What to Do (and Not Do!) for a Runny Nose

Did you know that while the average adult has two to four colds per year, children may have as many as 12 colds per year? Common symptoms can include congestion, coughing, sneezing, fever, muscle ache, and, of course, the all-too-familiar and inconvenient symptom of a runny nose.

What causes a runny nose? What should I do?

Before you try to cure a runny nose, it’s important to figure out what’s causing the issue.

  • If allergens are causing your runny nose, then a simple over-the-counter antihistamine may be all you need to treat the symptom. Additional steps you can take include vacuuming and dusting your home, bathing pets to remove dander, moving houseplants out of the home, and using an air purifier and/or HEPA air filters in your home. If symptoms continue to persist through more than one season, consider seeing an ENT doctor near you for allergy testing.
  • Stress and Lifestyle. Stress and lack of sleep can actually lead to illness, including runny nose. If you’ve been overdoing it lately, consider taking some time to rest and re-center. Get a good night’s sleep, drink plenty of fluids, and make sure you’re consuming a healthy diet that’s rich in fruit and vegetables.
  • Common Cold. If your runny nose is caused by a common cold, drink plenty of fluids and give your body time to rest. Your immune system is fighting off infection and needs all the help it can get to flush germs from the nose and sinuses via mucus.

How do you stop a runny nose?

Most of the time, a runny nose does not require any medical intervention. The best course of action is usually to get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and give your body time to heal itself. There are many over-the-counter medications for adults and children that can help alleviate runny nose and associated symptoms. Ask your local pharmacist for more information.

Note that antibiotics are not an appropriate therapy for a runny nose in most situations, as antibiotics are typically not effective in treating the germs causing a runny nose. In addition to being ineffective, the use of antibiotics can increase the chances of needing more expensive or more complex antibiotics later in life for treating other illnesses. Only use antibiotics for a cold when prescribed by your physician (typically for a case of sinus infection).

When should you see a doctor for a cold?

If the cold does not improve or resolve within about two weeks, you may wish to see an ENT specialist near you for an evaluation. Other symptoms that may prompt seeing a doctor include:

  • Lightheadedness / feeling faint
  • Feeling confused / disoriented
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough for 10+ days
  • Chest pain/pressure
  • Persistent, high fever

Schedule With an ENT Doctor In Magna or West Valley City

Schedule an appointment with an ENT near you by calling 801-912-8270. Providers offer diagnostic and therapeutic care for the common cold, sinus infection and more in Magna and West Valley City.