A persistent runny nose doesn’t usually sound like the most serious health problem anyone is likely to face. Yet for people who suffer from chronic runny noses, the problem can be every bit as annoying as many health problems generally considered more serious.
What Causes a Runny Nose?
There are several causes associated with most runny noses. These include:
Some common allergens associated with runny noses are dust, pet dander, and pollen. Hay fever sufferers in particular often deal with runny noses during much of the so-called hay fever season, which normally lasts from spring to fall.
An estimated 58 million Americans suffer from allergy-related runny noses, also called allergic rhinitis. This condition is sometimes associated with other physical or medical conditions such as loss of smell, asthma, and sleep apnea. While there are some over-the-counter and prescription drugs that can help relieve symptoms of allergic rhinitis, the most effective course of action is probably to reduce exposure to allergens.
That may be hard to do, however. According to the Mayo Clinic, common allergies contributing to runny noses include:
- Latex allergy
- Milk allergy
- Mold allergy
- Peanut allergy
- Shellfish allergy
- Soy allergy
- Wheat allergy
There are further common allergens associated with allergy-caused runny noses, and some people suffering from the allergies aren’t even aware they have them. If you have a persistent runny nose and suspect allergy testing or treatment may be in order, it may be time to take advantage of Medicare allergy services, which a Medicare supplement plan will keep well within your budget.
- Non-allergenic causes
While only about one-third as common among Americans as allergic rhinitis, non-allergic rhinitis is the cause of many runny noses across the country.
Non-allergic rhinitis does not affect the immune system as allergic rhinitis does, yet it is associated with many of the same conditions including apnea and asthma. While by definition not an allergic reaction, non-allergic rhinitis is a reaction to various triggers that cause the nose to run. According to WebMD, these include:
- Car exhaust
- Cigarette smoke
- Cleaning solutions
- Hair spray
- Laundry detergents
- Metal salts
- Wood dust
Certain medications and foods also act as triggers for some people. Various foods – especially of the hot, spicy variety – are a cause of runny noses more associated with the older population. But environmental triggers – often related to weather changes and pollution – are known to cause runny noses among all age segments of the American population.
Everybody knows how common infections such as colds and flu cause a nose to run. When these conditions strike, a runny nose is normally no cause for concern. However, even if a runny nose is the result of a common infection, the Mayo Clinic recommends calling your doctor if the runny nose lasts ten days, is accompanied by fever lasting three or more days, is paired with sinus pain, or includes blood in the discharge.
Other causes of a runny nose can include irritation or inflammation such as sinusitis, hormonal changes, nasal polyps, and stress.
How to Cure a Runny Nose
- Reduce stress. Whether this actually cures your runny nose or not, reducing stress is likely to impact your overall health – and your life – in a positive way.
- Avoid tobacco smoke. If you are a smoker, take advantage of Medicare smoking cessation services.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Hydration can lessen the negative effects of a runny nose. Focus on drinking water and not coffee, tea, or alcohol, which can actually contribute to dehydration.
- Clean your air conditioner filter regularly. This way, you will reduce indoor pollution, a leading cause of non-allergic rhinitis.
- Consider using an air purifier and a humidifier. This can help reduce indoor pollution even more and relieve post-nasal drip.
Other helpful remedies for a runny nose include nasal sprays, antioxidants, and antihistamines. For people with hay fever, honey is often believed to have effective properties. Certain over-the-counter and prescription medications often relieve symptoms associated with runny noses.
If you suspect allergies or other treatable causes are contributing to a runny nose, this is definitely something to discuss with your doctor. Remember, there are Medicare services in place to detect or treat conditions often associated with a runny nose, and your Medicare supplement plan will help ensure you get the treatment or services you need.
A runny nose may seem only a minor inconvenience, but to people who get this condition for long periods, it can be an albatross. Fortunately, there are often ways to determine what is causing a nose to be runny for extended periods, and ways to relieve symptoms of this aggravating condition.
Have you found a cure for that runny nose? If so, please leave a comment!
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