Combat Runny Nose With These Over-The-Counter Meds

Seasonal changes bring on runny noses or bouts of allergies. Over-the-counter medications often provide a reliable solution to alleviate symptoms. Here are some of the best meds to relieve yourself of a runny nose that can also be purchased online!

1. Antihistamines

Antihistamines are go-to medications for managing a runny nose caused by allergies. These drugs block histamine, a substance that triggers allergy symptoms. Common antihistamines like cetirizine (Zyrtec), loratadine (Claritin), and fexofenadine (Allegra) are highly effective in reducing a runny nose, sneezing, and itching associated with allergies.

2. Decongestant Nasal Sprays

Decongestant nasal sprays are fast-acting remedies for a runny nose accompanied by nasal congestion. Medications like oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Sudafed PE) work by narrowing blood vessels in the nasal passages, reducing swelling and congestion, thus helping to control a runny nose.

3. Combination Medications

Combination medications often include antihistamines and decongestants to provide relief from multiple symptoms. These can be particularly effective in addressing a runny nose along with other symptoms like congestion, sneezing, and sinus pressure. Common brands like Claritin-D and Zyrtec-D fall under this category.

4. Saline Nasal Sprays

Saline nasal sprays are a gentle and non-medicated option for alleviating a runny nose. They work by moistening nasal passages, helping to thin mucus and clear irritants. Saline nasal sprays are safe for frequent use and can be especially beneficial for those with mild symptoms or irritation.

5. Mucolytics

Mucolytics, like guaifenesin (Mucinex), help break down mucus, making it easier to expel. While not a direct remedy for a runny nose, they can be beneficial if your runny nose is due to excess mucus production in the nasal passages or sinuses.

6. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve), can help alleviate the symptoms of a runny nose when it's a result of inflammation, such as in cases of sinusitis. These medications can reduce swelling in the nasal passages and relieve associated discomfort.

Choosing the Right Medication

When selecting an over-the-counter medication for a runny nose, consider the following factors:

Underlying Cause

Identify whether your runny nose is due to allergies, a cold, sinusitis, or another cause. This helps determine the most effective type of medication.


Consider the additional symptoms you're experiencing, such as congestion, sneezing, or sinus pressure. Choose a medication that targets those specific symptoms for comprehensive relief.

Medical History

Be mindful of your medical history and any pre-existing conditions you may have, as some medications may not be suitable for individuals with certain health issues.

Consultation with a Pharmacist or Doctor

If unsure, consult with a pharmacist or doctor who can recommend the most appropriate over-the-counter medication based on your symptoms and health history.

Precautions and Considerations

It's essential to use over-the-counter medications responsibly:

Follow Dosage Instructions: Adhere strictly to the recommended dosages and guidelines provided on the medication packaging.
Avoid Overuse: Prolonged or excessive use of some medications can lead to tolerance or rebound symptoms. Use only as directed.
Monitor Side Effects: Be aware of any adverse reactions and discontinue use if you experience severe side effects. Seek medical attention if necessary.


A runny nose, while a common annoyance, can be effectively managed with the right over-the-counter medications. Depending on the underlying cause and accompanying symptoms, there are various options available, from antihistamines to saline sprays. Always exercise caution, follow dosage instructions, and consult a healthcare professional if needed to ensure you choose the most suitable and effective remedy for your runny nose.