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Runny nose Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Runny nose. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. When did the runny nose start?

    Why: to determine if acute or chronic.

  2. Is the runny nose unilateral (one-sided) or bilateral (both sided)?

    Why: Unilateral runny nose, especially if pus-like (thick and yellow) suggests acute sinusitis, Wegener's granulomatosis, nose tumor, foreign body and syphilis. Unilateral clear or mucous-like runny nose could be chronic sinusitis. An acute bilateral runny nose suggests upper respiratory tract infection such as the common cold or influenza. A chronic bilateral clear or mucous-like runny nose suggests allergic rhinitis, chronic sinusitis or vasomotor sinusitis.

  3. What type of nasal discharge is it?

    Why: e.g. pus-like discharge suggests acute sinusitis, chronic bacterial sinusitis, Wegener's granulomatosis, nasal tumor, foreign body or syphilis. If the discharge is mucous-like or clear may suggest allergic rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, vasomotor rhinitis, cluster headache, migraine or leakage of cerebrospinal fluid after trauma. If it is a blood-stained discharge must consider nasopharyngeal cancer.

  4. History of head injury?

    Why: may indicate leakage of cerebrospinal fluid through the nose after trauma.

  5. Past medical history?

    Why: e.g. allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, Wegener's granulomatosis.

  6. Medication?

    Why: some medications may induce rhinitis (inflammation of the lining of the nasal cavity) including aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, phenothiazines, oral contraceptives; Rhinitis medicamentosa is inflammation of the nasal passages following overuse of over the counter decongestant nasal drops or sprays.

  7. Known allergies?

    Why: allergic rhinitis or sinusitis may be caused by allergies to tree pollen, grasses, moulds, house dust mite, cat fur, bird feathers or some foods.

  8. Illicit drug use?

    Why: e.g. cocaine and marijuana may induce rhinitis; heroin and methadone withdrawal may cause a runny nose.

  9. Exposure to chemical or environmental irritants?

    Why: e.g. smoke and other noxious fumes, paints and sprays and cosmetics may induce rhinitis.

  10. Travel history?

    Why: e.g. leprosy is found primarily in Asia or Africa.

  11. Fever?

    Why: If associated with runny nose, consider acute sinusitis, acute viral upper respiratory tract infection or Wegener's granulomatosis.

  12. Sneezing?

    Why: suggests allergic rhinitis and sinusitis.

  13. Facial pain?

    Why: suggests acute sinusitis, cluster headache, migraine or nasopharyngeal cancer.

  14. Symptoms of the common cold?

    Why: e.g. tiredness, sore runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, slight fever; sometimes headache, hoarseness and cough.

  15. Symptoms of influenza?

    Why: e.g. fever, chills, headache, generalized muscle aches and pains followed by sore throat, dry cough and runny nose.

  16. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis?

    Why: e.g. sneezing; nasal obstruction and congestion; watery nasal discharge; reduced sense of smell; itchy nose, throat and eyes.

  17. Symptoms of maxillary sinusitis?

    Why: e.g. facial pain and tenderness, toothache, post-nasal drip, nasal obstruction, runny nose, cough, fever, bleeding nose Symptoms of nasopharyngeal cancer? - e.g. facial pain, bloody nasal discharge, cranial nerve palsies.

  18. Symptoms of cluster headaches (migrainous neuralgia)?

    Why: e.g. paroxysmal clusters of severe pain over one side of the eye and head which typically occur nightly, usually 2-3 hours after falling asleep. They occur from 1-3 times a day at regular times like clockwork, last for 15 minutes to 2-3 hours and the clusters last 4-6 weeks. Associated with runny or stuffy nose, runny eye, flushing of forehead and cheek, redness of the eye, vomiting and sometimes droopy eyelid on the same side as the pain.

  19. Symptoms of Wegener's granulomatosis?

    Why: e.g. fever, malaise, aching muscles, weight loss, cough, shortness of breath, pus-like nasal discharge, bleeding nose, sinus facial pain and aching joints.

  20. Symptoms of leprosy?

    Why: e.g. pale skin patches on the face, buttocks, arms and legs; nasal stuffiness, hoarseness of the voice, thinning of the outer part of the eyebrows. May have perforation of the nasal septum with collapse of the cartilage to produce a "saddle nose deformity". With progression of the disease, the typical "lion face" may result due to infiltration of the skin. Leprosy is found primarily in Asia and Africa.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Runny nose:

The following list of conditions have 'Runny nose' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Runny nose or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Runny nose:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Runny nose' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.


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