A runny nose and cough may be caused by various conditions and diseases. This also applies to that is accompanied by a sore throat and sneezing. Let’s take an insightful look at some of these causes and pinpoint common treatments used to get rid of the symptoms.
A cough is the body’s response to foreign materials such as bacteria, viruses, dust etc. and/or excess mucus in the lungs and upper respiratory system and irritation of the airways by irritants such as chemicals, smoke, molds etc. A cough is usually a symptom of another condition or disease.
A runny nose and cough often go hand in hand, although not always.
A runny nose and cough causes
What are some of the causes it?
Allergies are one of the major causes of a runny nose and coughing. An allergy happens when a person with an overactive immune system – that mistakes harmless substances such as pollen and dust for pathogens – gets exposed to those very substances (allergens).
Among the most common allergens are pollen (usually associated with hay fever) and dust mites. The latter is one of the main causes of persistent allergies that continue throughout the year, while the former causes seasonal allergies.
According to Dr. Knapp of RogerKnapp.com, a cough that occurs only at night is in most cases a symptom of an allergy.
2. Sinus infection
Sinus infection is also a common factor for a runny nose and cough. According to American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, a sinus infection usually causes a cough when the infection spreads to the lower airways.
3. Virus infections like common cold and flu
A common cold is often accompanied by a cough which can be either dry (one that doesn’t bring up mucus) or wet. According to Health Line, coughs tend to be the last symptoms of cold and can linger on for as long as 3 weeks.
Common cold also viruses trigger a release of histamines in the body. Histamines increase the flow of blood to the nose and causes an inflammation of nasal tissues.
As result, nasal membranes gets inflamed and in return responds by increasing mucus secretion which explains nasal congestion and runny nose symptoms. The excess mucus in the nasal passages and lungs can also trigger a cough.
A cough could as well be triggered by the very presence of the viruses, which the body perceives as foreign bodies.
Sniffling and coughing are also associated with asthma. In fact, asthma is one of the main causes of a chronic cough in adults as Patient UK reports. Coughing tends to be worse at night as the Kids Health website says.
Smoking is another common factor underlying persistent runny nose and cough in children and well as adults. The WebMD says that coughing usually an indication of damage to the lungs or an irritation of the esophagus or throat.
This happens because the airways get filled with mucus as a response to the presence of smoke according to Patient UK.
Best medicine to clear it
The most suitable cough and runny nose medicine will depend on the underlying conditions.
Here are among the medicines most commonly used for relief this two conditions that happen simultaneously:
1. Cough suppressant
According to WebMD, cough suppressants clear coughing caused by common cold or flu, albeit for a short while, by targeting the part of the brain that controls coughing.
Dextromethorphan is the most common cough suppressant. Productive coughs (those for which mucus or phlegm is produced) should not be suppressed as they help to clear the lungs.
Expectorants can as well help to relieve coughing caused by common cold by thinning the mucus lodged in your air passages. That way, you are able to get rid of the phlegm more easily when you a cough.
The WebMD website emphasizes the importance of taking plenty of water and fluids when taking expectorants.
Decongestant medicines such as Sudaphedrine and Ephedrine (both of which contains Sudafed – the main decongestant medication on the market today) helps to relieve the symptoms of cold, including sniffling and cough.
Antihistamines such as Benadryl, Zyrtec, Allegra, Teldrin, Hismanal, Polaramine, Seldane, and Alavert, to name but a few also do wonder a runny nose. It helps to dry up the mucus by addressing the production of histamine in the body.
Medications such as Tylenol Cough and Cold, Pediacare, and Triaminic, and Dimetapp are formulated to include a cough (Dextromethorphan), congestion (Ephedrine) and runny nose (antihistamines). Check with your local drug store.
Antibiotics may also be prescribed when a bacterial infection is determined by your doctor. Keep in mind that antibiotics do nothing to help common cold, flu and any other viral illness for that matter.
Viral infections, however, weakens your body’s defense against bacterial which often make sinus infection a precursor or common cold. In such a case, antibiotics may be required.
With constant sneezing and watery eyes
Sneezing usually occurs when the mucous membrane of the nasal lining and throat get irritated by viruses, bacteria, sudden weather change etc. in response, the body releases anti-inflammatory mediator known as histamines.
Histamines – and various other anti-inflammatory mediators – then cause a dilation of blood vessels and an increased secretion of mucus by the mucus gland in the membrane lining the nose and throat. This leads to irritation that culminates in sneezing.
Among the most common factors for a runny nose and sneezing are viral infections such as common cold and flu, allergies (when exposed to pollen, animal dander, mold, dust mites etc.).
1. Best medicine to stop, clear a runny nose and sneezing
These two conditions are both symptoms of other medical conditions. The appropriate treatment option to stop these symptoms will, as a result, vary depending on the precise causative factor. Among the best medicine for a runny nose and sneezing are:
Antihistamines: Antihistamines take a central role in the treatment of a runny nose that is accompanied by sneezing. This is because sneezing is usually a clear indication that the underlying condition or ailment has triggered the production of histamine.
Among the most common over-the-counter antihistamine medicines are Benadryl, Tavist, Claritin, Dimetane, Chlortrimetron, Teldrin, Allegra, Alavert, Seldane, Zyrtec, Polaramine, Hismanal, and PBZ to name but a few.
Be sure to follow the instructions provided on the label to the letter. You will in particular want to avoid driving or operating machinery if you get drowsy from taking antihistamines.
Decongestants: Decongestants help to reduce the inflammation of nasal lining and are available over-the-counter in both pills (and syrups) and nasal spray forms.
Most of the over-the-counter Pills and syrups usually contain Sudafed as the active ingredient and are available under such brand names as Sudaphedrine and Ephedrine.
There are also those that contain phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine but as the WebMD says, you may have to ask for these as they are still stored behind the counter in some drugstores, even though they are considered over-the-counter.
As for nasal sprays, they typically contain oxymetazoline and phenylephrine as the main ingredients and tend to give relief faster than pills according to WebMD. Nasal sprays should as a rule of thumb not be used for longer than 3 days.
Nowadays there are over-the-counter medications that combine both decongestant and antihistamines.
You should consult with your doctor prior to taking decongestants if you suffer from high blood pressure, glaucoma, difficulty urinating, or irregular heartbeat. This is because decongestants increase pulse rate and raise blood pressure.
2. Constant sneezing runny nose
Constant sneezing coupled by running nose is often attributed to continued exposure to allergens such as pollen, dust mite, pet dander, and mold. Try to identify the underlying factor and eliminate it from your daily routine.
For example, if the symptoms occur at night, try sleeping in another room for a few days. If you wake up fine the next morning in your new sleeping quarters, so to speak, then something in your bedroom could be the cause.
Try changing the pillow and mattress cover (consider getting a dust mite-proof fabric for the pillowcase), get stuffed animals and pets out of your bedroom, and vacuum or dust your floor every day.
3. Sneezing runny nose watery eyes
A combination of a runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing points to one thing; production of histamines. This can follow a bout of cold or an allergy.
Your first course of action to clear these symptoms would be to take one of the various antihistamines outlined in the previous section. As the name suggests, antihistamines block the processes involved in the production of histamine.
On the downside, though, they can make you sleepy (drowsy). Older antihistamines such as Benadryl can also have a drying effect on your nose, eyes, and mouth.
With a sore throat and headache
When you have a sore throat, your throat gets dry and itchy and swallowing becomes painful, sometimes to such an extent that taking solid foods becomes very difficult.
A sore throat results when throat tissues get inflamed due to factors such as common cold and flu, postnasal drip, extended exposure to dry, hot conditions etc.
1. A sore throat runny nose headache
It is rather common to experience for a runny nose to be accompanied by a headache in addition to a sore throat.
For a headache, the WebMD website says that taking some over the counter pain relievers such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin etc.) can help.
While aspirin (Bayer) is as well a suitable option, it should not be given to children under 16 years old. This increases their risk of developing a rare but fatal condition that causes an inflammation of liver and brain called Reye’s syndrome.
2. Best medicine
So, what are the best medicine when with a sore throat? Well, that will specifically depend on the underlying cause, but the following option may be worth considering:
- Over-the-counter (non-prescription) throat lozenges. These contain local anesthetic medicine that helps to numb the throat and hence relieve the pain.
- Decongestants or steroid nasal sprays: these are also sold OTC in most local drugstores and come in handy in relieving runny nose and postnasal drip; which by extension cause a sore throat.
Always read the label carefully and understand the side effects associated with a certain medication. This is especially important if you suffer from any chronic condition such as high blood pressure, glaucoma etc. Make sure that the medicine won’t interact with any other medication you might be taking.
You will also want to follow the instructions carefully. And if not sure, always consult with your pharmacist or doctor.
3. Home remedies for a sore throat runny nose
The following home remedies can help to relieve this condition include:
- Gargle a salty water solution prepared by mixing a glass of warm water with 1 teaspoon of salt once every hour.
- Drink lots of fluids, including hot chicken soup and tea, to prevent dehydration. These help to thin out mucus in addition to soothing throat irritation.
- Run a humidifier or vaporizer in your bedroom: This helps to soothe the inflamed air passages and the irritation in your throat. You should however not allow your room to be too damp as this can have the reverse effect.
- Avoid smoking as it can only irritate you more and worsen a sore throat.