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Millions and millions of people deal with runny noses each year. And, while a runny nose may not seem like that big of a deal, it can be a huge pain to always be carrying around tissues. Additionally, runny noses can sometimes lead to more serious illnesses. 

But, what causes a runny nose exactly? And, what can you do to get rid of it?

Check out this guide to learn everything you need to know about runny noses. 

What Causes a Runny Nose? 

So, what exactly causes a runny nose?

In general, a runny nose is caused by anything that irritates or inflames your nasal tissues. Runny noses, also known as rhinorrhea, are not just limited to the winter months, contrary to popular belief. 

Here are some of the top causes of runny noses and what you can do stop them:

1. The Common Cold 

It’s no secret that a runny nose is one of the main symptoms of a common cold. When you’re suffering from a cold, the permeability of your blood vessels in your nose increases. 

This can cause fluids to leak into your nasal passages. Typically, you’ll start experiencing a runny nose after two or three days of becoming infected with the common cold. 

The common cold is referred to as common for a reason. Each year in the US, 20 million workdays and 21 million school days are missed because of the common cold. 

Preventing the common cold can be difficult, as the virus can be contracted through both physical contact and through the air. If you’re experiencing a runny nose due to a cold, here are some common treatments you can use for your symptoms:

  • chlorpheniramine
  • diphenhydramine
  • dimenhydrinate
  • brompheniramine

If your runny nose lasts for more than 10 days, you may want to schedule an appointment with your physician or with this clinic

2. Allergies 

About 10 to 30 percent of adults in the US suffer from seasonal allergies. If you’re someone who suffers from seasonal allergies, then there’s a good chance that you also suffer from runny noses from time to time. 

Typically, seasonal allergies manifest in the spring or fall. If you experience a runny nose during this time, it’s because your body is having an inflammatory response to the pollen in the air. This pollen can come from trees, flowers, grasses, and weeds. 

To stop a runny nose due to allergies, you should first use an intranasal Atrovent. If this doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, you can use an antihistamine such as Fexofenadine, Cetirizine, or Loratadine. 

3. Cold Air 

Have you ever stepped outside to enjoy the fresh winter air only to step back inside with a runny nose?

If so, you’re not alone, as dry, cold air is known to dry out the nasal membranes. This then changes the fluid balance in your nasal passages, which can lead to an inflammatory response that results in a runny nose. 

Luckily, if your runny nose is solely due to the cold, it should go away within a few hours. 

4. Eating Spicy Foods 

Some people believe that eating spicy foods is the best way to clear up congestion. However, spicy foods can also cause runny noses. 

The reason for this isn’t exactly known, but scientists believe it has something to do with the stimulation of the nervous system when you eat spicy foods. However, if you suffer from a condition known as gustatory rhinitis, any food can cause a runny nose. 

If this is the cause of your runny nose, the best thing to do is to avoid spicy foods. 

5. Hormones 

Hormonal changes aren’t just something that teenagers experience. Those who are pregnant, aging, taking certain medications, or suffering from certain illnesses can also experience extreme hormonal changes. 

Hormonal changes can affect many different parts of your body, including your nasal passages. A change in hormones can cause your mucus glands to become more reactive, resulting in a runny nose. 

If you’re pregnant, you’re particularly susceptible to runny noses due to hormonal changes. In fact, 39 percent of pregnant women report runny noses and congestion as a prevalent pregnancy symptom. 

The best thing to do about a runny nose in this situation is to try out a nasal spray or exercise. Before taking any medication for your runny nose, you should consult with your obstetrician. 

6. Medications 

Medications can also cause runny noses. Whether or not you experience a runny nose due to medication will depend on a number of different factors, however, medications targeted to treat the following conditions are especially associated with runny noses:

  • Enlarged prostate
  • High blood pressure
  • Pain
  • Birth control
  • Depression
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Cardiovascular disease

If your runny nose is affecting your daily life, the best thing to do is to talk to your doctor about switching medications. 

7. Exercise 

While exercise offers many benefits, it may also be the cause of your runny nose. 

But, if you experience a runny nose frequently while exercising outdoors, the cause may actually be allergies. 

If this is the case, you can ask your physician a nasal anticholinergic would be right for you.

8. Crying 

Last but not least, crying can also cause a runny nose. 

Basically, when you cry, the tears run down from your cheeks and also through the lacrimal puncta into the nasal duct. This tube directly drains into your nose, so your runny nose is really just tears that have drained into your nose!

Runny Nose Wrap Up 

Now that we’ve answered the question, “What causes a runny nose”, it’s time for you to figure out the cause of your runny nose. 

Once you know the cause, you’re one step closer to curing it. 

For more health tips and tricks, be sure to check out our blog.