A watery eye and runny nose can be extremely irritating. While they may be the calling card of flu or seasonal allergies, these symptoms usually resolve on their own in a few days. Watery eyes and runny nose can; however, be a cause of concern and seriously impact quality of life, if they last for a longer duration. A watery eye or runny nose are often accompanied by other symptoms like sore throat, redness and swelling of the eyes, fever, congestion, sneezing, cough, headache, sinus pressure, and post-nasal drip. A doctor should be contacted immediately when experiencing high fever, breathing problem, vision problems, nose bleeding, and a foreign body in the nose.
Causes of Watery Eyes & Runny Nose
The inside of the nose is rich in blood vessels and capable of producing large amounts of mucus. This lubricant helps in naturally warming and moistening inhaled air. In some cases, this natural function; however, gets out of hand and the excess mucus leaks out of the nostrils or down the throat. A runny nose is often caused due to an infection, an irritant or medication. Conditions like cold, influenza, non-allergic can cause watery eyes and runny nose too. Watery eyes and runny nose problems can even be caused by crying, cold temperature, spicy foods, sleep apnea masks, nasal decongestant sprays, illicit drug use, occupational exposure, medications for high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, and foreign body, masses or polyps in the nose.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Watery Eyes & Runny Nose
Mucus production is the body’s natural way of protecting the nasal passages and clearing out any irritants. Most often, runny nose simply resolves on its own with time without any treatment. However, a chest x-ray, phlegm sampling, blood tests, and some other tests may need to be conducted to diagnose the cause, if the runny nose and watery eyes continue for a long time. Nasopharyngolaryngoscopy may also need to be performed to determine if a mass or structural abnormality is causing the symptoms of watery eyes and runny nose. Over-the-counter pain relievers, antihistamines, decongestants, and cough medicines can be used to treat and manage common cold and treat persistent or severe runny nose. Topical or oral corticosteroid can be prescribed for treating sinusitis. Decongestant pills like Sudafed and allergy pills like Claritin or Zyrtec can be used to treat runny nose and watery eyes caused due to allergic reactions. Nasal decongestant spray like Afrin can also help to constrict the blood vessels in the nose, and limit mucus production. Inflammation in the nose can be reduced with steroid nasal sprays medications like Flonase. Antibiotics are prescribed by the doctor if bacterial infection is suspected along with the runny nose.
Home Remedies for Watery Eyes & Runny Nose
Many home remedies also help the body fight the conditions responsible for causing runny nose and watery eyes. For blocked nasal passages caused due to cold, patients should sleep with the head elevated on many pillows at night to help the mucus drain naturally and allow for a better night’s sleep. A nasal block can be flushed with saline water from a spray bottle or Neti Pot. Even blowing the nose regularly, staying optimally hydrated, and using an air humidifier at home can also help to ease the symptoms of watery eyes and runny nose from chronic cold. The nose and mouth should be loosely covered with a scarf during winter, to prevent cold air from entering the nose and thereby reduce the body’s need to produce mucus. Ones with sensitive nose should avoid irritants like smoky environments and certain harsh chemicals like household cleaners. Allergy triggered runny nose and water eyes can be relieved and prevented simply by avoiding the allergy causing substance.