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Dealing With A Constant Runny Nose: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

Dr. Alejandro Junger Profile Photo

Written by Dr. Alejandro Junger on May 3, 2021

A runny nose is usually a symptom of a very temporary problem, like a common cold or sinus infection. That said, sometimes a runny nose becomes chronic when it lasts more than 10 days, and in these cases, there could be a variety of things causing the problem. As an integrative physician, advisor and partner of Genexa, the first and only clean medicine company, I think it’s important to help educate patients on ways to assess and manage common ailments. Let’s dive into some basic information about your nose so that you can better understand why certain allergens and irritants cause a runny nose in the first place.

Why Does a Runny Nose Happen?

A runny nose entails mucus being discharged from your nose as a result of some sort of irritant, allergen, or pathogen. When these irritants enter the body, they irritate the lining of your nasal passages and sinuses, which results in your nose producing clear mucus.

The mucus is produced because it contains antibodies and enzymes that work to help trap bacteria, viruses, or other irritants and flush them out of your body, or kill them on the spot.

Thus, although it is surely annoying and uncomfortable, mucus is a really important part of your body’s defenses against unwanted germs. Plus, it also works to keep your airways moist.

That said, when your body produces too much mucus in response to an irritant, this is when a problem occurs and your runny nose might last a bit longer than usual.

Postnasal Drip

If your body, or your child’s body, produces too much mucus, it might result in post nasal drip. This is when the extra mucus begins to drip down the back of your throat rather than being expelled from the front of your nose, and it can lead to a cough and sore throat if it goes untreated.

This is also a good way to help you determine whether your kid’s constant runny nose is being caused by an illness or by something else.

If their runny nose is accompanied by symptoms like a cough, a sore throat, a fever, or other similar symptoms, it is likely being caused by a cold or the flu. On the other hand, a constant runny nose that is not accompanied by a host of other, unpleasant symptoms might just be the result of some pesky allergies.

Most Common Causes of a Runny Nose

That said, there are actually lots of potential reasons why your little one has a runny nose that just won’t quit. Some of the most common causes of a persistent runny nose include:

  • A nasal and sinus infection, or a chronic sinus infection
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Irritants like smoke, fragrances, and household chemicals -- also known as non-allergic rhinitis
  • Cold weather
  • Dry air
  • The common cold
  • The flu
  • Deviated septum
  • Overuse of certain nasal sprays
  • A lodged object in the nasal passages
  • Nasal cysts or polyps

As you can see, there is quite a long list of potential culprits for that non-stop runny nose. There is a chance that you might be able to determine the cause just by looking at this list, but it is more probable that it could be any of these things.

If you have doubts or uncertainties, it definitely doesn’t hurt to consult your pediatrician who can then refer you to an allergist or other specialist in order to determine the cause.

Methods of Treatment and How To Feel Better

So, your child just can’t stop sniffling and you aren’t sure what to expect in terms of treatment.

Truth is, the best method of treatment for your kid’s runny nose will vary depending on what specifically is causing it, but there are some general guidelines when it comes to helping your child get rid of the sniffles. Long-term treatment does involve determining the cause, so your first step should be to take a trip to the doctor’s office.

Something that can be helpful to keep in mind is that constantly blowing your nose can actually do more harm than good… and may be worsening that runny nose more than it is helping it. This is because the act of blowing your nose can sometimes cause the mucus to be driven into your sinuses instead of out, and it can also lead to inflammation in your nasal passages which means, you guessed it, even more of those annoying sniffles.

There are, however, a few other things you can do instead of blowing your nose:

  • Try holding a tissue under your nose and simply blotting the discharge that is running out rather than trying to blow it out
  • Minimize nasal irritation by avoiding putting tissues or fingers inside the nose. This means that if your child tends to be a nose-picker, you should keep a closer eye on them and try to keep them from digging for gold.
  • Humidification can make a big difference when it comes to inflamed nasal passages. This is because dry air can worsen this symptom, and adding moisture back into the air can soothe your irritated nose. If you do not have a humidifier on hand, you can run a hot shower and have your child sit in the steam.

Once your doctor or specialist helps you find the cause, you may be given medicine accordingly. A chronic sinus infection will be treated with prescription antibiotics, while allergies can be treated using over-the-counter antihistamines and allergy medicines.

Sometimes, though, that runny nose might end up being caused by a common cold that has decided to hang around for a little longer than usual. If this is the case, over-the-counter cold medicine can help ease the symptoms while your child recovers.

Genexa’s Kids’ Cold Crush cold medicine is great for kids between the ages of 3 and 11, and it addresses pesky cold symptoms like a runny nose, sore throat, mucus, and a cough.

Genexa is the first clean medicine brand, and they offer medicines with the active ingredients you need, but without all the artificial inactive ingredients you don’t need. You want the best for your kids, and Genexa was founded by two dads who know what that’s like! This is why any inactive ingredients in Genexa’s medicines are non-GMO, gluten-free, and certified vegan, and they are included to improve taste, texture, and stability.

Genexa makes real, clean medicine you can trust so that you can rest assured that your kids are getting the kind of medicine they deserve.

The Bottom Line

A constant runny nose can be a huge annoyance and inconvenience, and if your child’s runny nose just won’t go away, it is time to find the cause. There are plenty of reasons why that runny nose might be persisting, and causes range from a chronic sinus infection to structural problems like nasal cysts, polyps, or a deviated septum.

f you can’t seem to find the cause yourself, which is probable thanks to the long list of potential culprits, you should take a trip to the pediatrician. Your doctor can then refer you to an allergist or other specialist if need be so that the cause can be determined.

Treatment methods will vary depending on the cause, but allergies can be treated with antihistamines, a sinus infection will be treated with antibiotics, and any structural problems can be surgically resolved when necessary. Sometimes, it might end up just being the common cold, in which case over-the-counter cold medicine will do the trick.

Good luck!