Once mucus drains out of the nose, it is called as nasal discharge or simply a runny nose. The mucus has a vital role since it traps debris and bacteria to prevent them from entering the lungs.
Even though nasal discharge can be annoying, it is relatively common and typically subsides on its own. In some instances, the drainage might be an indication of a serious underlying condition that entails medical treatment.
What are the possible causes?
There are various possible causes for nasal discharge. It is important that you are familiar with the usual causes.
Common cold and flu
The common cold is due to a viral infection affecting the nose and the throat. Even though it can make one miserable, it is relatively harmless in the long run. The flu is triggered by a virus that attacks the nose, throat and the lungs.
Nasal discharge is a usual symptom in both conditions. In both diseases, the body produces more mucus to trap the virus before it can enter the lungs and other parts of the body. Some of the excess mucus leaves the body via the nose.
Nasal discharge occurs if an individual is allergic to a certain substance that was inhaled or came in contact with. Materials that trigger a reaction are known as allergens such as animal dander, dust and pollen. The body responds to allergens as though they are a threat, thus resulting to nasal discharge.
Sinusitis occurs once the sinuses are swollen and inflamed. This results to the constriction of the nasal passages that leads to difficulty breathing and buildup of mucus.
Mucus might drain out of the nose or feel it moving into the throat. The mucus linked with the condition is characteristically dense and have a yellowish or greenish color.
Management of nasal discharge
Generally, nasal discharge can be managed at home with various measures such as the following:
- Thinning out the mucus – if the mucus is thick and sticky, it can cause issues with breathing and increase the risk for complications. Increasing the intake of fluids is one way to thin out the mucus. A saline nasal spray can be used or turn on a humidifier.
- Antihistamines – these are medications that prevent the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Some can cause drowsiness thus it is best to check the label for instructions on how to properly use the medication. A doctor should be consulted before using antihistamines especially if other medications are used.
- Managing common cold and flu – if common cold or flu is the cause for the nasal discharge, it is vital to get enough rest and increase the intake of fluids. In case the symptoms of flu are severe, the doctor might prescribe an antiviral medication.