Pulmonary Fibrosis News Forums Forums Welcome Lounge Stopping a Runny Nose When Using Supplemental Oxygen

  • Stopping a Runny Nose When Using Supplemental Oxygen

    Posted by Charlene Marshall on May 16, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    Recently a few members of this forum, and our other social media platforms such as Facebook, have been asking about how to stop the constant runny nose that can sometimes be associated with using supplemental oxygen. This can certainly be an unpleasant side effect for many patients living with pulmonary fibrosis (PF), although a necessity when we rely on using supplemental oxygen to breathe.

    If you experience this as a patient living with PF, do you have any tips & tricks on how to help stop a constant runny nose while using supplemental oxygen?

    One kind member of our forums took the time to share a tip that she received from another PF warrior that seemed to help with this side effect. She mentioned using a cannula with shorter and wider prongs. More specifically, she said that the Salter Labs ref. 1600-7 with 7ft tubing was helpful in stopping the constantly runny nose she had about 80% of the time.

    I’m so thankful for all the kind support that takes place on these forums, and would love to hear from you if you have any additional tips and tricks that has helped reduce or eliminate this unpleasant side effect of using supplemental oxygen.

    Thanks in advance for sharing!

    ron-johnson replied 1 year, 11 months ago 11 Members · 16 Replies
  • 16 Replies
  • jay-turbes-s

    May 17, 2018 at 10:31 am

    We use the Salter “high-flow” (1600HF-7), but not because it reduces runniness but because it has proven quieter at night running 6L/min. Again, anecdotal. There’s still runniness, and I’d suspect anyone with the concentrator’s optional in-line humidifier flask would have the runniness problem as well.  We tried it for O2 that was drying out the nasal area but it just got messy so we stopped it. Even with the high-flow cannula, morning runniness is pretty heavy and aggravates coughing.  During the day, things are pretty good.

    • stevel

      July 28, 2023 at 10:04 am

      I usually have bad runny nose when eating

      Any suggestions

  • Charlene Marshall

    May 17, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    Hi Jay,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to contribute your experience to this thread! I am sure it will help others who struggle with nighttime noise, as well as runniness from their current cannulas. Some people have mentioned that sleeping on a wedge pillow, where their shoulders and upper back are propped up and they said this helped reduce coughing in the morning. I’m not sure if that was due to a reduction in runniness as well though, but something to consider if it is a struggle for you. I haven’t done this yet, but it is on my “to-do” list to look into a proper foam wedge to support a more up-right position when sleeping, even if only to reduce the cough.

    Thanks again and take care,

  • patricia-williams

    January 24, 2020 at 11:19 am

    Thank you for tips on the runny nose issue. It is driving me nuts. I recently had to buy a new mattress so I bought an electric bed (for down the road, way down I hope) and I am going to try that tonight. God bless us all. Charlene, I hope you are doing better. I have not checked in for awhile.

  • Charlene Marshall

    January 28, 2020 at 9:46 am


    Hi Patricia,

    So sorry to hear of your struggles with the runny nose – this is awful, especially when you’re dealing with an oxygen cannula as well. Did the new mattress help at all? Hopefully you’ve given it a try and you feel a little better. Thank you for writing and for your kind words re: my recovery. It is slow, but going okay. I learnt the hard way this winter how detrimental catching a cold/flu can be for those of us with IPF. I start an intensive rehab program next Monday in hopes of trying to recover some of my lost lung function. Thanks for asking about me, and I also hope you’re doing okay….

  • donna-murray

    January 28, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    My sister Marsha is the one with IPF; I use supplemental oxygen (especially at night) for COPD.  I have had a terrible problem with runny nose, being able to go through an entire box of tissues in one day.  My pulmonologist prescribed a nasal spray for me, Azelastine HCL 0.1%.  It seems to help.

  • Charlene Marshall

    January 28, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    Hi Donna,

    Nice to hear from you again! I’m so glad to hear the nasal spray seems to be effective to stop the runny nose, though sorry you have to deal with that. I know how awful it can be, especially with nasal cannulas in! I wonder if an elevated bed, similar to what Patricia wrote about, might help you? Maybe something to consider trying even with pillows for now. Goodluck with finding some relief. Thanks for writing!

  • kate-e

    December 1, 2020 at 9:03 am

    I know this is an older thread, but I’ve started to experience the constantly runny nose due to using oxygen 24/7. It’s really, really annoying and embarrassing, too. Just wondering if anyone ever tries things the OTC Claritin or Zyrtec to dry things up, even if it isn’t due to allergies??


  • Charlene Marshall

    December 1, 2020 at 9:56 am

    Hi Kate,

    Hmmm, I’ve not experienced the runny nose from 02 use, aside from when I have a cold. Sorry I can’t provide any insight on this topic, but I’d be curious if others can and what options help them! Thanks for bringing this up Kate, I’m sure others experience it too.

  • jims

    December 1, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    I use a Netti pot and saline spray to minimize a runny nose. Helps immeasurably if you know how to breath saline into the sinuses…Jimbo

    • kate-e

      December 1, 2020 at 10:08 pm

      Thank you, Jimbo. I have used a neti pot in the past, and I will try it again. Thanks so much for responding.



  • judy-fraser

    December 1, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    My lung doctor prescribed Ipratropium Bromide nasal spray, which I understand is generic for Atrovent. This has nearly stopped my runny nose and made it much easier to use oxygen.

    • kate-e

      December 1, 2020 at 10:03 pm

      Judy, thank you so much for responding. I spoke with a pharmacist today about this problem, and that’s exactly what he recommended. I really appreciate hearing from you that it works for you. I will get it prescribed soon and hope that it does the trick.

      • ron-johnson

        December 9, 2021 at 3:49 pm

        I was going to mention the same prescription as I just started it a few days ago. Previously my nose would start running as soon as I put on the cannula during the day. With this spray the problem has improved substantially with almost no nasal flow, even when eating.

  • sue-freed

    September 2, 2021 at 10:00 am

    My question is related, and I’m wondering if anyone else has a constantly runny nose (with or without  oxygen) and voice changes.  It’s  to the point I can’t always be understood.


    • charles-dean

      September 20, 2021 at 1:17 pm

      Good morning Sue.

      I have had this problem for over a year and used different sprays and stuff but nothing seems to help. Thought I would give this a try for the runny nose (Ipratropium Atrovent) I also found when I go to bed if I wear nasal strips that my runny noise stops and does open the passages but the minute I set up here comes the water works. I have tried wearing the strips during the day but does not seem to work.

  • mary-tebbutt

    October 9, 2021 at 10:42 am

    Hi there,

    I suffer badly from ‘the runny nose’. My GP prescribed ipratropium bromide and it worked. HOWEVER, my Consultant said to use it sparingly as it can destroy the nose lining. This frightened the life out of me so I only use it at times I have to spend time with others. It can be a huge aggravation.
    Mary Tebbutt

  • mike-monson

    October 12, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    I also have an electric bed that allows me to sleep elevated and I have no issues with runny nose. My problem has been dry nostrils. I have IPF and I’m on 2 liters of oxygen at night.


Log in to reply.