Sneezing and runny nose are often associated with common cold. More often than not, viral infection that causes common cold is indeed the cause of this condition. However, at times, other factors such as allergies may also trigger this condition. Pet dander, environmental pollutants and dust are some common allergens that cause runny nose and sneezing.
One way to determine if this condition is due to allergy or infection is to check if you have itchy eyes. If yes, then you probably have developed an allergy. If this condition is also accompanied with fever or cough, then you have a viral infection. While runny nose and sneezing may not warrant immediate medical intervention, you can certainly try out some simple remedies to relieve the symptoms.
How to Treat a Runny Nose and Sneezing?
If sneezing and runny nose are due to viral infection, then the fluid formation is due to rupture of blood vessels in the nose. Virus causes blood vessels to get inflamed and thus rupture. The same effect is observed when allergens irritate the nasal passage leading to inflamed blood vessels. The symptoms that result from this condition can be very frustrating and may interfere with the daily activities of a person.
Nasal irrigation using saline water can be an effective remedy for relieving nasal congestion. Use a neti pot for this purpose. Insert the tip of the neti pot in one nostril and try to flush water from the other nostril by tilting your head. Repeat this exercise a few times from both the nostrils. For relieving symptoms in young children, you can use a syringe and irrigate saline water through it.
Steam provides instant relief by opening up the nasal passage and keeping it moist. Steam therapy relieves congestion and eases breathing. You can take the steam directly from a boiling kettle or use a vaporizer. Put a few drops of menthol or eucalyptus oil in the water for better effect. Taking a warm shower also helps in relieving congestion in the same way.
Drinking hot beverages such as lemon tea or soups does wonders for a runny nose. Hot foods reduce inflammation by shrinking blood vessels, thereby alleviating congestion. Drink lot of clear soups and eat plenty of hot, spicy foods for instant relief.
Vitamin C is a great immune booster. It increases the body's immunity against various infections and allergies. Citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, grapefruit, etc., are rich in vitamin C. Besides, eating vegetables rich in bioflavonoids such as broccoli, pepper, carrots, etc., also serve the purpose.
Dryness can aggravate symptoms of allergy such as runny nose and itchy eyes. Hence, it is a must that you restore requisite amount of moisture in your room. A humidifier can help you in increasing moisture levels in the room. However, make sure that you do not put too much moisture in a room as it may trigger mold growth, which may worsen your symptoms.
If none of the home remedies for runny nose seem to work, you can indeed try some over the counter medications. Antihistamines are particularly effective in relieving symptoms due to an allergic response. They treat the inflammation in the nasal passage, thereby controlling the symptoms of nasal congestion. Antibiotics can prove to be an effective runny nose treatment for symptoms that are caused by infections. Nasal sprays that are available over the counter are indeed effective, however, their use should be strictly restricted.
A light exercise routine during this condition also proves to be beneficial. Besides, herbal medications such as Echinacea, chamomile, garlic, ginger, etc., also effectively treat the symptoms. In case you aren't getting the much-needed relief from sneezing and runny nose, then visit your doctor as soon as possible.