Rhinorrhea

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Alberto Plate [2] Luke Rusowicz-Orazem, B.S.

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Overview

Rhinorrhea, commonly known as a runny nose, is a symptom of the common cold and allergies (hay fever). The term comes from the Greek words "rhinos" meaning "of the nose" and "rhoia" meaning "a flowing." Rhinorrhea can also be a sign of withdrawal, such as from opioids.[1] Symptoms display circadian rhythms.[2]

Cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea can indicate basilar skull fracture.

Overview

Nasal discharge is any mucus-like material that comes out of the nose. Nasal discharges are common, but rarely serious. Drainage from inflamed or infected sinuses may be thick or discolored. Excess mucus production may run down the back of your throat (postnasal drip) or cause a cough that is usually worse at night. A sore throat may also result from excessive mucus drainage. The mucus drainage may plug up the eustachian tube between the nose and the ear, causing an ear infection and pain. The mucus drip may also plug the sinus passages, causing sinus infection and pain.

Causes

Common Causes

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular Granulomatosis with polyangiitis, Juvenile angiofibroma , Lymphomatoid granulomatosis , Wegener's granulomatosis
Chemical/Poisoning Aesculus pollen , Africanized honeybee, Airborne allergy , Alder tree , Amaranthus , American feverfew , Amylcinnamic alcohol , Andromedotoxin, Anisyl alcohol, Ant , Anthrax , Apomorphine, Ash juniper tree pollen , Ash tree , Baby's breath poisoning , Beech tree , Bent grass, Benzyl alcohol , Benzyl salicylate , Bermuda grass , Birch tree , Bird allergy , Black fire ant , Bluegrass , Bog rosemary poisoning , Box elder tree , Bumblebee , Canary allergy , Canary grass , Capeweed , Caterpillar complication poisoning , Chemical addiction , Chemical allergy, Chemical poisoning , Chlorine , Cigarette smoke allergy , Cinnamic alcohol , Cinnamic aldehyde , Coastal leucothoe poisoning , Cocaine abuse, Cocaine addiction , Cocklebur , Cockroach , Coumarin , Crack addiction , Cs gas, Cypress tree , Daisy , Dandelion pollen , Dilaudid withdrawal, Drug allergies , Duck allergy , Dust mite allergies , Eaf , Elm tree , English plantain , Ephedrine, Eugenol, European ash tree , Fetterbush poisoning , Florida leucothoe poisoning , Food additive allergy , Food allergies , Foreign body, Fusarium , Geraniol , Glutaraldehyde, Goosefoot , Grass pollen allergy , Grayanotoxin , Greenhead ant sting , Hazel tree , Helminthosporium , Hemp , Heroin withdrawal , Hickory tree , Honey bee , Honey intoxication , Hop shrub , Hornbeam tree , Hornet , Horse chestnut tree , House dust allergy , Hydrocodone withdrawal , Inch ant sting , Jack jumper ant sting , Japanese andromeda poisoning , Johnson grass , Kentucky bluegrass , Maple tree, Marsh elder , Monteroy pine tree , Morphine withdrawal , Mountain andromeda poisoning , Mountain cedar tree , Mountain laurel poisoning , Mugwort tree , Musk ambrette , Nettle , Nitrogen dioxide inhalation , Oak moss absolute , Oak tree , Olive tree, Opioid withdrawal , Orchard grass , Organophosphates, Ozone inhalation , Pain killer addiction, Parakeet allergy , Patterson's curse , Pecan trees , Percocet withdrawal , Perfume , Pernettya poisoning , Phoma , Phosgene inhalation , Phosgene oxime exposure , Pigweed, Plane tree , Plantago pollen, Poplar tree pollen , Prescribed medication addiction, Pulmonary anthrax , Ragweed , Rapeseed oil , Red fire ant , Redroot , Redtop grass , Rhodotoxin, Rodent allergy , Ryegrass pollen , Sagebrush , Sandalwood oil , Scorpion , Seafood allergy , Sheep laurel poisoning, Sleeping pill addiction , Sorrel , Spice allergy , Spicy foods, Stachybotrys chartarum , Staggerbush poisoning , Sulfur dioxide inhalation , Sunflower pollen , Sweet chestnut tree , Sweet vernal grass , Tilia tree pollen , Timothy grass, Ting kung teng , Toxic mushrooms , Tranquilizer addiction , Tree pollen , Tropical fire ant , Tubatoxin poisoning , Tumble weed , Turkey allergy , Velvet grass , Vicodin withdrawal , Wall pellitory , Walnut tree , Wasp , White cedar tree , Willow tree pollen , Wood tar, Yellow jacket wasp ,
Dental Teething
Dermatologic Leprosy , Measles , Periorbital cellulitis , Rubella 
Drug Side Effect Acetylandromedol , Chloroacetophenone, Clomethiazole, Ephedrine, Gabapentin, Guanethidine, Guayule , Hydroxycitronellal , Lortab withdrawal , Methadone withdrawal, Methyldopa, Methyldopate, Muscarine, Orache , Oxycontin addiction , Penicillium , Phentolamine, Rasagiline, Reserpine, Rhinitis medicamentosa, Trilostane, Zotepine
Ear Nose Throat Catarrh, Congenital nasal abnormality, Nasal cancer, Nasal foreign body , Nasal mastocytosis, Nasal obstruction , Nasal papillomas , Nasal polyp, Nasal tumor, Nasopharyngeal carcinoma , Nasopharyngitis , Nasopharynx cancer , Otitis media, Rhinitis medicamentosa, Single upper central incisor , Sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma , Sinus infection, Sinusitis , Sphenoid sinusitis , Tonsilitis , Vasomotor rhinitis 
Endocrine Hypothyroidism
Environmental Occupational cancer
Gastroenterologic No underlying causes
Genetic Immotile cilia syndrome , Isoeugenol , Kartagener syndrome, Mucopolysaccharidosis type i hurler-scheie syndrome , Primary ciliary dyskinesia , Rice millers' syndrome 
Hematologic Aromatic amino acid decarboxylase deficiency , Diabetes, Dopamine beta-hydroxylase deficiency , Rosai-dorfman disease , Systemic capillary leak syndrome , Wegener's granulomatosis 
Iatrogenic No underlying causes
Infectious Disease Acute upper respiratory infection , Adenoviridae infections , Alternaria , Aspergillus , Aureobasidium , Bird flu, Bronchiolitis , Bronchitis , Bronchopulmonary dysplasia , Candida albicans , Chronic infections, Chronic pneumonitis of infancy , Cladosporium , Common cold , Coxsackievirus-related cold , Echovirus, Enterovirus, Epicoccum , Flu, Fungal infection, H1n1 flu , Hay fever , Leprosy , Lymphomatoid granulomatosis , Measles , Metapneumovirus , Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, Mucor , Mucormycosis, Nasopharyngitis , Orthomyxovirus, Otitis media, Parainfluenza, Paramyxovirus , Recurring airway infection, Respiratory tract infections , Rhinocerebral mucormycosis , Rhinocerebral zygomycosis , Rhinosporidiosis , Rhinovirus , Rhizopus , Rubella , Serratia respiratory tract infection, Sinus infection, Sinusitis , Slap-cheek syndrome , Smut , Sphenoid sinusitis , Swine flu , Syphilis, Tonsilitis , Tuberculosis, Type a influenza , Type b influenza , Type c influenza , Upper respiratory tract infection, Whooping cough , Zygomycosis 
Musculoskeletal/Orthopedic No underlying causes
Neurologic Autonomic dysreflexia, Basilar skull fracture, Brain injury , Charlin's syndrome, Ciliary dyskinesia, Cluster headache, Esthesioneuroblastoma , Skull fracture , Stress incontinence , Sunct headache 
Nutritional/Metabolic Diabetes, Egg hypersensitivity 
Obstetric/Gynecologic No underlying causes
Oncologic Carcinoma, Esthesioneuroblastoma , Malignant teratocarcinosarcoma , Mastocytosis , Nasal cancer, Nasal tumor, Nasopharyngeal carcinoma , Nasopharynx cancer , Occupational cancer , Sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma 
Ophthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose/Toxicity Cocaine abuse, Cocaine addiction , Codeine withdrawal , Crack addiction , Dilaudid withdrawal, Hemp , Heroin withdrawal , Hydrocodone withdrawal , Methadone withdrawal, Monteroy pine tree , Morphine withdrawal , Opioid addiction , Opioid withdrawal , Orchard grass , Pain killer addiction, Patterson's curse , Percocet withdrawal , Prescribed medication addiction, Sleeping pill addiction , Toxic mushrooms , Tranquilizer addiction , Vicodin withdrawal 
Psychiatric Stress incontinence 
Pulmonary Adenoiditis , Anaphylaxis , Bird flu, Bronchiolitis , Bronchitis , Bronchopulmonary dysplasia , Catarrh, Chronic pneumonitis of infancy , Common cold , Congenital nasal abnormality, H1n1 flu , Hemosiderosis , Occupational lung disease , Pulmonary anthrax , Recurring airway infection, Respiratory syncytial virus, Respiratory tract infections , Sarcoidosis, Serratia respiratory tract infection, Tuberculosis, Type a influenza , Type b influenza , Type c influenza , Upper respiratory tract infection, Whooping cough 
Renal/Electrolyte No underlying causes
Rheumatology/Immunology/Allergy Aesculus pollen , Africanized honeybee, Airborne allergy , Alder tree , Allergic irritability syndrome , Allergic rhinitis , Allergic tension-fatigue syndrome , Allergy-like conditions , American feverfew , Anaphylaxis , Animal allergy , Ash juniper tree pollen , Ash tree , Asrar-facharzt-haque syndrome , Atrophic rhinitis, Beech tree , Beet , Bent grass, Bermuda grass , Birch tree , Bird allergy , Black fire ant , Bluegrass , Box elder tree , Bumblebee , Caffeine allergy , Canary allergy , Canary grass , Capeweed , Cat allergy , Chemical allergy, Chicken allergy , Chronic rhinitis , Chronic sinusitis , Cigarette smoke allergy , Daisy , Dandelion pollen , Dog allergy , Drug allergies , Duck allergy , Dust mite allergies , Eaf , Elm tree , English plantain , European ash tree , Fetterbush poisoning , Florida leucothoe poisoning , Food additive allergy , Food allergies , Goose allergy , Grass pollen allergy , Hazel tree , Honey bee , Honey intoxication , Hop shrub , Hornbeam tree , Hornet , Horse chestnut tree , House dust allergy , Hypersensitivity reaction , Ige mediated gastrointestinal food allergy , Kentucky bluegrass , Latex allergies , Mastocytosis , Midline lethal granuloma , Mold allergy , Mountain cedar tree , Musk ambrette , Nettle , Oak moss absolute , Oak tree , Olive tree, Parakeet allergy , Parrot allergy , Pecan trees , Perennial rhinitis, Pet allergy , Pigeon allergy , Pigweed, Plane tree , Plantago pollen, Polychondritis , Poplar tree pollen , Ragweed , Rapeseed oil , Red fire ant , Redroot , Redtop grass , Relapsing polychondritis, Rodent allergy , Ryegrass pollen , Sagebrush , Sandalwood oil , Sarcoidosis, Scorpion , Seafood allergy , Sheep laurel poisoning, Sorrel , Sparrow allergy , Spice allergy , Spicy foods, Sunflower pollen , Sweet chestnut tree , Sweet vernal grass , Tilia tree pollen , Timothy grass, Ting kung teng , Tree pollen , Tropical fire ant , Tumble weed , Turkey allergy , Velvet grass , Wall pellitory , Walnut tree , Wasp , White cedar tree , Willow tree pollen , Wood tar, Yellow jacket wasp
Sexual Syphilis
Trauma Basilar skull fracture, Brain injury , Head injury, Skull fracture , Teething 
Urologic Urinary incontinence
Miscellaneous Systemic capillary leak syndrome , Vasomotor rhinitis 

Causes in Alphabetical Order

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Treatment

Keep the mucus thin rather than thick and sticky. This helps prevent complications, such as ear and sinus infections, and plugging of your nasal passages. To thin the mucus:

  • Drink extra fluids.
  • Increase the humidity in the air with a vaporizer or humidifier.
  • Antihistamines may reduce the amount of mucus. Be careful, because some antihistamines may make you drowsy.
  • Use saline nasal sprays. Don't use over-the-counter nasal sprays more frequently than three days on and three days off, unless ordered by the doctor.

References

  1. Kneisl, Wilson, & Trigoboff. (2004). Contemporary Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson. pg274
  2. Smolensky MH, Reinberg A, Labrecque G. (1995). Twenty-four hour pattern in symptom intensity of viral and allergic rhinitis: treatment implications. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1995 May;95(5 Pt 2):1084-96.

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