Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Runny Nose: A guide for the upcoming winter months

     Today's post is written by Dr. Kirby Scott, an otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon with Central ENT Consultants, located at the Susquehanna Bank Building at 1800 Dual Highway, Hagerstown. As an allergy sufferer myself, I really appreciate these tips! -Kayla

     Each fall, it almost seems as if our noses are working harder. The children are back in school, the first round of the “crud” has made it through the household, and many are left with the annoying “runny nose” that just won’t go away, despite tested “home remedies,” over-the-counter products, prescription pharmaceuticals, and “tincture of time.”

     But what can cause a runny nose? Sinus Infections? Allergies? Head trauma? A change in ambient temperature? Pregnancy? The common cold?

     Common things being common, each fall season presents with a fresh dose of ragweed and other inhalant allergens. Couple this allergic load with the drying effect of cold air that worsens as winter approaches, and you guessed it, the “runny nose” begins to linger (cold-induced rhinorrhea).

     How best to treat this perennial occurrence? Taking anatomic problems, such as a deviated nasal septum, out of the equation can help, but certainly there must be a non-surgical treatment for the runny nose that doesn’t necessarily involve expensive prescription medications.

     In many cases, the runny nose resolves on its own. If infection is the culprit, antibiotics most of the time will clear things up. If allergies are contributing, an over the counter antihistamine can do the trick. For the lingering symptoms, frequent humidification and nasal saline can help, and finally, for the persistent, problematic case, a visit to the doctor may be needed.

By Dr. Kirby Scott

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