Can You Have Surgery with a Runny Nose? The Answer May Surprise you

Have you ever wondered if can you have surgery with a runny nose? It may seem like an odd question, but it’s actually something that many medical professionals have to consider when scheduling surgeries. As it turns out, the answer isn’t as simple as “yes” or “no.” 

In this blog post, we will explore whether or not you can have surgery with a runny nose. We will look at the risks associated with performing surgery on someone with a runny nose and discuss what steps need to be taken in order to ensure a safe and successful surgery.

What is a Runny Nose?

A runny nose, also known as rhinorrhea, is a common condition in which the nasal passages produce an excessive amount of mucus. This excess mucus flows continuously from the nostrils, leading to a runny nose

A runny nose can be a symptom of various conditions, such as:

  • Common cold
  • Flu
  • Allergies
  • Sinusitis
  • Other respiratory infections
can you have surgery with a runny nose
Runny Nose

The excessive production of mucus can be triggered by a range of factors, including:

  • Irritants in the air
  • Changes in temperature
  • Exposure to allergens
  • A side effect of certain medications
  • Symptoms of a more serious underlying condition, such as a sinus infection or a nasal polyp

A runny nose can cause discomfort, and inconvenience, and interfere with daily activities. However, it is generally a temporary condition that can be treated with over-the-counter medications, home remedies, and proper self-care.

Causes of a Runny Nose

A runny nose is often caused by allergies, colds, or the flu. There may be the following causes:

  • Common cold
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Allergies
  • Sinusitis
  • Respiratory infections (such as the flu)
  • Exposure to irritants (such as dust, smoke, or strong odors)
  • Changes in temperature (such as going from a warm to a cold environment)
  • Hormonal changes (such as during pregnancy)
  • Certain medications (such as blood pressure or depression medications)
  • Structural problems in the nasal passages (such as nasal polyps)

When to see a Doctor for a Runny Nose

You should see a doctor when:

  • Your runny nose lasts longer than 10 days
  • You experience other symptoms, such as severe headache, fever, or facial pain
  • You have difficulty breathing through your nose
  • You experience sudden, severe, or continuous nasal bleeding
  • Your symptoms are interfering with your daily activities
  • You have a weakened immune system
  • You have underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.
When to see a Doctor for a Runny Nose
Difficulty in Breathing

Can You have Surgery with a Runny Nose

Having surgery with a runny nose can depend on the type of surgery and the cause of the runny nose. If the runny nose is due to a cold or flu, it may be recommended to delay the surgery until the infection has cleared up.

However, if the runny nose is due to a more chronic condition, such as allergies or sinusitis, surgery may still be possible. Before undergoing surgery, it is important to inform the doctor about the presence of any symptoms, including a runny nose, to ensure that they can take the necessary precautions and make proper arrangements.

The doctor may also advise on any preoperative measures, such as taking medications to manage symptoms or reducing exposure to allergens. Ultimately, the decision on whether to proceed with surgery with a runny nose should be made by a healthcare professional based on a thorough evaluation of the individual’s health and specific circumstances.

Recovery from Surgery

Recovering from surgery with a runny nose can present some additional challenges. Here are some tips for managing a runny nose during recovery from surgery:

  • Follow the postoperative instructions from the doctor and inform them of any symptoms, including a runny nose.
  • Practice good hygiene, such as frequently washing your hands, to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Use over-the-counter decongestants or nasal sprays as directed by the doctor to manage symptoms.
  • Avoid blowing your nose too hard or too frequently, as this can irritate the surgical site and slow down the healing process.
  • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids to thin out mucus and prevent dehydration.
  • Avoid exposure to irritants, such as dust, smoke, or strong odors, that can worsen symptoms.
  • Get plenty of rest and sleep, as a runny nose can be draining and interfere with recovery.
  • Report any unusual symptoms or complications to the doctor promptly, such as persistent or worsening pain, redness, or discharge from the surgical site.
When to see a Doctor for a Runny Nose
Good Hygiene

Alternatives to Surgery

There are a few alternatives to surgery that can be considered when treating a runny nose. One option is to use a nasal spray. This can help to clear the nasal passages and reduce the amount of mucus that is produced. 

Another option is to use an oral decongestant. This can help to reduce the swelling in the nasal passages and make it easier to breathe

Lastly, you may want to try a saline rinse. This can help to flush out the nasal passages and reduce the amount of mucus that is present.


It is important to note that having a runny nose should not be an impediment to receiving medical care, including surgery. However, if your surgeon has expressed any concerns about the safety of proceeding with your procedure while you have a cold or other illness, it is best to follow their recommendation and wait until your symptoms subside before scheduling any surgical procedures. By taking these precautions, you can ensure that you receive the highest quality of care and remain safe throughout the process.

When to see a Doctor for a Runny Nose


Does Teething Cause Runny Noses?

Many parents wonder if teething can cause runny noses in babies. While it is true that teething can cause an increase in saliva and mucus production, there is no evidence to suggest that it causes runny noses

However, if your baby has a cold or allergies, their runny nose may worsen when they are also teething. If you are concerned about your baby’s runny nose, please consult with your pediatrician.

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