Last updated on October 29th, 2017
What is the best runny nose medicine? What should you take for excessive nasal discharge triggered by common cold? What about infant runny nose? Can you treat runny nose without taking any medicines? This article will explore all these and more.
- What to take for a runny nose or runny nose medicine
- Best medicine for runny nose or best medication, good OTC
- Medicine for sneezing and runny nose
- Cold medicine for runny nose i.e. Relief medication
- Infant runny nose medicine i.e. for baby, toddler, Kids, 2 year, 1 year
- How to stop a runny nose without medicine
What to take for a runny nose or runny nose medicine
So you are getting tired of that snot running down your nose every now and then and are wondering what medicine to take for runny nose? Below is a comprehensive list of runny nose medicines that may alleviate your symptoms:
1. Steroid nasal sprays
Medically referred to as Intra-nasal glucocorticoids, steroid nasal sprays (that is, steroid sprays that are applied into the nose) have anti-inflammatory an anti-allergic properties that help to relieve runny nose and other symptoms that typically accompany nasal discharge such as itchy nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, and sinus drainage.
Some of the most common steroid nasal sprays are:
- Beclomethasone (Beconase)
- Fluticasone propionate (Flonase)
- Fluticasone furoate (Veramyst)
- Mometasone furoate (Nasonex)
- Flunisolide (Nasarel)
- Budesonide (Rhinocort)
Antihistamines are among the most popular runny nose medicines. They work by blocking histamine reactions.
Histamines are chemicals triggered by the body after it gets exposed to an allergen such as pollen, pet dander etc. and are responsible for the symptoms associated with allergies such as sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion.
Antihistamines are usually classified into first generation and second generation
First generation antihistamines are also referred to as sedating antihistamines because of their tendency cause drowsiness and are not recommended for use before operating machinery or driving. They include:
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton)
- Clemastine (Tavist)
Second generation antihistamines, also referred to as non-sedating antihistamines, on the other hand are associated with drowsiness and include:
- Loratadine (Claritin)
- Fexofenadine (Allegra)
- Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
A nasal antihistamine preparation called Azelastine nasal (Astelin) has also been developed. This has been shown to be particularly helpful for allergies.
3. Oral steroids
Oral steroids work great for runny nose caused by allergy but as the Medicine Net says, they should only be used for treatment of severe cases and those that don’t respond to steroid sprays and antihistamines.
Among the most common oral steroid medications are:
- Hydrocortisone (Hydrocortone, Cortef etc.)
- Methylprednisolone (Medrol)
4. Decongestant sprays
Decongestant nasal sprays help to reduce swelling of the nasal lining by shrinking the inflamed blood vessels.
They are especially helpful for nasal congestion but on the downside they can be addictive if used over a long period of time. Ideally, they should be used for 3 days, but in some specific cases, your doctor may prescribe usage over a period of 5 days.
Among the most common decongestant sprays are:
- Oxymetazoline (Afrin)
- Phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine)
5. Oral decongestants
Oral decongestants may also be helpful for runny nose that is accompanied by nasal congestion. They reduce sinus and nasal tissue swelling thus improving breathing.
Because they often stimulate the heart and increase blood pressure, they are not recommended for patients with heart irregularities, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, glaucoma, and urination difficulties.
Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) is the most common decongestant.
6. Cromolyn sodium
Cromolyn sodium (sold as Nasalcrom) is a spray that works by stabilizing the mast cells through the prevention of release of histamines and other allergy mediators.
Montelukast (Singulair) works in a similar manner to antihistamines except that it uses a different pathway in allergic response. It works just as fine as antihistamines but it has been shown to be less effective compared to nasal sprays.
Even then, you may still want to use it if you don’t want to use nasal sprays or you have what is called co-existing asthma.
3. Ipratropium (Atrovent nasal)
This is another nasal spray that helps to control nasal discharge via neural pathways. Although it doesn’t treat allergies, it helps to reduce mucus flow.
Best medicine for runny nose or best medication, good OTC
The best medicine will vary depending on the underlying medical conditions.
For viral infections such as common cold, treatment is all about managing the symptoms while the infection takes its course; it takes a week or so for a cold to clear. Bacterial infections, on the other hand often require treatment with antibiotics.
As for allergies, reducing the inflammation of nasal tissues while taking care of the symptoms is key to effective treatment. Medicine Net website recommends using steroid nasal sprays as the first line of runny nose treatment and antihistamines as the second line of treatment.
The best medicine for sunny nose is a combination medicine that comprises of an antihistamine and a decongestant or steroid medication.
Best over the Counter Runny Nose Medicine – OTC
With regards to the best over the counter runny nose medicine, Dymista would take the day. This is a combination nasal spray preparation that combines antihistamine (Azelastine) and a steroid (fluticasone).
You can ask for it in your local drugstore. Be sure to follow the instructions provide carefully to ensure maximum effectiveness and avoid unnecessary side-effects. And most importantly, keep all medicines away from the reach of children.
Medicine for sneezing and runny nose
As for the question “What medicine stops runny nose that is accompanied by sneezing?” your first consideration should be antihistamine.
Sneezing is a clear indication of production of histamine in the body as an immune-response. Taking antihistamine helps to block histamine production and will most likely relieve you of the sneezing and nasal discharge.
For an even faster relief, you may want to take a combination runny nose medicine that features both antihistamine and decongestant.
Cold medicine for runny nose i.e. Relief medication
Common cold is a viral infection. This essentially mean that there is no treatment for common cold.
The viral bout has to go on to its full cycle, usually 7-10 days – for common cold to heal. In the meantime, blowing your nose will help to reduce mucus build up and give you relief from runny nose and nasal congestion.
Best cold medicine runny nose
Drawing from the above argument, you don’t necessary have to use medicine to treat common cold. You only need to allow it time to take its full course. You may however find relief from the symptoms by taking some medications.
There is no single best cold medicine for runny nose alleviation, but you will most likely find success from using antihistamines, decongestant (vasoconstrictor) nasal sprays, and saline nasal sprays. These medications can make you more comfortable as the cold runs its full course.
You may in particular want to consider a combination medication that contains both antihistamines and decongestants.
For saline nasal sprays, you can prepare your own nasal irrigation system at home by mixing 1 cup of warm water with ½ tsp. of salt before pouring it into a neti pot or empty nasal spray bottle. Pour the salty water into one nostril and allow it to flow out through the other over a sink and then repeat for the other nostril several times a day. Finish by blowing your nose gently.
Infant runny nose medicine i.e. for baby, toddler, Kids, 2 year, 1 year
What medicine stops a runny nose in infants? This is a question that we see asked online very often, especially by first time mothers.
Common cold is the most common cause of runny nose in kids. This is attributed to the fact that they have an immature immune system which makes them more prone to infections. Toddlers also tend to move around a lot and eat anything they come across which makes them to be at a higher risk of infections.
Treatment of common cold in babies hinges on easing the symptoms and providing lots of fluids e.g. broth, soups, water etc. For older kids, nasal irrigation may help and so can over-the-counter cold medicines (often in syrup form). Ask at your local drugstore.
Mayo clinic however recommends seeing your doctor for runny nose and associated symptoms when infants (babies younger than 1 year) are involved. Your doctor will decide the best runny nose medicine to prescribe to your child.
How to stop a runny nose without medicine
Rushing to get over the counter runny nose medicines every time you get runny nose and associated symptoms may not be the ideal solution for everyone. If you would rather spare medicines as the last resort, here are various tips on how to stop a runny nose without medicine that you may want to consider:
1. Identify and avoid getting exposed to allergens and irritants
Some of the most common allergens are dust mites, pollen, pet dander, soy, shellfish, and latex. As for irritants, cigarette smoke, chemicals, fumes, perfumes and other strong scents are common culprits.
You will in particular want to:
- Vacuum or wipe the floor daily to eliminate dust mites
- Wash your beddings with hot water every week and consider changing the covers to those made of dust mite-free fabrics
- Avoid exposure to pet dander. In case of persistent allergies, it may be worth it to consider giving up your pet
- Get HEPA air filters to improve the quality of air in your home
2. Run a humidifier
Run a humidifier in your house to increase humidity, but then avoid getting the house too humid. It is also a good idea to clean the humidifier frequently with Lysol or bleach.
3. Nasal irrigation
Rinsing your nose with a saline solution can also help to relieve a runny nose by thinning out the mucus and flushing out the irritants and allergens trapped in your nasal cavity.
You can either buy a saline nasal spray at your local drugstore or make your own solution at home.
Simply mix 1 cup of water with ½ tsp. of salt (and a pinch of baking soda if you want) and then pour the resulting solution into a neti pot. Rinse your nostrils with the solution, one at a time, 3 to 4 times a day. Allow the solution to drain out from the other side of the nose and repeat for the two nostrils.
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