Stop the snot!
December 5, 2005 12:00 AM   Subscribe

It's that time of year and I've got my first cold. I can deal with the body aches, the sore throat and the stuffy head...but how do I stop my nose from running?! I mean, it's so bad that I can't get to sleep because I can feel the drip and it's driving me INSANE. Help!
posted by youcancallmeal to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Take a decongestant. Benadryl.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 12:04 AM on December 5, 2005

Bendryl is an antihistamine; sudefed is a decongestant. Try taking both!
posted by fuzzy_wuzzy at 12:12 AM on December 5, 2005

Response by poster: I guess I should have added that I'm hoping for some kind of homeopathic-eqsue remedy. I hate taking any more medicine than I absolutely have to. Not to mention that drugs take a while to kick in and time is a bit of the essence here.
posted by youcancallmeal at 12:13 AM on December 5, 2005

Try something like flonase/beconase - I've got a chronic hay fever, but sometimes when I get a really runny nose (as opposed to just stuffed up), JUST using flonase will stop the running. I've often found that using a decongestant or some other type of nasal spray in these types of situations seems to exacerbate the running. If you don't mind dealing with a stuffed up nose but hate the runny nose, give it a try.
posted by johnsmith415 at 12:16 AM on December 5, 2005

Best answer: Or, in light of your latest comment, kleenex up the nose! A temporary/embarrasing yet effective solution...

Sometimes getting in the shower or holding your head over some steamy water will alleviate the problem for a while, too...
posted by johnsmith415 at 12:18 AM on December 5, 2005

Best answer: Thanks fuzzy_wuzzy- I meant sudafed. I take both when I'm sick, and I mix them up.

I remember totally getting grossed out when I saw a kid on a plane with his nose completely plugged with tissue... but then I tried it myself next time I was dripping and didn't have medicine handy and, well, it worked.

As for medicine taking time to kick in- you should start taking it when symptoms kick in, and keep taking it every X hours as indicated until you are no longer sick. That way the symptoms stay gone until you recover. Don't be one of those tom cruise "medicine is bad" people- medicine is good. Medicine makes you not hate your life when you're sick.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 12:20 AM on December 5, 2005

Best answer: Another "plug your nostrils up with Kleenices" vote here. They become saturated and must be replaced occasionally during the night, but at least they wick away snot rather than letting it drip. My condolences.
posted by Aknaton at 12:36 AM on December 5, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I'm kind of in awe that I didn't think of this, but the Kleenex trick totally works. I don't know if I can actually sleep like this, but at least I'm not stopping to wipe my nose every thirty seconds!
posted by youcancallmeal at 12:39 AM on December 5, 2005

Kleenices . . . that cracked me up like you wouldn't believe.

I'm going to try them next time I'm in your situation Al, hopefully when no one's looking.

It occurs to me that an alternative solution might be to invest in a pair of those foam ear plugs. There's no reason you couldn't stick them up your nose, and they might be more comfortable to sleep with. If you're not feeling better tomorrow perhaps you could get someone to pick some up for you.
posted by aladfar at 1:05 AM on December 5, 2005

Note on the Kleenex Nose Dam: Your mouth will probably be unbearably dry in the morning, and you might snore.
posted by muddgirl at 1:11 AM on December 5, 2005

I use Neilmed saline sinse with success. When I have a cold, I rinse in the evening before bed, and in the morning.
posted by terrapin at 4:21 AM on December 5, 2005


Zicam is truly a gift of the gods. It's homeopathic, which seems to be a plus in your book, and it works amazingly well, which is certainly a plus in mine.

It comes on little Q-tips, which you rub around the inside of your nostrils. Your nose then clears out like you've just treated it with Vicks VapoRub -- except Zicam has no scent at all. Zicam fixes your nose, and helps with other cold symptoms, and it reduces the duration of the entire cold. I know I sound like a complete shill, but Zicam is probably the best product I've found within the last five years. It is truly amazing.
posted by booksandlibretti at 4:30 AM on December 5, 2005 [2 favorites]

I have also heard that Zicam is pretty great. But, if you take Zicam, be aware there was a pretty well publicized story about the risk for Anosmia-- temporary to permanent loss of smell. I just carry a big box of kleenex around with me, I like smelling things too much.
posted by GreenTentacle at 6:11 AM on December 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

Thirding or fourthing the kleenex vote.... when my SO had surgery on his nose, afterwards the docs gave him what we took to calling a "nose sling" -- it was kind of like a kid's birthday party hat, except with a small bendy-plastic strip instead of a hat, and going on the nose instead of the top of your head. He had to wear it for a week or so to keep the gauze from falling out of his nose and to catch the oozy stuff. But once he was all healed, the nose sling came in pretty handy as a Kleenex-in-the-nose-holder during those nights when runny noses interfered with sleeping.
posted by youarejustalittleant at 6:40 AM on December 5, 2005

You could try those 'breathright' (tm) strips. I find them helpful for congestion. Hell, they even come in mentholated now...

I would, however recomend staying away from the "clear/invisible" style - the adhesive is crappy and they underperform.
posted by jkaczor at 6:49 AM on December 5, 2005

I find it helps to sleep propped up a bit. Make yourself a big nest of pillows to keep your upper half elevated at about 45 degrees. This also really helps with coughing.
posted by Sara Anne at 6:49 AM on December 5, 2005

And slather on the Vicks.

Vicks works in two ways - it keeps the sinuses clear/stops the postnasal drip and it makes you really, really wish you were well again.
posted by unixrat at 6:50 AM on December 5, 2005

Or, you could simply put a hair dryer on low setting, and inhale warm, dry air for several minutes. This heats your nasal mucosa and sinus cavities, and vastly reduces the number of rhino virus making homes there (since rhino virus doesn't do well above about 105 degrees F). It's one of the techniques endorsed by this M.D., and many others, and if done a few times at the beginning of a sniffles bout, seems to cut the duration of any cold I get to a few days, at most.

No drugs, no side effects, nearly immediate relief.
posted by paulsc at 6:51 AM on December 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

I use a tissue plug out of sheer desperation when the mucous river will not abate even with sudafed. My doctor also suggested a glass of wine or beer which does dehydrate a little bit.
posted by plinth at 7:01 AM on December 5, 2005

Ask your doc to prescribe Atrovent nasal spray. It can be hard to find, but worth it. My nose was a constant pain in the ass for years while skiing. Now, two sprays in the morning and I'm as dry as the Gobi desert.
posted by docpops at 7:51 AM on December 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

paulsc, I've never heard of that, but I am totally gonna do it- it makes sense, if you think about it. Thanks for the tip.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:04 AM on December 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

I use 30c Kali Bichromium--prescribed by the homeopath I was seeing in LA-- but I fit the physical description for that remedy. This site helped me find a remedy for another issue.
posted by brujita at 9:02 AM on December 5, 2005

Another non-drug solution: saltwater nasal spray. Haven't had a chance to try it against a runny nose of cascade proportion, but it definately does the job on a moderate case.
posted by luftmensch at 9:44 AM on December 5, 2005

When my shrink saw that I had a cold he wrote me a scrip for Allegra (he also added that I take Advil and Robitussin "Congestion"). Benadryl will nock you out, Allegra is an antihistamine that works all day.
posted by scazza at 11:50 AM on December 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

Man, I'm totally doing the hairdryer up the nose thing, too! Awesome! Although the nose sling DID sound pretty appetizing...hmmm...
posted by johnsmith415 at 12:44 PM on December 5, 2005

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