How to Stop a Runny Nose Without Medicine

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Runny noses are one of the most annoying symptoms of a cold. Stop them in their tracks with advice from a practicing physician in this free video on headache remedies.

Part of the Video Series: How to Treat Migraines & Head Colds
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we're going to be talking about how to stop a runny nose without medicine. Well, the good news on this one is, if you wait long enough, most runny noses stop on their own. There's not a great non medicinal way to stop a runny nose, when the cause is from allergies or a viral cold. Let's talk about allergies first, because some t there, if you can figure out, what you're allergic to. If it's clear that every time you're exposed to a cat or a dog or a cigarette smoker, for example. Your nose starts to run, it's easy, stay away from those things, right. If you have a cold, you're often going to get a really profuse watery runny nose, in the first three to five days of that cold. Now, the good news is, that's going to get better over time. It's first going to turn thicker, it's going to get yellow or green. And let me stop here and say, yellow and green mucus is not indicative of a sinus infection. That is one of the most commonly perpetuated old wives tales, in all of medicine. When you get a viral runny nose, you are going to get yellow or green snot, around day four, five or six, pretty much every time. Don't go running for an antibiotic on that basis, you don't need an antibiotic to treat the color of the snot. In fact, you might have a sinus infection and have perfectly clear mucus, but significantly later, like, in the second week of the illness. So, when is it going to get better on it's own? Well, for a viral cold, it should get better within 10 to 14 days of starting. If you're still having a runny nose, after 10 to 14 days. Now you're starting to worry about a sinus infection. Do we need medication for that? Interestingly, in children, antibiotics do seem to cure sinus infections, at least some of the time. In adults while we frequently use antibiotics, the literature has been very disappointing in showing that antibiotics make a big difference. What does make a difference, you might try a Neti Pot, that's this sort of a Genie lantern looking thing. That you can put in your nose to wash it out with saline. And that may help you clear your sinus infection, if that's causing the runny nose. Now, some things you can do for babies whose noses are running. You can use that little suction bulb, that you got at the hospital. And dribble a few drops of normal saline drops in their nose. You can make that with a half cup of water and a quarter teaspoon of salt. Just dribble in a few and suck them right back out, just at the very edge of nostril. You don't have to go way down in there, to do that. But that may help give them some relief. Most importantly, if your nose has been running more than 10 to 14 days. You may be having a sinus infection, you may be having allergies. And unfortunately, you probably are going to need some kind of medical intervention, if you want this stuff to go away. So, that's a good time to start talking to your doctor and asking them, what they might be able to help you out with. Talking about how to stop a runny nose without medication, I'm Dr. David Hill.

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