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FAQ51: What Can You Do For A Runny Nose?
An Answer from Paul Galioni:

There are a few things that you can do:

1) prescription: Atrovent nasal inhaler. very good and reasonably effective and non-habit forming. but expensive when you get a runny nose.

2) Over the Counter (OTC) - but really 'from the shelf' (FTS) Benidryl -- diphenhydromine -- $4.78 per hundred at wall mart -- called 'allergy medication' -- check the box and look for 'diphenhydromine'. It is habit forming, meaning that you will get a 'rebound' if you stop -- your nose will run like the Nile. I use it and hope that I don't run out -- when I do -- well I deal with it.

But you need to think about wall mart brand 'equate' or K-mart brand -=- what ever it is -- because they are cheapest and reasonable. I drive close to 400 miles round trip to a wall-mart to stock up on their allergy meds because here in Nevada City the cheapest I can find is 50 for $12.35 -- and our local K-mart is usually out of their store brand -- so I drive up to Susanville and get 10 boxes or so and come back -- it pays for the gas many times over.

What causes it? -- lots of things. if you are new you are still going through the healing process and that will take a couple of months. If not new-- then it can be lots of stuff -- like pollen from a certain plant that is blooming -- or particles of dust that get blown up there -- and if you have been using toilet paper or Kleenex to try to get way up in there to get rid of it - it might even be a piece of paper up there.

I find that on a 'bad nose day' I have to take toilet paper, usually two squares, and fold it in half and then in thirds -- toward the center -- so the seam is in the middle. then fold it over at each end just a bit, so the raw edges are all on the inside -- and then roll it up and shove it up my nose. It acts like a tampax and absorbs the moisture -- on really bad days I can go through a couple every ten minutes or so.

I used to warn my classes: sometimes I have a bad nose day and it runs and I can't blow it -- so I might come in with toilet paper in my nose -- and yes, it looks funny - and you can laugh because as a student once told me: Paul, it's REALLY hard to take your seriously with toilet paper up your nose! -- and I agreed -- it must have looked really funny.

So those are solutions I have found and use. I live where there always seems to be wind and dust and God-knows-what blowing around. And I have decided that an 'addiction' to benidryl is the best defense I can find -- and rather than using it when I need it -- I just make it a habit -- it's easier than waiting for it to go to work -- so morning when I wake and evening when I go to bed I take two or three caps and be done with it -- in between I use Atrovent.

Now, not to worry you -- but if this has come out of nowhere and is unusually heavy -- I need to say you ought to see your ENT and have him look up there. Not only might he find something stuck there -- he might find something growing there -- and we all know the value of early detection being a lifesaver!

You are probably OK -- and your nose isn't 'just a piece of meat' -- I use mine to smell and taste all the time -- it can be tricky to get the knack of it -- but there's a way to 'gulp' air and make the air move back up your nose from your throat. Others have been able to figure out a way to really make it sniff -- but I haven't bothered as mine works well for what I use it for.

And, I'd be less than complete if I failed to tell you that you can always 'wash' it clean with water - if you get a bulb syringe you can push water up one nostril and it will come out the other, making a 'clean passage' - though I have only done it a couple of times, and never felt comfortable doing it. But it is always there in my reparatory of tricks if I absolutely need to do it - kind of like tossing or using water in my stoma - for me it was like boot÷you just do it and get it done, and then forget about it - but the skills you learned will never fail you - so if I need to I can toss a hand full of water down there and not panic at all - and ditto with shower water - every now and then I forget to put on my shower guard and lift up my chin and let the water blast my face full force - and of course the result is a lot of water down my stoma --- but I learned early on how to deal with that - and I can even hold my breath with water in my lungs - so I don't panic, I just turn my back and cough a lot.

So you can always squirt water up one nostril and it will come out the other. Some will say you MUST use normal saline to do this and I won't argue with them. I don't, but some feel that it is a better way, and it is without a doubt. I just don't do it.

Paul Galioni

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