Stifle the Sniffle and Drip
You're carrying tissues. You're sniffling. You're blowing. You're pretty uncomfortable and not a little embarrassed about it. For when your nose is dripping as freely as a faucet, it's pretty hard to feel attractive, accomplished, professional or even very maternal.
"A runny nose is often associated with allergies," says Karin Pacheco, M.D., staff physician in the Division of Allergy and Immunology at the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine in Denver. "You can blame histamines--substances that your body produces in response to allergens."
SOLUTIONS YOU NEVER HEARD OF
If your nose runs chronically, see a doctor to find out why, suggests Dr. Pacheco. In the meantime, these tips will help you dry up.
Making love? Be prepared. According to Barbara P. Yawn, M.D., associate professor of clinical family medicine and community health at the University of Minnesota and director of research at the Olmsted Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota, really good sex can make your nose run. "The same substances that dilate and relax your vagina when you're sexually aroused can also make your nose run," she says. Dr. Yawn's tip for preventing a sex-provoked runny nose? "Keep tissues on your night table."
Think red-hot foods. Eating hot, spicy foods to make your nose run more when it's already running may seem like an odd cure, but, says Carol Fleischman, M.D., staff physician at Allegheny University of the Health Sciences MCP-Hahnemann School of Medicine and at the Center for Women's Health, both in Philadelphia, it's a good way for your nose to rid itself of irritants. "I favor hot curries from Indian restaurants to end stuffy, runny noses fast." In a pinch, sprinkling generous amounts of red-pepper flakes on your food will achieve the same effect.
Use an inhaler. "Over-the-counter menthol inhalers can provide some relief for runny noses," says Dr. Yawn. "Blow your nose first, then use the inhaler as directed by your doctor."
Try a nose rub. "A dab of Vicks Vaporub near your nose can slow down a runny nose, provided that the skin around your nose isn't irritated," says Dr. Yawn.
THE DRUGSTORE ROUTE
If you get satisfactory results with at-home treatments, fine. If your nose is still running like a faucet, women doctors offer these alternatives.
Take an antihistamine. "An antihistamine can relieve runny noses caused by allergies," says Dr. Pacheco. "Actifed, Drixoral, Dimetapp or Tavist-D seem to be the ones most preferred by my patients."
In a pinch, spray. If you have to be dry-nosed and presentable for some occasion, use Afrin nasal spray at the last minute, says Dr. Pacheco. "But don't use it for more than three days, to avoid the rebound effect," she advises. In other words, when you stop using it, your symptoms return worse than ever.