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Runny Nose: Do I have an issue, or do I just need a tissue?

Updated on August 26, 2009

8 Common Causes of Runny Nose

There are many reasons why your nose could be runny. It is important that you keep an eye out for other symptoms that could indicate any of the below diagnoses.

1. Common Cold: This is one of the most common causes of runny noses around the world. In fact, there are over 1 billion cold in the US each year!

Symptoms: Loss of appetite, sore throat, dizziness, muscle pain, and runny nose.

2. Allergies: Runny noses often result from allergies. You can be allergic to anything from dust to the sun. One way to check if you have allergies is to think about anything new that you were recently exposed to. For example, if you don't have a cat at home, and you go to your friend's house where there is a cat and develop a runny nose and/or any of the below symtoms, it is quite likely that you are allergic to cats.

Symptoms: Itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, coughing due to excess mucus build up, and skin irritation.

3. The Flu: Yes, the dreaded flu can cause a runny nose. If you see anyone with a runny nose, you may want to stay away from them as the flu is very contagious. In fact, some experts predict that half of the US will get some form the flu by the end of the year.

Symptoms: Loss of appetite, moist skin, tender lymph nodes (these are generally swollen in the neck area), and runny nose. Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

4. Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV): RSV causes often causes your lings to be infected. It is more common in adults than in children and shows cold-like symptoms.

Symptoms: Rapid breathing, change in skin color (usually to blue or green), harsh cough, and runny nose.

5. Rubella: Rubella is very contagious and is associated with a rash on the skin.

Symptoms: Headache, rash, fever, and runny nose.

6. Nasal Trauma: This refers to any type of injury to the nose. It is not contagious.

Symptoms: Sneezing, black eye, runny/stuffy nose, and nose bleeds.

7. Enlarged Adenoids: "Enlarged adenoids refers to swollen lymphatic tissue in the back of the nose" (

Symptoms: Restless sleep, nasal obstruction, poor sense of smell, swollen tonsils, and runny nose.

8. Fifth Disease: This disease is often seen in young children. One of the easiest ways to tell if your child has fifth disease is to look for developing rashes on his/her arms, legs, and cheeks.

Symptoms: Red rash, sore throat, headache, fatigue, and runny nose.

Note that these are only a few of the causes of a runny nose. While you can attempt to make a diagnosis yourself, you should always consult your doctor to confirm it.


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