Sudden Runny Nose at the Worst Possible Time?

Since my childhood, I always had a runny nose and sneezed quite often. People around me (including myself) thought that I was just one really sick child. My mom would always try to provide me with various remedies from all sorts of cultures, but none seem to work permanently. Temporarily they did help, but some remedies were quite bitter, so I would do whatever it takes to avoid it. As it turned out, I was actually a healthy kid…who happened to have allergic reactions.

This became something I just learned to live with over time. It was no big deal, that is…until I am doing something important like going to interviews, meeting important people, or doing group projects. It just so happens that during those moments (out of the 24 hours of the day), my allergies would decide to act up.

Of all times, why during these times? Couldn’t it have come earlier, later, or not at all?

Why Do Allergic Reactions Even Exist?

Having allergic reactions can be VERY burdensome, but it is actually one of our bodies’ very own defense mechanisms to protect itself. There are times when we may randomly encounter microscopic substances or particles that are hazardous to our health.

Rather than allowing the foreign particles, or allergens, to do its thing and cause harm to our body, our body is sophisticated in that it will go through a series of reactions to try to expel that allergen. We will experience symptoms like sneezing and runny nose.

This is quite an amazing process to see our body in action trying to rid of the allergen that is toxic to our body. Not quite so if the allergen is harmless though.

Sometimes, our immune system is just so sensitive EVEN to certain allergens that are NOT harmful. Still, our body may go through the series of allergic reactions as if it had been exposed to a dangerous agent.

This can be VERY inconvenient especially when in the middle of an important interview or trying to establish good first impressions with someone. Besides runny nose and sneezing, one might even have itchy eyes, rashes, or even hives.

Methods to Avoid Unnecessary Allergic Reactions

There are several ways to try to prevent allergic reactions from occurring spontaneously:

  • Reduce exposure to potential allergens
  • Use air conditioning as opposed to opening windows
  • Use an air purifier to keep indoor air clean
  • Keep the areas you visit often like bedroom cleaned, vacuumed, etc.
  • Pay attention to the weather, avoid staying outdoors on windy days or seasons with high allergens around (i.e. pollen)
  • Avoid long exposure to extreme temperatures
  • Get enough sleep; your immune system may become unstable and act up more often at spontaneous times


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Sometimes it is almost impossible to prevent all allergic reactions from being triggered. Therefore, it is best to be prepared ahead of time. How can we do that? Other than carefully following the steps mentioned above, one can simply carry a small bottle of antihistamine medications!

Whenever you are struck with an allergy attack, you can take 1 tablet of over-the-counter antihistamine medication. This should be able to reduce your allergic reactions significantly for up to 24 hours.

There are different kinds of antihistamine medications to use but the one I like best is Cetirizine (a generic and cheaper brand of Zyrtec).

For some, Loratadine (generic form of Claritin) works as well. These two are great because they do not induce too much of a sleepiness effect (rarely from my experience).



If you DO want that sleepy effect during the night, Diphenhydramine (generic form of Benadryl) is another option.  You will be able to get your sleep. But keep in mind that you will wake up feeling sluggish, foggy-minded, and grouchy in the morning.

These are some of the common over the counter medications you can get.

In addition to medications, there are other health supplies you can get. Especially with COVID-19 around, wearing a mask can offer some protection from certain allergens.

What the Antihistamine Medication Does?

During an allergic reaction, our bodies release substances called histamine. Histamine is a chemical released throughout your body which helps signal various factors like white blood cells, antibodies, and other immune cells to go to the “infected” targeted site.

This can create a lot of pressure at the site. Fluids will rush there which acts as a mode of transportation to allow those cells to get there.

Antihistamine, on the other hand, will work to block histamine from carrying out its “inflammatory” effect. As a result, the allergic reactions are minimized, or hopefully eliminated. All that pressure built up will disappear as well.

Alternatively, you can try a non-medicated way to treat your allergies. It is a super food called Spirulina which has MANY other benefits as well. Find out more about it at

An Emergency Case

In the case that you have been exposed to an allergen that causes you to have difficulty breathing, please dial 911 right away. If you happen to have an Epi-Pen, please use and repeat in about 10 to 15 minutes if symptoms haven’t improved.

Even if you do improve, I HIGHLY recommend still seeking medical care. The relief may only be temporary, and the crisis may return again. If you need Epi-Pens, the only way to get them is through your primary care doctor who will write you a prescription.


Having allergic reactions is not the most convenient of all experiences. There are times when allergic reactions can be beneficial for you (hopefully you have the day off). There are even times when it becomes more of a burden. In the latter case, it is always good to be prepared ahead of time to minimize the allergic reactions. How again? You can carry a bottle of allergy medication around like Cetirizine in your work bag or purse.

In addition, you can wear various personal protective equipment to protect yourself like masks.

In the case that the allergic reaction becomes an emergency and you have a tight airway or difficulty breathing, call 911 and/or use an Epi-Pen. Especially with the time of COVID-19, make sure you also check your temperatures often. Other than that, please always stay safe and hope this helps.

Did you enjoy this life hack on how to control your allergies? Please leave a comment below!

22 thoughts on “Sudden Runny Nose at the Worst Possible Time?”

  1. Hi Mike, 

    This is such a timely article. I got a runny nose this morning and searched for what to do about it. Well, I think your blog explained everything really well, and I thought I must thank u. 

    In the past, just taking steam inhalation has helped me immediately, but this time it seems to be a bad infection. 

    Let’s just hope it isn’t COVID.



    • Hello there, Aparna! Thank you for your comment and I am glad the post helped. I too hope that it is not COVID-19. Please stay safe, take care, and remember to practice good hygiene (6 feet social distancing, mask, hand sanitizing, avoid touching the face, etc.).

  2. The human body is so fascinating to me. I am always amazed at how the body knows how to look after itself.  I use to suffer from hayfever when I was young So I totally understand about the running nose.  I am so glad that I have grown out of it. But there are times I will break out with red swollen and itchy patches all over my body and I do not know why.  Well after reading your post I now know my body is protecting Itself.  Great.  i always keep a bottle of antihistamine close by. I will check out the brands you have listed. Thanks once again. 

    • Hello Jamila, thank you for your comment. The human body truly is fascinating. I am with you on that allergic reactions there, not the most fun thing in the world. I am glad that you have been able to grow out of it for the most part and only experiencing it a few times here and there. That bottle of antihistamine comes in really handy even for me.

  3. I used to have horrible allergies as a kid! I was taking Allegra. I think based on my experience, you have listed some great recommendations that will help anyone with allergies! 

    I like how yoou mentioned sleep too, It’s very important to allow the immune system to take a break.  Thank you for sharing

    • Hello! Thank you for your comment! Allergic reactions are really distracting anytime and anywhere and I too am a victim of it. These strategies have helped me and hoping it helps others with the same struggle too.

  4. Hey I love this! This is very helpful especialy at this time with pandemic and everything. It is very nice of you to care about health of people who follow you and they must apreciate that. Health is always a loving content, and I found in this post very helpful information about runny nose and solutions for that. Thank you!

  5. Hey Mike. Great article. I’m struggling with allergy for years and I’m always looking forward for new tips how to fight it. Now it’s not to bad but during spring I have days sometimes when it’s difficult to function normally. I tried different specifics but unfortunately It always ended with sleepiness during the day.  I’m looking forward to try medicines you recommended, hope it will solve my allergy problem for good. Thank you for your advices.

    • Hello Cogito! Ahh, spring is just around the corner so I am happy you ran into my article to prepare ahead of time. Hmm, the kind you tried might have been Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) which has a very high chance of inducing sleepiness. I highly recommend Cetirizine or Loratadine for allergies to avoid the sleepiness. Rather than checking the front, look in the back for the active ingredients for one of those two. Very rarely do I see someone develop sleepiness from that, I only know of one person in my lifetime who got sleepy from that (and there are A LOT of people I know who use allergy meds too). Hope that helps!

  6. Glad I kept surfing around your website and ran into this useful article because I have a lot of issues with a runny nose and can never seem to find a way to stop it. My seasonal allergies bother me year-long and I have no idea what I should do to alleviate them. Glad I ran into this article and the information you’ve provided

    • Hello there, Misael! Year long seasonal allergies are no fun (I have it also). Hopefully, you’ll have a bottle of antihistamine always nearby to help alleviate it (if the allergies happens to act up).

  7. i really love reading your articles because they are health centered tips to improve the human health conditions. Thank you so much for caring about peoples health. Health is so paramount in everyone’s life. You also do well to provide solution to every problem people face. thank you ones again for this amazing piece of article

    • Hello there Osei! I agree with you that health is paramount in everyone’s life. Hope that the knowledge I share can really help those out there in need.

  8. Wow, Mike I really like your site, yet another really practical page of suggestions.  I agree with you regarding “runny noses”. They can be really inconvenient. You make some great suggestions with regards to keeping the bedroom (s) clean.  The antihistamine is a good idea.  May I make another suggestion?  I have been using spirulina for 5 years now and in that time, it seems to work a bit like a natural antihistamine.  I have not had a runny nose, stuffed nose or for that matter any colds.  You might want to check it out.

    Mike:  To be edited out:  my site whyspirulina (dot) com might be worth checking out on this one. The FAQ page in particular. PS I genuinely like your site & great hacks! PS, if you are interested in backlinks, I would be happy to add a link from my FAQ page, to your site and you could add a link from this article to my Natural Hay Fever page.  pm me if you are interested. My name on the platform is LatinNomad. 

    • Hello there, Trevor! Thank you for your comment. I have heard of spirulina only more recently, its addition to various juices, and how it is very healthy to consume. I will look more into it on your site. We can share backlinks too! My email is

  9. I was also one sick child when I was younger, and now I see that I could have been allergic to quite a few things. Using air purifier may help in the house but not outside. Getting enough sleep could be a good solution, because it improves our immune system which then protects us even when we are outside.

    • Hello there, Clark! It may have possibly been allergies that you had when you were younger. An air purifier can definitely help indoors to remove potential allergens. If your allergies ever act up again, you now have tools at hand to use.

  10. More and more people these days have allergic reactions that you’ve described. I think it would ease their anxiety and pay more attention to a healthy choice of intention, which would strengthen their immune system and cleanse the body of accumulated toxins. It is of great help and the preparations that you have listed, their choice is increasing, so everyone will find the right one for themselves.

  11. I can totally relate to this post, because I’ve had allergies since I was about 11 or 12 years old. I’m 47 now and they still haven’t left me alone. The worst part of it all is that right now, with all the covid panic going on, the last thing anyone needs is to get a sneezing attack in public. When they’re at their worst, I usually take something like Claritin D with the pseudoephedrine in it. That usually works during the day, but I’d never take a stimulant like that at night. Diphenhydramine usually does it at night, but since you mentioned it, I’m thinking I might give Spirulina a try. Very informative article! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Hi there, Mark! Sorry to hear that you still have allergies to this day. You are right about the paranoia that can be instilled in others when one sneezes due to allergies. Medications are truly amazing inventions. When one fully understands the function behind it all, one can also begin to use it to their advantage such as the case with allergies.


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