Close Up the Waterworks in Your Runny Nose

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Nobody likes having a leaky faucet in their face.

Your nose regularly produces the substance we know as mucus as a means of self-defense. Mucus, being primarily made of water and proteins, is naturally soothing to your nasal passages. Problem is, when you’re sick, your nose starts producing mucus out of control, and the quality of it degrades. This is why you have clear, liquid-y snot in a runny nose. Runny noses are no fun, arguably even less so than a stuffed nose, but thankfully, they can be treated in similar ways.

Runny noses, especially with clear snot, are usually an indicator of either an allergic reaction or the common cold. In the case of the former, when your body detects allergens like pollen, it overcompensates by releasing histamines, which flood your system and cause your eyes to water and nose to drip. A common cold is much the same, with the histamines speeding the proliferation of virus-busting white blood cells throughout your body. While these processes are supposed to be helpful, they can be incredibly annoying to put up with, so do what you can to expedite the process a bit.

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First, make sure to get good and hydrated. More water in your system will thin the mucus and make it easier to get out of your nose. You can also try the ol’ hot treatment. Hot compresses on your face and steamy showers open up the passages in your lungs and nose, making it easier to breathe and draining out mucus. If all else fails, try an over-the-counter decongestant like Mucinex or some nasal spray.

The things you shouldn’t do are eat spicy foods and dairy. The intense heat of spicy food will cause your nose to run even more, while dairy like milk and cheese will make the mucus thicker and harder to expel. Basically, you want the mucus in your runny nose to be thin and easy to expel. That way, you can ride out whatever’s causing the leak with much less discomfort.