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Relief Remedies for a Runny Nose with Cough, Sneezing, Sore throat & a Stuffy Nose

Today we are going to discuss how to get rid of a runny nose. And since it is often accompanied by other symptoms such as a cough and sneezing – depending on the underlying cause – we will as well look at the best ways to get rid of these symptoms.

How to get rid of with soothing home remedies

How to Get Rid of a Runny Nose Effectively

A runny nose can interfere with your productivity and cause significant discomfort especially when it is accompanied by other symptoms such as sneezing, cough, nasal congestion, and headaches among others. Below is a guideline on how to get rid of it:

1. Saltwater

Irrigating your nasal passages with salt water helps to flush out any debris and toxins in the airways and loosen the mucus.

  1. To a cup of lukewarm water that had been previously boiled, add ½ teaspoon of common salt.
  2. Stir well and transfer the solution to a syringe, neti pot, or empty nasal spray bottle.
  3. Pour it into one of your nostrils with the head tilted sideways over a sink. Inhale gently as you do this so that the solution goes into your nasal passages and come out through the other nostrils.
  4. Blow your nose gently to flush out any excess water from your nostril and then repeat the process for the other nostril
  5. Repeat the whole process several times each day to offer relief.

2. Take hot and spicy foods

Spicy and hot foods the likes of chili pepper and cayenne pepper can help to not only get rid of it but also clear nasal congestion.

There is a common misconception that spicy foods make it worse. That is true at the onset, but over the long term, spicy foods help to improve the symptoms.

3.  Turmeric

This yellow herb is yet another great home remedy for nasal discharge. It has been used for a long time in traditional Indian medicine for various illnesses, including the common cold.  Here is one way to use turmeric to get rid of a runny nose:

  1. Place some dry, ground turmeric in a little linseed oil for 30 minutes or so
  2. Heat the mixture over low flame until it begins to smolder
  3. Inhale the smoke that is emitted for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Repeat several times each day and you will see some improvement in no time

Here is an alternative way to use turmeric.

  1. Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of warm milk
  2. Stir thoroughly till well blended and then drink the whole glass before bedtime each day.

This is not only helpful for a runny nose but also works great for a cough, sore throat.

4.  Ginger

Ginger has antiviral properties that are beneficial in case you have this problem. The antioxidant properties of ginger are also an added advantage. You can make ginger tea for this purpose as follows:

  • Slice ginger into thin slices and boil them in a cup of water for around 5 minutes
  • Add sugar or honey to sweeten the ginger tea and then take a cup
  • Repeat this 3-4 times each day until it is has cleared.

Alternative ways of using ginger to clear a runny nose are described below:

  • Sprinkle some salt on a small piece of peeled ginger and then chew it. repeat this a few times a day
  • Inhale the steam produced a piece of ginger (or 1 tsp. of ginger) boils in some water (preferably 2 cups of water).

5. Thyme

Thyme also does a great job in getting rid of a running nose. Below is a guideline on how to get rid of of it with thyme:

  1. Crush dry thyme into powder using pestle and mortar or the back of a spoon.
  2. Inhale gently over the thyme powder to catch its smell for a few minutes several times each day

An alternative way to use thyme for nasal discharge alleviation is explained below:

  1. Warm some thyme oil slightly over a low flame.
  2. Use a dropper to suck in the oil and then place a drop or two into one nostril.
  3. Allow one minute for the oil to absorb and then repeat the procedure with the other nostril.

6.  Garlic

The antibacterial and antiseptic properties of garlic have been found to go a long way in improving symptoms associated with this problem.

To use garlic, you will want to follow the following steps:

  1. Boil 3 cloves of garlic (chopped) in 1 cup water for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Strain the solution and then add some sugar to sweeten it before drinking it.
  3. Repeat this twice daily.

You can as well eat a small piece of garlic 3 times a day or take garlic supplements regularly. The latter is available in most health food stores nowadays.

7.  Over the Counter Medications

Although this problem will clear naturally in most cases, if the symptoms are unbearable, you may want to consider the following OTC medications:

  • Antihistamines: These medications work by blocking the action of histamines, the chemicals responsible for symptoms such as sneezing that accompany common cold and allergies.
  • Decongestants: Nasal decongestants also help to relief runny nose symptoms. They range from oral syrups and pills such as pseudoephedrine (usually available as Sudafed) to nasal sprays such as oxymetazoline and Phenylephrine.

There are many products nowadays that feature a combination of antihistamines and decongestants.

For fast results – hour or overnight

This problem usually goes away after a week or so even without further treatment in most cases. you may however want to get rid of a runny nose fast by taking measures aimed at reducing mucus secretions in the nose and removing any infections and irritants (or even allergens) from your nasal airways.

From nasal irrigation and steam treatment to home remedies such a turmeric, honey, and ginger, and over-the-counter medications such nasal decongestants and antihistamines, the choices are quite diversified. These have been discussed throughout this article.

In an hour

What about if this problem strikes at the most inopportune moment when you have no more than an hour to be in your top form, say when you have a scheduled date, meeting, or even interview?

Your best bet in such a case would be some over the counter medications. You will, in particular, want to look for antihistamines in order to block the action of histamines which is the main trigger of a runny nose, but a combination medication that contains antihistamine and decongestant would be especially helpful.

The Medicine net website recommends using steroid nasal sprays as the first line of treatment for allergic rhinitis and if allergies are to blame for your woes, you may want to get this from your local drugstore. There are also combination preparations that contain steroids and antihistamines such as Dymista which comprises of Azelastine (antihistamine) and fluticasone (steroid).

Get rid of it overnight naturally

As for how to get rid of a runny nose overnight naturally, you may consider taking a cup of ginger or herbal tea (e.g. peppermint or pure mint tea) followed by a hot steamy bath or shower and a vapor rub just before bedtime.

You will also want to run a humidifier as you sleep to increase the level of moisture in your room. It is also a good idea to sleep with your head elevated. Simply add an extra pillow or stash a block of wood beneath the front legs of your bed.

 Runny and stuffy

If you feel stuffy, it simply means that your nose is congested. Nasal congestion occurs when the blood vessels in your nose get inflamed as a result of an infection or exposure to allergens and irritants.

Below is a breakdown of how to get rid of a stuffy runny nose:

OTC Decongestants

as the name suggests over-the-counter decongestants help to combat the swelling in the nasal and sinus cavities, effectively improving your breathing. There are two options, namely, pills and syrups, and nasal sprays.

Oral pills and syrups typically have letter “D” in the name, usually towards or at the end of the name of the medicine. Phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine are the two most commonly used decongestant medications. Ask at your local drugstore.

Nasal sprays on the other hand feature either oxymetazoline phenylephrine as the active ingredient. According to WebMD website, nasal sprays may work faster than oral pills and syrups, but their usage should not extend more than 3 days lest you risk making the congestion worse.

You should also not take nasal sprays and oral pills (or syrups) at the same time. You should only switch to oral pills if the nasal spray doesn’t seem effective.


Acupressure has been shown to be effective in the treatment of nasal congestion and sinus pressure problems.

Press the corners of your nose gently, until the nose gets close. Repeat ten times. In addition to relieving stuffy and runny nose, pressure application also helps to alleviate headaches and sinus congestion that often accompany colds and allergies.

Steam and humidity

Dry air is known to trigger or worsen nasal stuffiness. One effective remedy to address this is to run a humidifier in your bedroom at bedtime when suffering from stuffy nose. This keeps the air moist and helps to thin out mucus lodged in your nasal cavities.

In addition to running a humidifier, it also helps to take a hot shower for 10 minutes, all the while breathing in deeply the steam produced.

Alternatively, you may as well try to breathe the steam rising from a basin of how water while draping your head with a towel. Steam helps to thin out the mucus in your nose and flush out any allergens and irritants from your nose.

Some people add essential oils such as peppermint or eucalyptus oils into the bath water for an even more effective relief.

Take spicy foods

e.g. cayenne pepper and hot chili pepper. Such foods help to aid flushing out of mucus from your nasal passages. This, in turn, offers relief for a stuffy nose. It also flushes out the allergens and irritants that could be behind your woes.

Apply a warm compress

Another option is as far as treatment of this problem that is accompanied by stuffiness (nasal congestion) is to soak a towel in hot water before applying it gently over your face. This helps to alleviate sinus problems as well as open up the airways.

Apply vapor rubs

A study conducted at the Penn State College of Medicine showed that vapor rubs give symptomatic relief from a cough runny nose and congestion when applied to children aged above 2 years. It is thought that the ingredients in vapor rubs such as menthol, camphor, and eucalyptus are responsible for this positive effect.

Other home remedies when runny and stuffy are:

  • Peppermint oil: This home remedy is described in a later section of this article

With a cough

Among the common triggers of a cough is a postnasal drip, otherwise known as sinus drainage, infections, allergies, and irritants.

The following are a few tips on how to get rid of these two issues:

1.  Gargle with salt water

Gargling with salt water is beneficial to a runny nose and cough because it helps to thin out and reduce the accumulation of excess mucus at the back of your throat, hence alleviating the cough. It also helps to flush out allergens and irritants from your throat.

  1. To a cup of lukewarm, previously boiled (or distilled) water, add a teaspoon of table salt and stir.
  2. Gargle with the water for 5 minutes or so
  3. Repeat 2 to 3 times every day until the symptoms have improved.

2.  Honey

With strong antibacterial and antiseptic properties, honey is a fabulous remedy for not only runny nose but also cough and sore throat. Here is a breakdown of how to deal with this problem using honey:

  1. Add a couple tsp. of honey to a glass of warm water, stir, and enjoy it. Repeat twice each day.
  2. Mix 2 tablespoon of honey, a ¼ spoon of lemon juice, and a pinch of cinnamon powder in a cup. Pour in hot water and drink the mixture. Repeat 2 to 3 times daily.
  3. To a glass of warm water, add 1 tbsp. honey and about 3 drops of lemon juice. Drink the mixture while still warm two times per day.

In addition, for effective relief you may also want to consider:

  • Sleeping with your head elevated to reduce postnasal drip
  • Drink plenty of hot liquids including tea, soup, water, etc.
  • Garlic: Described above
  • Ginger: Also explained previously
  • Jaggery: Add a pinch of pepper to a cup of water, boil for twenty minutes, and some jaggery, then a bit of cumin before drinking the mixture.

3. Over the counter cough medicines

In addition to the above home remedies, you may also want to take over-the-counter medications that contain antihistamines, decongestants, or a combination of these. In addition to antihistamines and decongestants, there are also over the counter cough suppressants such as dextromethorphan and cough expectorants such as guaifenesin.

The former work but targeting the part of the brain that controls cough while the latter thin out the mucus in your nasal passages.

It also helps to take lots of fluids.

With a sore throat

1.  Gargle with salt water

Gargling with salt water should be your first intervention as soon as sore throat hits.

According to Grace Keenan, MD., director of Nova Medical Group in Ashburn, Virginia, salt solution soothes the throat by killing the bacteria accumulated there while increasing blood flow to the throat which in turn helps to take infection-fighting cells the affected area faster.

Simply add 1 teaspoon of salt to a glass of previously build warm water, stir and then gargle once a day or as is necessary.

2. Turmeric

Turmeric also works well for a runny nose that is accompanied by a sore throat. Here is how to use turmeric for this purpose:

  1. Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of warm milk.
  2. Stir and take it before going to bed.
  3. You may also consider adding a pinch of black pepper to the mixture for an even more effective remedy.

3.  Honey + Lemon

This home remedy not only helps to combat these two issues but also boosts your immune system. Follow the instructions provided in a previous section.

4.  Run a humidifier

Increasing moisture content in your bedroom helps to enhance mucus drainage at the back of your throat which may in turn help to combat a sore throat.

5. Garlic

Garlic is also beneficial too and works particularly well when used as soon as a tickle is felt at the back of the throat.

According to Finkelstein, garlic has antibacterial and antiseptic properties as well as immune stimulation capabilities which works together to fight cold and allergy symptoms such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat etc.

In addition to the approaches highlighted in a previous section of this article, Finkelstein suggests placing one or a couple cloves of garlic in a microwave for 10-15 seconds (to decrease its strong taste) before crashing and then taking them on a cracker once per day.

6.  Lozenges

Zinc lozenges also help to combat a sore throat and are particularly recommended when it is accompanied by nasal congestion. Popping one lozenge one an interval of 2-4 hours should do the trick.

Zinc lozenges work by coating the raw, inflamed tissues in the throat. As the zinc ions dissolve, they also move upwards in the nasal passages where they bind to the cold virus and weaken it.

According to a stud done at the Wayne State University, Detroit, patients who take zinc lozenges every two to three hours reduce cold time by almost half. Since sore throats and runny nose are common symptoms of common cold, it is worth the consideration to take zinc lozenges as soon as a sore throat and other common cold symptoms show up.

Other options available to get rid of these two conditions

  • Ginger tea – discussed previously in this article
  • Vapor rubs containing menthol, eucalyptus, or camphor.

A runny nose with sneezing

As for how to get rid of sneezing and runny nose, the WebMD website recommends taking antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), Loratadine (Claritin) and Cetirizine (Zyrtec).

On the downside though, some antihistamines may make you drowsy. If they do, you should avoid driving and operating machinery. Antihistamines can also make your mouth, eyes, and nose dry. It is advisable to take lots of water when taking them.

In addition to over the counter medications, you may find the following home remedies will be helpful:

1.  Peppermint oil

the antibacterial properties of peppermint oil help to decongest the nasal passages and thus reduce sneezing that is associated with the problem. simply add 5 drops of peppermint to a basin of boiling water and then drape your head over the mixture to inhale the steam produced.

2.  Fennel tea

Fennel tea contains antibacterial and antiviral properties which are beneficial for sneezing caused by colds. Start by adding a couple tsp. crushed fennel seeds into a cup of boiling water. Next, allow the mixture to be for 10 to 15 minutes (without further boiling) and then strain the liquid. Take a cup of this liquid 2 times daily.

3.  Black pepper

Black pepper also helps to alleviate sneezing and runny nose. To a cup of warm water, add ½ tbsp. pepper powder, stir and then drink the whole cup 2 to 3 times daily. Alternatively, gargle with warm water to which black pepper has been added. Adding black pepper to soup or salads also helps.

4.  Chamomile tea

Chamomile has strong antihistamine properties that will help provide instant relief if caused by allergies. Simply add 1 Tsp. dried chamomile flowers to a cup of boiling water, allow to continue boiling for 3 minutes or so and then strain before adding some honey to sweeten it. Drink 2 cups each day.

In addition, you will also want to consider ginger and garlic as discussed in a previous section of this article.

Best ways

With so many options listed, a question then arises, “what is the best way to get rid of a runny nose?”

Well, taking over-the-counter medications that contain antihistamines could easily pass as the best way to get rid this problem and associated symptoms but if you would rather use home remedies, a regime consisting of salt water rinse and one of the other home remedies could serve you well.

For example, you may want to combine salt water irrigation with ginger tea or one often various honey remedies. Salt water rinse and steam or essential oil inhalation could also make a great choice of a way to get rid of a runny nose.

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