February 6, 2016

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Runny Nose Symptoms & Signs

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Stuffy nose is a term often used to refer to obstruction to the flow of air in and out of the nose, while runny nose refers to a discharge (fluid) coming from the nasal passages. Both of these conditions are associated with inflammation and swelling (congestion) of the inner lining of the nasal passages and sinuses. Rhinitis is a term that refers to inflammation of the nasal passages. A viral infection (the common cold) is the most common cause of a stuffy and/or runny nose, but allergies, influenza, other viral infections like RSV and sinus infections also may cause these symptoms and signs.

Less commonly, anatomical obstructions (for example, a deviated nasal septum, foreign bodies) may lead to nasal congestion. Other causes of a stuffy or runny nose include environmental factors, like consumption of spicy foods or smoke exposure, hormonal changes, and some medications. Rarely, tumors of the nasal passages or chronic medical conditions may be the cause of a stuffy or runny nose.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/17/2015

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REFERENCE:

Kasper, D., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2015.

Causes of Runny Nose
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Other Causes of Runny Nose
  • Cold Weather or Sudden Temperature Changes
  • Consumption of Spicy Foods
  • Enlarged Adenoids
  • Environmental Irritants
  • Foreign Bodies in the Nose
  • Hormonal Changes
  • Injury/Trauma to the Nose
  • Kartagener Syndrome
  • Medications
  • Nasal Polyps
  • Structural Abnormalities
  • Tumors of the Nasal Passages
  • Vasomotor Rhinitis
  • Viral Infection
Examples of Medications for Runny Nose
  • beclomethasone dipropionate inhaler/spray; Beconase AQ, QNASL
  • cetirizine, Zyrtec, Zyrtec Allergy, Zyrtec Hives
  • chlorpheniramine, pseudoephedrine, Deconamine (Discontinued)
  • diphenhydramine, Benadryl
  • fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine, Allegra-D
  • fexofenadine, Allegra, Allegra Allergy, Allegra Hives, Children's Allegra, Mucinex Allergy
  • loratadine and pseudoephedrine (Alavert Allergy & Sinus, Claritin-D, Claritin-D 24 hour)
  • loratadine, Claritin, Claritin RediTabs, Alavert, Claritin Hives Relief, Children's Claritin
  • pseudoephedrine (Oral, Afrinol, Sudafed)


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