Small objects in the nostril (especially in children)
Keep the mucus thin rather than thick and sticky. This helps prevent complications, such as ear and sinus infections, and plugging of your nasal passages. To thin the mucus:
Drink extra fluids.
Increase the humidity in the air with a vaporizer or humidifier.
Use saline nasal sprays.
Antihistamines may reduce the amount of mucus. Be careful, because some antihistamines may make you drowsy. Don't use over-the-counter nasal sprays more often than 3 days on and 3 days off, unless told to by your doctor.
OVERUSE OF ANTIBIOTICS
Many people think that a green or yellow nasal discharge means a bacterial infection, which requires antibiotics. This is NOT true. Colds will often begin with a clear nasal discharge, but after several days it usually turns creamy yellow or green. Colds are caused by viruses, and antibiotics will not help. A green or yellow nasal discharge is not a sign that you need antibiotics.
Call your health care provider if
Drainage is foul smelling, one-sided, or a color other than white or yellow
Linda Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.