Runny nose is not an independent disease, but rather a group of symptoms indicating the development of a pathological process in the nose. In most cases, this pathology is caused by rhinitis and sinusitis – inflammation of the nasal mucosa and sinuses. Most often the runny nose is accompanied by nasal congestion, sneezing and headache. The pathology is equally common in patients of all ages.
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Unfortunately, the runny nose is regarded as something frivolous, not requiring attention and passing on its own. There is even a joke that if you treat a runny nose, it will pass in 7 days, and if you don’t treat it, it will pass in a week. But this joke, often mistaken for truth, is quite dangerous for people with immune system disorders. If not treated, the runny nose could lead to serious complications: decreased sense of smell, otitis, sinusitis, maxillary sinusitis, laryngitis, tracheitis, bronchitis, pharyngitis.
With good immunity, the runny nose can really go away on its own within 1-1.5 weeks. However, if it is treated, in its initial stages you can get rid of it and return to your normal lifestyle faster: within 4-5 days.
You should know that an untreated runny nose could develop into a chronic form, and it would be difficult to get rid of it. In the presence of nasal discharge should seek immediate medical attention to identify and eliminate the cause of its origin. At Otradnoe Polyclinic you will find experienced doctors, modern equipment and the latest methods of diagnosis and treatment.
Classification of runny nose
The runny nose, like many other diseases, has acute and chronic forms.
Acute runny nose develops in several stages. First, the patient feels uncomfortable dryness in the nose. Then mucous-serous discharge begins. If no measures are taken, the discharge becomes purulent.
Chronic runny nose is characterized by alternating periods of exacerbation and remission. Not only does it cause the patient a lot of inconvenience, but also is capable of provoking atrophic and hypertrophic changes in the nasal mucosa. This, in turn, can lead to the development of complications.
The form of the pathology determines how to treat runny nose. Methods for chronic and acute forms are different, and it is important that they are chosen by the doctor in accordance with the symptoms and characteristics of the course.
Causes of runny nose
The most common cause of rhinitis is a viral infection (sinusitis, acute respiratory infections), less often a bacterial infection. Inflammation and profuse mucus secretion occur as the body’s response to the “activity” of viruses in the nasal cavity. Infections are mainly transmitted by airborne droplets. Cold and stress weaken the immune system and make the body more vulnerable to pathogens. Therefore, they can be called risk factors.
Other causes of the development of a runny nose:
Nasal trauma – in such cases, in the discharge can be seen in flecks of blood.
Changes in hormonal background – an imbalance of hormones can lead to a failure of nasal circulation, which causes the mucous membrane to swell.
Curvature of the nasal septum.
Exposure of the nasal mucous membrane to toxic fumes.
Prolonged use of vasoconstrictor drops: chronic swelling occurs in the nasal cavity.
Benign and malignant neoplasms in the nasal cavity.
Adenoids (abnormal growth of lymphoid tissue of the nasopharyngeal tonsils) – a frequent cause of rhinitis in children.
Symptoms of a runny nose
The main symptom of a runny nose is the presence of mucous nasal discharge – clear, serous or purulent. Signs of the disorder also include:
Sniffles in adults and children are treated according to the same principle: elimination of the cause. Except that for children, especially infants, medications are chosen more sparingly, so as not to harm the immature body. Also pregnant patients require a special approach to the treatment plan.
Depending on the cause of the runny nose, antiviral or antibacterial medications are prescribed. If the nasal discharge is caused by an allergic reaction, the patient undergoes a course of therapy with antibacterial agents and immunomodulators.
Reference! With runny nose of allergic origin, it is important to establish an irritant and protect the patient from contact with it, otherwise you can not avoid relapses. If it is impossible to avoid contact with the allergen completely, you try to minimize the number of such contacts.
The following medications may also be prescribed for acute and chronic runny nose:
Vasoconstrictor sprays and drops.
Antiseptic solutions (they treat the nasal cavity during washing).
With chronic disease, depending on the cause of its development and the peculiarities of the course, may also be assigned physical therapy procedures, acupuncture, spa treatment.
In some cases, conservative therapy to get rid of the cause of the runny nose is not enough, and then assigned a surgical treatment. Surgeries are performed when there is a deviation of the nasal septum, adenoids, benign and malignant neoplasms.
What to do if you have a runny nose
For a speedy recovery and to avoid the development of complications, the correct actions of the patient are also important.
When you have a runny nose you should not:
Use vasoconstrictor drops without a doctor’s prescription.
Self-warm your nose.
Put “folk remedies” into your nose.
Engage in increased physical activity.
Blowing your nose very hard.
Vasoconstrictor drops are readily available at the pharmacy, and some patients use them without consulting a doctor. Thus it is easy to exceed the dosage (which should also be determined by an otolaryngologist). When abusing drops, blood vessels become more fragile, their functions are reduced, which can provoke a decrease in the sense of smell. Also, such funds should not be used for a long time (more than 7-10 days), as this can cause swelling of the mucous membranes, which increases the runny nose. In addition, the drug should be selected taking into account the characteristics of the course of the pathology and the state of the patient’s body, and only a doctor is able to do this.
Warming the nose can really alleviate the condition with a runny nose. Under heat exposure:
Stagnation of blood circulation is eliminated, the venous circulation in the mucous membrane is normalized.
Metabolism processes are improved.
Swelling is reduced.
Regeneration processes are accelerated.
However, all of the above advantages apply only to inhalations carried out on the advice and under the supervision of a doctor, as well as to hardware procedures (UHF, laser therapy, etc.). Home heating (with potato steam, herbal decoctions, salt compresses, etc.) can lead to the spread of infection and complications of the disease (e.g. a runny nose can, with such exposure, turn into maxillary sinusitis). Also burns of the nasal mucosa often occur, which aggravates the condition. In the presence of polyps, it is generally forbidden to warm the nose, since it can provoke their growth and degeneration into malignant tumors.
Dropping nasal onion and garlic juice and other liquids not intended for this purpose also irritates the mucous membrane and can cause burns.
Increased physical activity (e.g., playing sports) makes breathing more frequent, which puts additional strain on the airways. This slows down the healing process.
If you blow your nose too hard, closing two nostrils at once, there is a risk of “driving” mucous secretions into the sinuses and provoking the development of maxillary sinusitis. Blowing the nose should be done carefully, without excessive effort, half-opening the mouth. Nostrils are cleaned alternately, not both at once. To do this, the “unnecessary” nostril should be clamped by pressing the wing of the nose against the septum.
To speed up the healing process will help:
Warm foot baths.
Flushing the nose with saline solutions.
Drinking plenty of warm fluids.
Warm foot baths improve blood circulation and metabolic processes throughout the body. However, about the use of this procedure should still consult with your doctor.
Nasal flushing with saline solutions cleanses the nasal cavity of mucus and has an antiseptic effect. Solutions in containers with a special spout that facilitates rinsing are sold in the pharmacy. Even the usual saline solution will do.
Carry out the procedure 3-4 times a day (and it is better to consult a doctor on this issue). Too frequent lavages will not do any good: it can provoke the transition of the inflammatory process to the back of the throat.
Fluid helps nasal mucus become thinner, making it easier for it to escape. If there is not enough water, the mucus becomes thicker. Patient’s breathing is difficult, in addition, in a thick secretion it is easier for microorganisms to reproduce. The intake of liquids in the warm form (tea, herbal broth) improves blood circulation in the nasopharynx, which also contributes to a speedy recovery.
The patient’s main mistake with a runny nose is not to consult a doctor. Treatment should be prescribed taking into account all the nuances, including the presence of complications. The patient may not even suspect about them, and using any method could harm himself.
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