Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
Nasal drainage, or more commonly known as a runny nose, happens to everyone. It results from excess nasal mucus production and often leads to discharge from the nostrils that can range from a clear fluid to thick mucus. Sometimes, it can also run down the back of your throat and cause irritation.
There are many causes to a runny nose—from irritants to inflammation. Knowing the cause can help you determine whether or not you should see a doctor, and what type of treatment is needed.
Most Common Causes:
- The common cold or the flu
- Sinus infections
- Nonallergic rhinitis/vasomotor rhinitis: Clear drainage from both nostrils due to overactive nasal glands
Less Common, but Other Possible Causes:
- Certain inflammatory disorders
- Deviated septum
- Dry air
- Nasal polyps
- Overuse of nasal sprays
- Spinal fluid leak
- Tobacco smoke
- Runny nose
- Post nasal drip
Diagnosis and Treatment
For most patients, a runny nose will clear up on its own. However, it can be a sign of a more serious problem, so we advise you call your primary care doctor if:
Your symptoms have lasted longer than 10 days
Your nasal discharge is yellow and/or green, and is accompanied by sinus pain or a fever
You have a high fever
There is blood in your nasal discharge or a persistent clear discharge after a head injury
Meet Our Team
Our Sinus Center is comprised of surgeons and supportive staff specially trained to care for your sinuses and related nasal disorders.
Did you know?
Just in the United States, 21 million school days and 20 million workdays are missed each year due to the common cold.
More than 200 distinct viruses can cause a cold, while there are only a handful of viruses that can cause the flu.