Home remedies for a runny nose

This text provides information in simple language on the topic: Home remedies for colds.

What is a runny nose?

If you have a cold, the mucous membrane in your nose is inflamed. Affected people can then no longer breathe well. A head cold can be a sign of a cold or an allergy.

How can you recognize a cold?

A runny nose can show a number of signs. Signs of a cold are for example:

  • Affected people cannot breathe easily through their nose.
  • The nose is running. Because there is mucus in the nose.
  • The nose is irritated. Affected people often have to sneeze.
  • Affected people sleep poorly.
  • And affected people may have a headache.

What can you do about a cold?

Do you have a runny nose? Then you can do different things.

There are several home remedies for a cold. When it comes to home remedies, scientists often have no definite proof of their effectiveness. But many people believe in this effect. Believing in a home remedy can also help. This is why doctors sometimes recommend certain home remedies. In the next few sections we will introduce you to various home remedies for colds.

Nasal spray against runny nose

When they have a cold, it is difficult for those affected to breathe through their nose. The nose feels blocked. Then a nasal spray might help. The nasal spray is a liquid with an active ingredient against the swelling. An affected person sprays this liquid into their nose? Then the vessels in the nose swell. Then the nose is clear again and those affected can breathe better.

Warning: some nasal sprays can dry out the nose severely. Then the inside of the nose becomes sore. Therefore, do not use quick acting nasal sprays for more than seven days.

Some nasal sprays contain sea water or salt. The salt keeps the nose moist inside. The nose does not then dry out. That is why these nasal sprays are particularly gentle. You can use gentle nasal sprays for more than seven days.

There are also nasal sprays made with essential oils. Essential oils are plant substances such as menthol. The essential oils cool the nose from the inside. That's why the nose doesn't feel so stuffy.

Warning: Certain oils can be harmful. Eucalyptus oil can dry out the nose. Would you like to use a nasal spray with essential oils? Then seek advice from the pharmacy.

Note: There are special nasal sprays for children. Do you want to buy a nasal spray for your child? Then seek advice from the pharmacy.

Inhaling against runny nose

Inhalation is the technical term for: inhalation. In medicine it means a treatment of the respiratory tract. When inhaling, for example, water vapor is inhaled. The water vapor moistens the mucous membranes in:

  • nose
  • mouth
  • neck

The hot steam also loosens the solid mucus in your nose. The mucus can then drain out of the nose. Affected people can then breathe through their nose more easily again.

Note: Should a child inhale? Then talk to the doctor beforehand.

How to inhale correctly:

1. Pour very warm water into a bowl.

2. Bend over the bowl. Then cover your head and bowl with a towel.

3. Inhale and exhale the warm water vapor several times.

4. Inhale several times a day.

Warning: very warm water is used when inhaling. Be careful with the warm water! This is because it can scald the skin.

You can also add certain essential oils to the water. It is best to use mountain pine oil.

Warning: some scented oils dry out the nose. You should therefore only add a few drops of the essential oil to the water.

Warning: Children are not allowed to inhale with essential oils. Essential oils are dangerous for children. Certain essential oils can cause respiratory failure in children. Essential oils can also be dangerous for people with asthma.

Ointments for colds

Ointments can also help against a cold. These ointments contain essential oils. Essential oils are for example menthol or eucalyptus. Are you rubbing your chest with the ointment? Then the essential oils evaporate and you inhale the oils. Scientists say: the ointments do not help against the runny nose. But some people find it pleasant to rub in.

Warning: the ointments are not good for toddlers and babies. Would you like to use an ointment on your child? Then talk to the pediatrician.

Warm food and hot drinks to prevent colds

Perhaps hot food or hot drinks will also help against a cold. Do you have a cold? Then, for example, help:

  • a hot soup
  • or a tea.

Maybe then your nose will feel freer.

Raise your head while sleeping

If you have a cold, you may not be able to breathe easily through your nose. Your nose swells up from the inside. This may be why you sleep poorly. You may find it even harder to breathe when you are lying down.

Tilt your head a little higher in bed. For example, you can put a second pillow under your pillow. Do you have an adjustable bed? Then straighten the headboard a little. This will make it easier for you to breathe through your nose and sleep better.

How can you avoid a cold?

Do you want to avoid a cold? Then you should clean your nose and sinuses regularly. The sinuses are near the nose. The sinuses are cavities. They are filled with air. There is a mucous membrane in the cavities. The mucous membrane moisturizes the sinuses.

Do you want to clean your nose? Then use a nasal douche. A nasal douche is where you rinse your nose and sinuses. For this you need a special bottle. You can get the bottle at the pharmacy. Ask your pharmacist for advice. Your pharmacist will explain to you: This is how you use the nasal douche.

The nasal douche flushes mucus and dust out of the nose. And the nasal douche cares for the nasal mucosa.

Warning: do you already have a cold? Then you shouldn't do a nasal douche. A nasal douche can make the runny nose worse.

Where can you get more information?

Would you like to read more about home remedies for a cold? You can find more information about home remedies for colds here. Attention: This link leads out of our simple language offer. The information is then no longer in plain language.

Attention: This text only contains general information. The text does not replace a visit to the doctor. Only a doctor can give you accurate information. Are you feeling sick? Or do you have questions about an illness? Then you should always see a doctor.

We wrote the texts together with the Light Language Research Center. The light language research center is at the University of Hildesheim.