What is the role of the nasal cavity? There are millions of viruses around us that we inhale. The human nose is not just a part of the face. It’s a natural filter! Its task is to clean and warm the air before it gets into the lungs.
The nasal cavity is covered with a very dense network of blood vessels, which is necessary for maintaining a rapid metabolism, secretion of mucus, and immune defense. The nasal mucosa is covered with sticky cilia that trap viruses and bacteria, preventing them from entering the lower respiratory tract.
Pathogens that get on the walls of the nose are destroyed by the immune system and expelled in the form of mucus. Thus, the nasal cavity is your first line of defense.
What happens when a runny nose starts? Sometimes the body’s defense systems fail and the virus penetrates the nasal mucosa. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including:
the virus was unfamiliar to the immune system and compatible with human cellsthe blood circulation in the nose was disrupted and local immunity decreasedthe nasal mucosa «dried up» and became defenseless against the pathogen
The immune system «understands» that the virus is inside the mucosa and begins to kill infected cells. The process is accompanied by inflammation, and since part of the tissues dies — pus is formed. These are the same «green snot». Increased fluid secretion in the nose is needed to «wash out» the products of infection and simplify the task of immunity. It turns out, a runny nose is a useful function of the nasal cavity, which should not be suppressed just like that!
So how to properly treat a runny nose? First, help it — regularly and often blow your nose. In this way, you simultaneously cleanse the mucosa from microbes and facilitate your breathing.
Second, drink plenty of water. Fluid is needed to thin thick mucus and facilitate its separation.
Third, be very careful with medications. Never drip essential oils into your nose — this can create favorable conditions for the multiplication of pathogens.
If there is an extreme need to «turn off» a runny nose — use oxymetazoline hydrochloride. This drug is recommended by the FDA for US citizens as safe and effective for short-term use. The drug is even allowed for use in children under 1 year!
Its principle of action is to stimulate the adrenaline receptors of the nasal cavity. This causes a rapid spasm of the muscles in the walls of the capillaries, which leads to a stop of the runny nose. Before using it, you need to blow your nose thoroughly to clear the nasal cavity and allow the drug to penetrate the mucosa. Also, keep in mind that the drug can be absorbed into the blood and increase blood pressure.
It is not recommended to use the oxymetazoline spray more than 4 times a day for 3-5 days. If you exceed this amount, there is a risk of developing chronic rhinitis and addiction to the drug.
Are you interested in what other drugs are used to treat common diseases in the US? We just wrote an article about compiling a home first aid kit in the American way!
If you are bothered by a cough in addition to a runny nose, you can learn more about its treatment here.
A list of trade names for oxymetazoline hydrochloride is available at the link.