Running nose or rhinorrhoea is the excessive discharge from nasal passage, ranging from a clear fluid to thick mucus.
Under normal conditions the air we breathe gets into the lungs through the nose. The inside of the nose has special lining of mucosa that helps filter, humidify, warm or cool the air as it passes through the nose. This lining has mucus producing glands and cilia or tiny hair like structures. They help to trap, kill and move the collected bacteria, allergens and other harmful particles through the nose into the back of the throat. From here it is then swallowed and destroyed by the acid in the stomach. Running nose occurs when there is irritation or inflammation in the nasal passage that leads to increased mucus production.
The various causes that can lead to this are:
- Allergens both outdoor and indoor such as dust, pollen, pet dander, ragweed can trigger an allergic response leading to running nose.
- Upper respiratory infection or common cold.
- Sinusitis or inflammation of cavities around nasal passages.Deviated nasal septum present either since birth or caused by injury later.
- Vasomotor rhinitis or non allergic rhinitis in which inflammation of nasal passages is caused by unknown factor and not histamine. Medication such as NSAID like aspirin and ibuprofen, sedatives, antidepressants and high blood pressure medications, bright sunlight, dry air in winters or due to heat, changes in temperature or an underlying health problem can be possible triggers.
- Hormonal changes- Hormonal imbalance causes inflammation of nasal mucosa. This can happen during puberty, pregnancy, from use of OCP’s or hormonal replacement therapy.
- Nasal spray overuse- Overuse of nasal sprays for more than five days in a row can lead to chronic sinus infection which can trigger a runny nose.
- Spicy food- Eating or inhaling spicy food leads to overstimulation of nerves in the sinuses and irritates nasal mucosa.
- Smoke irritates and triggers increased nasal mucus production.
SIGN AND SYMPTOMS
Along with dripping from the nose other sign and symptoms that are commonly seen are:
- Post nasal drip
- Sore throat and cough
- Congested or stuffy nose
- Fatigue, facial pressure and fever
- Sneezing with itchy and watery eyes
The best management for runny nose includes the following
- Adequate rest.
- Intake of plenty of fluids especially water.
- Use of nasal irrigation and saline nasal sprays with salt and boiled, sterile or distilled water to remove allergen particles from your nose.
- Avoid use of decongestant nasal sprays for more than a few days as instructed on packaged labels.
- In winter season a cool mist humidifier can be used at the bedside to provide relief from congestion worsened by dry air. One should also use a scarf to cover mouth and nose when going outdoors.
- In case of running nose due to allergy stay indoors when pollen count is high, usually in the morning and when the weather is windy.
- Keep the windows and doors closed during allergy season and instead use air conditioner whenever possible.
- When outside wear a hat with a brim to protect the face and hair. On going inside one must wash their face and hands and change clothes. If possible one can take a shower at night.
- Avoid contact with cats and dogs if animal dander has been noticed to cause allergy.
- Intake of vitamin rich food like gooseberry, oranges or vitamin c supplements helps get over common cold.
- One must also follow good hygiene practices that can help germs from spreading. These includes
a.) Washing hands often.
b.) After blowing or wiping nose one must throw away used tissue papers in the dustbin.
c). Stay away from those who are having running nose.
d). Cough or sneeze into the inside of the elbow instead of into the hands.
e). Clean and disinfect common surfaces such as toys, door knobs, top of table and bathroom fixtures.
f). Follow a healthy lifestyle by including well balanced and nutritious diet and getting regular exercise to boost the immune system.
Homeopathy provides best treatment for running nose. Homeopathic medicine prescribed by a well trained homeopathic physician not only helps to provide relief in the acute symptoms of the patient but also help to remove the very tendency to develop running nose in future.
Also homeopathic medicines are safe as against antibiotics, steroids, painkillers or antihistamines used in the convention form of treatment.
The best homeopathic medicine is the one most similar to the disease condition.
Commonly indicated homoepathic medicine for the runny nose are:
ACONITE – It is indicated when symptoms have sudden and rapid onset after exposure to dry cold air, the nose is dry or scanty watery discharge. Symptoms are often accompanied by mental anguish, restlessness and thirst.
ALLIUM CEPA– It has excessive sneezing and running nose that is triggered on entering a warm room and in the evening and is better on going out in the open air. The discharge from the nose is typically copious, watery and extremely acrid. Accompanying the nasal discharge is much burning and smarting lachrymation.
OSCILLOCOCCINUM– It is used as a preventive for influenza if there are no other symptoms to individualise the case in hand and is found to be very effective when used within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.
BELLADONNA – Belladonna is considered when there is a sudden stoppage of the nose and it is replaced by a throbbing headache and high fever.
BRYONIA ALBA– It is indicated when there is little or no nasal discharge. There is a dull headache which is increased from any movement e.g. coughing or sneezing. Accompanying a runny nose there is a thirst for a large quantity of cold water at long intervals. The patient feels worse in a warm room.
GELSIMIUM– It is indicated for watery nasal discharge and sneezing. Accompanying are symptoms such as drowsiness, dullness and thirstlessness.
HEPAR SULPH– It is commonly indicated for cold and cough due to exposure to cold air or from eating anything sour. The nasal discharge or expectoration is thick and yellow. The patient is worse in cold air and morning time. The pain in the throat is like that from splinters and better from warm drinks and food.
NATRUM MURIATICUM– Natrum Muriaticum is indicated when there is sneezing and fluent coryza with a squirming sensation in the nose as of a small worm. The nasal discharge is thin and watery like the white of an egg and is brought on by exposure to sun or intense summer heat.