#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: Forever Running Nose

Q: Good Evening Dr. Please, I need your help on this. I have been married now for 7yrs and I dated my husband for 2 years. Please, the problem is running nose. His nose never dries. In fact, it’s worse at night. Please, what can he use? Thanks 

A: Well, it may be due to allergy known as allergic rhinitis (pronounced Rine-Ai-Tis). This condition, also known as hay fever, occurs when your immune system over-reacts to certain substances in the air (allergens), marking them out as intruders. The resulting symptoms are due to some chemicals released in the body like histamine. These substances cause sneezing especially when you wake up in the morning, runny nose, watery itchy eyes and itchy ears, nose and throat, which could occur seasonally or be present all year round. In fact, the symptoms written above are as good as a text book description of this condition 😀

Oftentimes, in people with this condition, there is a positive history of a family member with asthma or other allergies. The first step towards dealing with this is finding out what the triggers (allergens) are. It could be dust mites, wood dust, smoke, pollen, grasses, cockroaches etc. Your doctor will ask helpful questions to help you identify the culprit. He/she, in the meantime, will prescribe some drugs, the commonest of which is an anti-histamine to help control your symptoms.

Other treatment options include taking allergy shots and going for a nasal irrigation (essentially rinsing out the mucous from your nose). Prevention is focused on identifying and reducing contact with allergens. This would include eradicating cockroaches from your house, using a mask when working outdoors, closing doors and windows when there are lots of pollen in the environment, not hanging laundry outside to prevent pollen sticking to them and causing problems later etc. Reducing dust mites by using oiled duster or damp cloth to clean, using allergen proof covers on mattresses etc will be helpful. So, get a doctor to prescribe drugs to tide you over (you should be able to pick up the prescription over the counter thereafter) and work with you to identify allergens and then you have to avoid them. Other causes of runny or stuffed nose include: Common cold. We are all familiar with this common cause of nasal congestion 😀 This causes blockage of the sinus which results in nasal congestion.  A nasal septum (the wall between the nostrils) that is crooked or bent to one side may cause nasal congestion. This ‘deformity’ may be from birth, due to injury or occur as a process of growth. Excessive use of nasal decongestants can also lead to this as after the decongestant is stopped, there is rebound nasal congestion. And so, one ends up with the same situation they were trying to solve from the beginning! 😀 So, if you must, do not use your nasal decongestants for more than three days Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses (air cavities) that line the nose. When these air cavities (which are supposed to be filled by air) become filled with fluid as a result of blockage, bacteria, fungi and viruses can thrive in this environment and cause infection. Pus-like nasal discharge, facial pain and persistence of symptoms for more than a week, maybe suggestive of this. 

Other conditions include:

• Cold weather

 Foreign body in the nose

 Presence of tumour or polyp (a small growth with a stalk protruding from a surface)

 Medications for high blood pressure

 Spicy foods (remember how you start sniffling once you start on a hot dish?)

 Stress etc

There’s a pretty long list of causes, but your doctor will attempt to narrow down to what the probable cause for you is. In the meantime,

Ø try drinking a lot of water

Ø Use saline sprays instead of the nasal decongestants, if you’ve been indulging in this 😉

Ø Use a humidifier which loosens the mucous. Turning on the hot water shower and inhaling the steam is another great idea.

Ø Avoid irritants of the nose like smoke All these measures will help reduce the nasal congestion. 

Have a great night y’all 😀

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