survival-doctor-ad-stabbed
My Family Doctor Blog

Google search



Free Health Newsletter

free-health-newsletterThank you for visiting! You can sign up for our free monthly newsletter here. You'll get the latest articles, with tips and insights from doctors, registered dietitians and more.

We never spam or share your email address.

Click here to read previous newsletters.

Why Does My Nose Run When I Have a Cold?

hand-tissue-coldby Susan Louisa Montauk, M.D.

Q. Why does my nose run when I have a cold?

A. Drip, sniff, drip, blow, sniff, then drip again … a facial faucet of fluid refuse! Why does your mystifying modulator of mucus insist on vying for center stage when a head cold appears, dripping throughout every waking hour, then continuing on, interrupting the healing sleep that feels long overdue? Well, for one thing, it thinks it’s helping.


HOW A HEALTHY NOSE "RUNS"

The healthy, happy nose loves to play The Defensive Protector. It makes mucus, but just enough of the sticky stuff to work in harmonious consort with the microscopic, flowing hairlike things called cilia that line the nasal cavity (behind your nose). This mucociliary bond strains out particles like dust or bacteria that might otherwise make it to your lungs.


WHY A SICK NOSE RUNS
When a head cold invades, The Defensive Protector ramps things up a notch or 10. And an increase in mucus brings with it an increase in antiseptic enzymes and immunoglobulins (antibodies). The fighter-filled fluid washes out some of the germs.

newsletter-graphic


SO IS IT GOOD FOR MY NOSE TO RUN WHEN I HAVE A COLD?

Hmmm … if mucus is protective, why not just keep our suffering noses flowing to the max? That would be because plenty of germs avoid its defenses. Other parts of the immune system are what really take care of the cold.

Plus, not only does that wonderful mucus not get you well any sooner, but it can be downright annoying and sometimes keep you from sleeping. So, if a relatively safe medication dries up a nose and allows for much-needed rest, it might be worth considering.

Board-certified family doctor SUSAN LOUISA MONTAUK, M.D., is a professor of clinical family medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

Last updated and/or approved: May 2010. Original article appeared in September/October 2007 former print magazine. Bio current as of September 2007. This article is not meant as individual advice. Please see our disclaimer.

YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN:

Share/Save/Bookmark
Comments (0)add comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger
 

busy
 
© My Family Doctor 2014.
Magazine Publishing Website Design and Digital Magazine Media Solutions for Publishers