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.
Some of the most common culprits include:
- Infections (think: common cold, the flu)
- Sinus infections
- Nonallergic rhinitis/vasomotor rhinitis (Clear drainage from both nostrils that is due to overactive nasal glands. This can be associated with nasal congestion and/or sneezing. Often, the drainage is associated with changes in temperature, activity, or eating and becomes more common with age.)
Less common, but other possible causes include:
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
To make an appointment, request one online or call us today at 617-573-3030.