, the best thing you can do is stay indoors as often as possible to avoid an allergic reaction. Pollen levels are highest in the morning during autumn; during the spring and summer months these levels are highest in the evening. When contact with outdoor allergens is unavoidable, the following may help your symptoms:

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Non-steroidal nasal sprays: If these are used before the onset of any symptoms caused by allergic rhinitis, these symptoms may be prevented.Decongestants: These may be taken orally or used as a nasal spray. They may be used with antihistamines to clear nasal passages.Oral antihistamines: These offset the histamine produced by your body during an allergic reaction. Drowsiness may occur as a side effect. While taking these drugs, you should not drive, operate machinery, etc.Nasal corticosteroids: These are usually sprayed or inhaled into the nose.

Be sure to check with your doctor, who can recommend the best medication for your specific needs. Immunotherapy, or allergy shots, may be considered if the above remedies or other prescription medications fail to relieve allergy symptoms.

is the normal process of mucus traveling down the back of your throat in a thin film. It moistens the air and traps unwanted particles you inhale. The more mucus your nose produces, the greater the amount of postnasal drip and the more you need to clear your throat. If it persists long enough, postnasal drip may cause a cough. To ease the problem:is the normal process of mucus traveling down the back of your throat in a thin film. It moistens the air and traps unwanted particles you inhale. The more mucus your nose produces, the greater the amount of postnasal drip and the more you need to clear your throat. If it persists long enough, postnasal drip may cause a cough. To ease the problem:

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