How do you know if a runny nose should be of concern depends on the type of drainage. If you have a clear and watery discharge it is likely the result of an allergic reaction to something in the environment causing a histamine reaction. If the discharge turns yellow or green in color and becomes thick and sticky that indicates a potentially more serious condition and a probable viral or bacterial infection underway in the sinuses.
Regardless of the cause, sinusitis is a common problem with frustrating symptoms: congestion, cough, sore throat, fatigue, fever, pain and pressure around the eyes, cheeks nose or forehead. What can you do to prevent sinusitis? Harvard Women’s Health Watch offers a few simple suggestions for reducing your risk or relieving early symptoms of the condition.
First, keeping your nasal membranes moist is a great way to avoid/reduce sinus symptoms. Stir 1 teaspoon salt into 2 cups of lukewarm water; use a squeeze bottle to stream the solution through your nose. Do this 1-2 times daily to keep your nasal passages from drying out and clear excess mucus before it has a chance to cause congestion and/or infection.
Drinking lots of water every day is another great way to keep mucus from building up; water keeps mucus thin, loose and easy to dissipate with the saltwater solution or simply by blowing your nose.
If you have sinus symptoms, inhaling steam also can help to reduce congestion and other symptoms. You can do this several ways: by spending a little extra time in a hot shower or steam room; or by boiling water in a pan and then inhaling the steam. (Place a towel over your head to maximize the effect.)
Finally, sleeping with your head elevated helps prevent mucus from pooling. When mucus builds up in your nasal passages, it’s a veritable breeding ground for infection. It might mean you spend a few days and nights with a runny nose, but it’s better in the long run than the alternative – congestion and infection.
Remember; always consult with your health care provider to make sure your symptoms aren’t indicative of something more serious. There are other natural methods of treating your sinus problems without having to rely on decongestants or other over-the-counter medications