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Runny and stuffy nose

Runny and stuffy nose

Overview

A runny or stuffy nose can be due to colds, allergies, sinus infections or the flu. When there is an excess of mucus secretions the nose is runny. The additional secretions drain from the front of the nose, or down the back (post-nasal drip). The sensation of a stuffy nose occurs when the membranes that line the nose become swollen from inflamed blood vessels.

Review Date 8/26/2017

Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.