Some people know that as soon as they sit down at the laid table, on which the food smells good, their nose starts to run. Not exactly the ideal time. Part of the cold is that it always comes uncomfortable.
Only: What’s behind it? Is it an allergic reaction to spring pollen? Predict a cold? Especially in older people, the change of situation in the nose often plays a role. “The mucous membrane and the mucous glands change with age,” explains Professor Ludger Klimek from the Center for Rhinology and Allergology Wiesbaden. “This can lead to the so-called runny nose of old age.”
When you have hay fever, your nose also runs. But the causes are elsewhere. “A lot of older people don’t think of hay fever or a house dust allergy,” says Klimek. “But over the past 20 years, the number of people who develop an allergy after the age of 65 has more than tripled.”
Cold viruses that settle in the olfactory organ can also put pressure on the mucous glands. “Viruses infect the mucous membranes,” explains Margit Schlenk, a pharmacist in Nuremberg. The result here too: the nose sniffles.
Cause: An overreaction of the immune system to certain substances (allergens).
Trigger: Pollen, mites, mold, animal hair, dust.
Symptoms: constantly runny nose, often accompanied by sneezing, itching, red or swollen eyes. Sometimes headache; the watery mucus thickens over time.
Duration: A few weeks to several months depending on the presence and intensity of allergens. Anyone who has a cold all year round may have a house dust allergy.
Means and measures: The doctor should clarify a suspected allergy with tests. Also ask the doctor if you have a dry cough or breathing problems. Allergy sprays slow down inflammation in the nose. Means containing cromoglicic acid have a preventive effect. Antihistamine tablets and cortisone sprays can help relieve severe symptoms. For those who also suffer from asthma, Klimek advises hyposensitization.
Cause: In a healthy nose, different glands produce two types of mucus layers: a more watery layer and an overlying gel-like layer. Over the years, the glands can lose their strength. “In particular, the viscous gel-like secretion can decrease,” says ENT doctor Ludger Klimek. This allows the watery secretion to flow more freely and the nose runs.
Trigger: Stress or olfactory stimuli such as fresh food, smells, cigarette smoke, but also very cold or very hot air.
Symptoms: A constantly runny nose with watery mucus.
Means and measures: An age-related runny nose is annoying but harmless. American, Swedish, Belgian and German researchers are currently working on a spray intended to stimulate the production of thicker nasal mucus in order to slow down the watery drops. Moisturizing sprays take care of the inner walls of the nose. If the skin is irritated because you have to blow your nose a lot, healing ointments can help.
cause and Trigger: A rhinovirus that sneaks through the mouth or nose triggers inflammation. More than 100 rhinoviruses are known.
Symptoms: A stuffy, mucous nose, a strong urge to blow your nose and often sneeze. Frequently accompanied by headaches in the frontal and maxillary sinuses, sore throat, exhaustion. The mucus is often liquid at first and can later change color.
Duration: Three to ten days.
Means and measures: In addition to inhalations, the pharmacist Schlenk recommends taking essential oils of eucalyptus or thyme in the form of capsules (pay attention to the dosage). Tea or chicken soup can also help. At night, decongestant sprays prevent you from breathing only through your mouth due to a blocked nose – which dries out the mucous membranes and makes them more susceptible to the virus. Use the spray for up to seven days.
Tip: A corona infection can also be accompanied by a runny nose. The patient service of the National Association of Legal Health Insurance Doctors offers free telephone advice 24 hours a day on 116 117.