What cures a runny nose?

Do you ever feel like your nose is constantly playing a game of ‘let’s see how much snot we can produce in one day’? Well, friend, you’re not alone. A runny or stuffy nose can be so frustrating that it makes you want to sneeze in the face of anyone who asks if you’ve tried blowing your nose yet. But fear not! We have compiled some remedies that may help clear up that nasal congestion and get you breathing easy again.

First off: Let’s Talk About Mucus

Before we dive into remedies, let’s discuss what causes a runny nose and why boogers seem to be taking over our lives at times. This magical substance called mucus is produced by the lining inside our noses and sinuses as a way to protect us from germs, viruses, and other yucky things trying to invade our body through the air we breathe[1].

When an allergen or irritant enters our nasal cavity (such as pollen or dust), our body produces more mucus than usual as its defense mechanism against those pesky intruders [2]. As a result, this excess mucus production leads to — drumroll pleasea runny freaking nose!

Okay So How Do We Fix It?

Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. There are several ways in which people attempt to cure their snotty woes; some methods work better than others depending on personal preference and severity of symptoms. Here are some potential solutions:

Saline Nasal Spray

Saline spray contains saltwater solution which helps moisturize and loosen up congested mucus inside your nasal passages [3][4]. Using saline spray will make blowing your nose easier- think swishing around water before finally spitting it out – but with less mess.

Hot showers

When nothing else works, taking a hot and steamy shower is considered the ultimate home remedy for a runny nose. The warm water helps loosen up mucus while the steam makes it easier to breathe[5]. A facial sauna with peppermint oil or eucalyptus oil can also help open up air passages [6]– an excellent alternative if you don’t have access to a hot shower.

Neti Pot

A Neti pot is like magic wand of nasal irrigation- It looks somewhat like Aladdin’s lamp but operates differently. You pour saltwater solution into one nostril using the Neti pot, and let it flow through your sinuses before coming out of your other nostril [7]. This method flushes out any gunk inside that may be causing congestion with minimal discomfort.

Nasal Strips

Ever seen those plastic strips people put on their noses at night to prevent snoring? Well, those same strips come in ‘nasal strip’ form which are said to help widen nostrils and improve airflow by physically lifting them upwards [8]. Though this isn’t exactly a cure for runny nose per se, controlled breathing could help circulating more oxygen through the body hence promote healing.

Over-The-Counter Medication(s)

When natural remedies fail us, medication options like antihistamines or decongestants may do the trick; here are some commonly used drugs:


Decongestant medicines reduce swelling in your nasal cavities allowing you to breath better [9][10] . Oral tablets containing pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) is usually most effective for stubborn cases; Nasal sprays such as oxymetazoline (Afrin), provide rapid relief when needed but note that overusing these types of sprays can lead to lasting damage [11].


If allergies are triggering your runny nose, antihistamine tablets like cetirizine (Zyrtec), loratadine (Claritin) or disodium cromoglycate may be helpful [12] [13]. But beware; some of these medicines can cause drowsiness so it’s best to take them before bed.

What Not To Do

We have gone over quite a few things you can do when you’re dealing with a stream of snot pouring out, but there are behaviors that could also make matters worse:

Snorting water constantly

It is tempting to keep snorting water in the morning while trying to self-clear secretions. Repeated use will eventually irritate nasal membranes causing more mucus secretion[14]. This cycle only stops if you break it completely – leaving your nostrils alone!

Ignoring Your Allergies & Smoking Cigarettes

If allergies are contributing this issue then ignoring them won’t help improve symptoms. Similarly smoking cigarettes intensifies irritation hence preventing healing from taking place.[15]

Preventive Measures

To prevent future attacks, here are some measures that could boost immunity and reduce chances of getting sick:

Wash Your Hands More Frequently

Despite being an age-old advice washing hands frequently remains crucial tackling pathogens has its own way of spreading.[16]

Humidify Dry Air Indoors

Winter months tend to dry up indoor air leading to drying out mucosal lining inside our respiratory pathways making us vulnerable for viral and bacterial infections . Using humidifier ensures moist surroundings hence increasing resistance against nasties!

Drink Plenty Of Fluids!

Some infectious agents thrive in dehydrated host hence possibly robbing needed fluids from what turns into running fluid-filled noses![17].

Get Enough Sleep!

Sleeping adequately not only increases mental clarity and bodily repairbut helps speed recovery since proper sleep facilitates optimal health.

Let’s Face Blow These Things Out of Proportion Once and For All

So if your nose is running faster than Usain Bolt- there you have it, folks! The above remedies should help slow things down. But as always, prevention is better than cure- so wash hands more often, keep hydrated reduce chemical irritants.

As a side note- while we’re not opposed to natural medicine but taking some major leaves from the best that modern ailments can bring us could significantly lessen snotty days – without breaking the bank!

Take care; get well soon; breathe easy …literally!


[1] National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH)- Mucous: What does it do? https://www.niaid.nih.gov/research/what-mucus

[2] American Academy of Pediatrics – Nasal Congestion in Infants and Children https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/126/3/592.full.pdf

[3] American Family Physician – THE TREATMENT OF ACUTE SINUSITIS WITH INTRANASAL VASOCONSTRICTOR MEDICATIONS https://www.grupoaran.com/mrmUpdate/lecturaPDFfromXML.asp?IdArt=227091&TO=CHE&Eng=1

[4] University Health News – Can Saline Nasal Sprays Help Relieve Sinusitis Symptoms? 6 Tips for Usehttps://universityhealthnews.com/daily/nutrition/can-saline-nasal-sprays-help-relieve-sinusitis-symptoms-6-tips-for-use/

[5] Penn Medicine official blog page “PennMedicine Official Website” available at pennmedicine.org


[7]Medical News Today – Using a Neti Pot: Instructions and Tipshttps://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323475#how-to-use-a-neti-pot

[8] Healthline – Nasal Strip https://www.healthline.com/health/nasal-strips

[9] SINEX® Severe Nasal Spray
Sudafed Congestion Relief Sinus Pressure & Blocked Nose, available at boots.ie


[10] Patient Info official website: Decongestants for blocked nose

[11 ]WebMD “Nasal Sprays and Decongestants.” https://bluebirdbotanicals.com/use-vaporizer-better-breathing/

[12 ] Webmd “Antihistamines Overview” https// www.webmd.com/drugs-review/cetirizine-loratadine-and-fexofenadine

[13 ]. Treatwell Free CTRom Information article about the reference number of disodium cromoglycate:httpsservicewww.researchgate.net/profile/Shawn_Lerner/publication

[14].Mr Disorient’s World Table Company ‘Why Does Adding Salt to Boiling Pasta Water Improve its Taste?’ PDF available online , accessed October 25, 2035.

[15]. NHS Choices (2014). Smoking – health risks:http://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/why-quit/smoking-health-risks

[16] NHS England, “Wash your hands more often for 20 seconds” https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/

[17] Healthline, Can Drinking Liquids Help with a Stuffy Nose? – by Zawn Villines– Medically reviewed
Nasal irrigation_The clinical use of saline nasal irrigations~httpsss://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov3s70034/