Various conditions and diseases may cause a runny nose and cough. The same also applies to when a sore throat and sneezing accompany it. Let’s take an insightful look at some of these causes and pinpoint the best treatments used to get rid of the various symptoms.
A cough is the body’s response to foreign materials such as bacteria, viruses, dust, etc., excess mucus in the lungs and upper respiratory system or irritation of the airways by irritants such as chemicals, smoke, molds, etc. A cough is usually a symptom of another condition or disease and not an illness on its own.
A runny nose and cough often go hand in hand, although not always and may have other symptoms including watery eyes, nasal congestion, sneeze fits, et cetera.
A runny nose and cough causes
Why does it occur?
Allergies are one of the major reasons for 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), pet dander, dust mites. Dust mites are one of the main causes of persistent allergies that continue throughout the year, while pollen cause 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 the 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 that can be either dry (one that doesn’t bring up mucus) or wet. According to Healthline, coughs tend to be the last symptoms of cold and can linger on for as long as three weeks.
Common cold also viruses trigger a release of histamines in the body. Histamines increase the flow of blood to the nose and causes inflammation of nasal tissues.
As a result, nasal membranes get inflamed and in return, responds by increasing mucus secretion, which explains the presence of 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. Asthma is one of the leading causes of 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. Coughing usually an indication of damage to the lungs or irritation of the esophagus or throat.
This happens because the airways get filled with mucus as a response to the presence of smoke.
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 these two conditions that happen simultaneously:
1. Cough suppressant
cough suppressants evident 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.
Some of the dextromethorphan containing medications include:
Expectorants can as well help to relieve coughing caused by common cold by thinning the mucus lodged in your air passages. That way, you can get rid of the phlegm more easily when you cough.
Besides these medications, take plenty of water and fluids when taking expectorants. The Cough Suppressant and Expectorant, Mucinex, is a good choice that is highly rated to give a try.
Decongestant medicines such as Sudaphedrine, such as GoodSense Maximum Strength Nasal Decongestant and Ephedrine, both of which contain Sudafed the primary 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 your doctor determines a bacterial infection. Keep in mind that antibiotics do nothing to help the common cold, flu, and any other viral illness for that matter.
Viral infections, however, weakens your body’s defense against bacteria, 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 occurs when the mucous membrane of the nasal lining and throat gets irritated by viruses, bacteria, sudden weather change, etc. in response, the body releases an anti-inflammatory mediator known as histamines.
Histamines – and various other anti-inflammatory mediators – then cause dilation of blood vessels and an increased secretion of mucus by the mucous 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 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: They 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 tired from taking antihistamines.
Decongestants: Decongestants help to reduce the inflammation of the 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.
Some contain phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine. Ask for these two because 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. They tend to give relief faster than pills. Nasal sprays should, as a rule of thumb, not be used for longer than three days.
Nowadays, there are over-the-counter medications that combine both decongestants and antihistamines.
You should consult with your doctor before 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, 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, the 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 a runny nose to be accompanied by a headache in addition to a sore throat.
For a headache, 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 the 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 one teaspoon of salt once every hour.
- Drink lots of fluids, including hot chicken soup and tea, to prevent dehydration. These help to thin out the 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.