Home remedies for a runny nose

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Is your nose running? Well, go catch it then.

Apologies for the terrible joke. We couldn’t resist it 🙂

But all jokes apart, a runny nose can be the most annoying part of having a cold. The constant drip of fluid in your sinuses leads to itchy watering eyes. Your nose gets raw from frequent wiping. And your mouth and throat feel dry and rough because you have to breathe through your mouth. To get you feeling better quickly, here are some of our top home remedies for a runny nose.

Try steam inhalation

Inhaling steam opens up the sinus and reduces congestion. Fill a basin or large bowl with steaming water and place on a steady surface. Adding a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil to the water will make it more effective, but you don’t have to do this if you don’t have oil at home. Drape a towel over your head, lean over the bowl, and inhale. Make sure the steam is not too hot to breathe in. Inhale deeply through your nose, fill your lungs, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Do this for about 15 minutes or as long as you can tolerate the steam.

Blow your nose after your steam inhalation session. If you’re not comfortable with this, try taking a long hot shower and inhaling the steam while you’re inside. You could also let the hot water run over your head and face to help warm your sinuses and release any congestion.

Drink a hot beverage

When you have a cold, you should focus on staying hydrated and getting in lots of fluids. A hot beverage will soothe a dry throat and ease a runny nose. But do avoid drinks that will dehydrate you further such as coffee or caffeinated drinks or alcohol. Instead try green or herbal teas, soup or warm water. Look for soothing herbs like ginger or chamomile and add some honey for sweetness.

A runny nose is frequently accompanied by a cough. If your cough is keeping you up, check out our post on home remedies for dry cough at night.

Eat something spicy

Spicy food has been found to help with congestion. It makes your nose run more when you eat, but it clears out your sinus. Capsaicin is the most effective of spices for a runny nose and it can be found in chili peppers or in cayenne pepper powder. You can start by adding this in small doses to your meals.

Sleep a lot

When you have a cold, your body is fighting hard to rid itself of the virus. You’re going to feel exhausted and weak and your body may ache. When you sleep, you allow your body to build reserves of strength and work on recovery so it is important that you sleep as much as you can.

Lie down with an extra pillow under your head

A runny nose can make it hard for you to sleep when you have to sit up every now and then to blow your nose. But having the mucus pooling in your sinuses when you sleep can cause congestion and a headache in the morning. Try lying on your back with extra pillows under your head to elevate your sinuses. That should allow them to drain properly.

Use a nasal spray

If you’re looking for home remedies for a runny nose, you’re probably trying to avoid taking medicines or chemicals. However if your runny nose is keeping you from sleeping, you need a quick fix that will work. A mild saline spray or nasal drops might be an effective solution to help with the constant flow of mucus. Ask for a non-medicated saline spray at your local pharmacy.

Home remedies for runny nose caused by allergies

home remedies for runny nose

All of the above home remedies for a runny nose will only work if you have a cold. If you are suffering from allergies that are causing a runny nose, you might find nasal irrigation or a neti pot more effective. A nasal spray will flush out allergens that are caught in your nasal cavity and help reduce your reaction almost immediately. This is a great solution if you are allergic to dust or pet dander. 

If you suffer from frequent allergy-triggered colds, you should consider adding nasal irrigation to your weekly routine. A neti pot helps to clean out the nasal cavity and sinuses but do make sure you use it according to instructions.

Prevention is better than cure

There is no medicine that can get rid of the flu once you contract it. With no way to cure it, the best medicine for a cold is prevention. You already know the drill but we’re going to repeat it here anyway!

Wash your hands frequently, especially in influenza season

Washing your hands is the best way to prevent picking up the virus and transferring it to your nose, mouth or eyes by mistake. Many people keep a bottle of hand sanitiser in their bag, car, and office desk to ensure that they aren’t picking up or passing on the bug to anyone.

Avoid touching your face, eyes, hair or mouth frequently

Whether you are prone to the flu or not, this is a good habit to develop. When you touch your face you transfer germs directly to your mouth or eyes, from where it is easy for the virus to enter the body. We’re all unaware of how many times we touch our faces or hair, but studies show that it can be as much as 9-23 times an hour.

By becoming more conscious of this habit, you can reduce your exposure to potential infections. There are some modifications to your routine that might help. If you find that you frequently adjust your spectacles, get them tightened so they don’t slide down your nose as often. If you touch your hair often, tie it up into a ponytail so that you are less likely to do so.

Keep your devices clean

A study conducted by Swinburne University of Technology in Australia found that keyboards carry high levels of bacteria. A study in the University of Arizona found that the average desktop has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat! Your smartphone is not safe either. An article in Time magazine reported that our phones harbour many times more bacteria than we know.

Invest in cleaning fluids designed for your laptop screen, keyboard, and smartphone and use them frequently as per the instructions.

By getting enough sleep, eating healthy and working out regularly, you’ll develop a stronger immune system and will be less prone to falling ill. If you want to consult a nutritionist about your diet or sign up for a group fitness class, Avaana can help.

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