4 Quirky Kid Behaviors That Actually Have Purpose
"My 6-year-old is a squeezer,” says Amanda Ponzar, of Alexandria, Virginia. “He used to squeeze the flabby underarm of every lady he encountered: Me, his grandma, his teachers.” Sometimes he’d accidentally squeeze too hard, or sometimes he’d squeeze a stranger. “I was always apologizing for him, and his father punished him,” says Ponzar. “We didn’t know why he was doing this.”
Erin Haskell’s daughter is a rocker. “Ever since Mollie was 2, she would lie down with her hands clasped together over her chest and rock back and forth for a good 20 minutes before she went to sleep. I didn’t know what to make of it,” says Haskell, of Windham, Maine. “I was worried enough that I brought it up at her well visits until she was 8 years old.”
Me? I’ve got a mouther. I’m always barking at my oldest to take the Lego, the remote, or the random bit of a deconstructed action figure out of his mouth. And he’s not a baby. Far from it. He’s nearing tweendom, and yet, still, Legos in the mouth all the time. Your kid? Maybe she constantly fidgets with her backpack Beanie Boo, or sniffs an old stuffed animal, like, a lot, or spins in circles a little too long for your comfort.
These “quirks” often baffle, irritate, embarrass, and legit worry parents. “Nowadays, if you search ‘rocking back and forth,’ you may land on a website about mental illness. Or you describe a few quirky behaviors on a parenting board, and the next thing you know, a ‘helpful’ mom is diagnosing your kid with autism, sensory-processing disorder, or anxiety,” says Lindsey Biel, a pediatric occupational therapist and coauthor of Raising a Sensory Smart Child. While no one wants to rewind to a time when parents weren’t aware of early symptoms of neurological differences, the pendulum has no doubt bonked a few just-plain-quirky kids as it’s swung to the other extreme.
In fact, up to 70 percent of typically developing kids engage in repetitive and seemingly purposeless movements like leg shaking, nail biting, or hair twirling, according to a 2018 report in the journal Seminars in Pediatric Neurology. And not only are these quirks normal (hello, what adult doesn't do at least one of these things), but kids have them for a reason: They’re a way to self-regulate one’s senses.
“Once you understand why your child is doing what she’s doing and the purpose it serves, you’ll no longer look at it as a quirky habit but as behavior with a purpose,” says Amanda Bennett, M.D., a developmental pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Sucking on Things
“Kids who gravitate toward mouthing, chewing, and sucking may be doing so because their mouth is somewhat undersensitive,” says Biel. In other words, your shirt sucker may have decreased oral sensory sensitivity and require more in-the-mouth input to satisfy that need. “For these kids, it’s likely that this mouthing behavior releases feel-good, soothing neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which help them feel calm, less bored, and more engaged,” explains Biel.
Mouthers are often the same kids who drooled past babyhood, experienced a speech delay, or are messy eaters, says Biel. “They often have trouble mastering precise movements of their lips and mouth because they simply don’t process those tactile sensations as well as other children.”
While these behaviors are generally harmless, you’ll want to brainstorm and redirect if your child’s chewie du jour is a germ fest, a choking hazard, or otherwise harmful. For instance, if thumb or finger sucking continues beyond age 2 to 4, it can affect the shape of a child’s mouth or cause an ortho issue like an overbite, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“When I spot my own 10-year-old daughter chewing a necklace or a pen cap mindlessly while watching TV, I try to remember to hand her a piece of gum—not snap at her to stop,” says Dr. Bennett. “Gum fulfills the same oral need, which is probably why many progressive schools now allow kids to chew gum in class.” Not only is gum chewing a safe alternative for the over-4 set, but the act increases alertness and enhances cognition, according to a study in the Journal of Behavioral and Neuroscience Research.
Rocking and Spinning
While a kiddo who rocks herself to sleep may seem worlds apart from one who spins in circles after a long day of school, she’s not. Both are working hard to jostle the fluid, the hairs, and the tiny calcium-carbonate crystals in their inner ears that make up the vestibular system, which monitors motion and balance, says Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D., clinical director of STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder, in Greenwood Village, Colorado.
Kids who naturally rock, spin, swing, or bounce likely have a vestibular system that requires more movement than most because they have a lower-than-average sensitivity to the stimuli. The key with these quirks? Knowing when enough is enough. “There’s something called an inverted U-curve,” says Dr. Miller. “When a child spins, her arousal goes up and her ability to stay calm and focused improves. That is, until she gets to the top of the curve, when arousal continues to go up but performance goes down.”
Going overboard can bring on both immediate and delayed sensory-overload issues. “It’s important to work with your child, and possibly an occupational therapist, to pinpoint the top of the curve,” says Dr. Miller. For instance, you may want to limit your spinner to one revolution a second for no more than ten revolutions, and then switch directions. “Stopping and restarting benefits kids by giving the most information to their vestibular receptors, which process movement information,” says Biel. It’s also smart to have special toys at home that fulfill your child’s sensory needs, like a hobbyhorse, a rocking Rody rider, a Dizzy Disc Jr., or a Sit ’n Spin.
While Mollie still rocks to settle down for bed (she curbs her quirk on sleepovers), her mom jokingly wonders whether Mollie will be rocking her way into college and beyond. Chances are, she won’t. As rockers and spinners age, their habits often morph too. “One of my young clients was a bouncer and bed roller, and she wound up going to college on an equestrian scholarship,” says Biel. “Like a lot of kids, she turned to athletics that offered her a lot of whole-body sensory input, including stimulation of the vestibular system, deep pressure, and joint compression.” Besides horseback riding, gymnastics and swimming have a similar effect.
My kiddo is also a sniffer. He’s been carrying around a stuffed duck since forever. He snuggles that old bird up to his nose and inhales deep yoga-worthy breaths. Biel isn’t surprised by my son’s continued love of the lovey. “Does he do it when he’s sleepy or when he’s upset?” she asks me. Yes and yes.
“Smell is the one sensory system that connects directly with the limbic system, which is the emotion, memory, and pleasure center of the brain,” says Biel. “It’s all about association, and kids often sniff things that conjure up pleasant memories that they find comforting.”
These soothing smells can simply help a child feel more safe and secure—or relaxed enough to facilitate sleep. And when you think about it, we all have throwback smells that we turn to for an olfactory hug of sorts. “It’s why realtors use the smell of apple pie to help sell homes,” says Biel. “It’s just that some kids are looking for more sensory information than others; they’re hyposensitive and sometimes seek out smells that aren’t traditionally considered comforting, like Play-Doh or crayons.”
“Touching, feeling, squeezing, poking, hair twirling, and all other similar forms of fidgeting generate sensations that feed a child’s hunger for touch—and often his need for a very specific type of small movement as well,” says Dr. Miller. The body releases the feel-good neurotransmitter oxytocin in response to finger and hand tactile-seeking movements, like repeatedly touching a soft tag or gently stroking one’s hair, according to one study in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.
Beyond the calming effect, fidgeting can help kids concentrate too. “We know that all children move more during challenging mental activities than they do during ones that are less challenging,” says Michael J. Kofler, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Florida State University, in Tallahassee. “Children are using small movements to stimulate their brain. For some kids, particularly those with ADHD, the fidgeting helps keep their brain engaged and bolsters working memory.”
However, the once-popular fidget spinner has actually been found to do the opposite. “When kids use fidget spinners in the classroom, they’re actually more distracted,” says Dr. Kofler.
It’s important to find a way to fidget that actually works for your child—without disrupting class. “We were lucky,” recalls Ponzar, mom of the serial arm squeezer. “My son’s preschool teachers took it upon themselves to make homemade squeeze balloons filled with baking soda. They kept them in their apron pockets and handed one to my son when he needed to squeeze.” And his arm squeezing came to a stop—almost.
“Sometimes when he sits in his fuzzy blue bean-bag chair while we’re reading a story, he’ll start to knead my arm again,” says Ponzar. “I’ll say, ‘Let’s get your squeezy balloon,’ and it’s a quick fix. He loves that balloon so much, he sleeps with it under his pillow.”
When A Quirk Is A Bigger Deal
If your child’s behavior interferes with his everyday functioning—say, he’s so bothered by noise that he hates recess or won’t ride the school bus—it could be a sign of a sensory-processing disorder, says Sara O’Rourke, an occupational therapist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in Columbus, Ohio. Kids with the condition can’t respond appropriately to the signals coming from their senses, while those with normal quirks have found a way to self-regulate.
If you’re concerned, talk to your child’s pediatrician, who can refer you to an occupational therapist for strategies. And keep in mind: It’s okay if you’re embarrassed by your child’s quirk.
“That’s a valid feeling that parents experience,” says Dr. Lucy Jane Miller, of STAR Institute. “We want our kids to fit in, and we don’t want others to judge them.” While a quirk itself is likely no biggie to children, one study in the Seminars in Pediatric Neurology found that their frustration mounts when their parents and teachers try to stop their behavior.
So before you do, ask yourself: Is my child embarrassed? If not, and the quirk doesn’t interfere with other aspects of life, ignore it and know that other kids fulfill their sensory needs too. Kind of like how you chew gum instead of putting Legos in your mouth.
dry sniffing habit
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June 14, 2008 1:37 PM Subscribe
posted by bluekrauss to Health & Fitness (19 answers total)
My 13-year-old son is driving us crazy with his constant sniffing. Every half minute or so he sniffs deeply and loudly. This started about 2 weeks ago. The doctor couldn't find anything wrong with him and could only suggest antihistamines- but they aren't working. We've also tried cold medicine but that hasn't worked either. The sniffing is his only symptom, he's not sick or anything like that.
I'm sort of worried because my brother had this same problem as a kid, but for many years. My mother took him to an allergist for shots for years and he still sniffed. (I always thought it was just a nervous habit that he couldn't break.) I'm hoping my son's sniffing doesn't last that long! He doesn't even realize that he's doing it, but it's driving us all bonkers. Any suggestions?
Ask the expert: My daughter's sniffing is driving us daft! please help
Parenting expert, David Coleman has advice on how to tackle a behavioural/vocal tic in a teenager and on whether children sharing a bedroom is a good idea.
Question: Our 13-year-old daughter has a habit of snorting and sniffing every 10 seconds! Everything we read tells us to ignore it but it is driving us daft. She is what you could call a 'worry wart'. Up until a year ago she constantly coughed. We brought her to see several consultants who ruled out any medical cause for the cough. They put it down as habitual. She stopped coughing but started sniffing and snorting. Our understanding is that it is a form of stress relief? We don't want her to feel odd, but should we be going the route of behaviour therapy?
David replies: It certainly sounds like the sniffing and snorting has become a kind of behavioural/vocal tic. Tics are largely unconscious and involuntary movements or sounds.
I think there are a lot of similarities between behaviours like skin-picking, hair-pulling and tics. They all seem to have some neurological component, as if the brain is giving a reflex message to the body.
In my understanding, stopping a behavioural or vocal tic, for the person affected, is akin to you or I trying to stop a sneeze that is tickling the back of our noses. It is so automatic, and like I mentioned, involuntary, that the child cannot seem to prevent it.
You are quite correct that the typical advice, in relation to childhood tics is to ignore them unless they are causing the child some kind of physical harm.
It is interesting that your daughter had a previous habit of coughing, which is another form of vocalisation, and that in managing to stop it (perhaps because of the focus on it due to the trips to see all the doctors) she has simply developed an alternative tic.
That suggests to me that ignoring the sniffing and snorting is unlikely to encourage your daughter to stop, or even to lead to a reduction in the frequency or intensity of this habit.
I wonder if the sniffing or snorting affects any of her friendships? Are other people, outside of your family, as aware or as 'driven daft' by it? Does she even notice herself? Is she ever frustrated or embarrassed by it?
If so, then it is probably worth pursuing some kind of intervention for her. Indeed, more so, if she herself is aware and unhappy about the sniffing or snorting.
As you seem aware of, Habit Reversal Therapy (HRT) is the most effective behavioural approach to reducing tics.
Essentially, HRT requires your daughter to learn to recognise that the tic is about to occur, then to use some competing behaviour or response to block or replace the tic behaviour.
So, for example, with your daughter's sniffing, she might be encouraged to replace it with a long slow breath in through her nose, or a swallow motion (which will disrupt the inward 'sniff' breath).
To achieve this she needs to be fully aware of the actual tic movement. So she needs to see herself doing the sniffing or snorting, in slow motion, in the mirror, so she knows exactly what muscles are involved and then she and the therapist can work out the best, alternative, muscle action to disrupt or replace it.
Once she has her competing response, it is all about practice, practice, practice, to encourage her body to adopt the new muscle action (which should be less noticeable or bothersome) as her new habit.
If your daughter is bothered by her tics then it is well worth seeking some behaviour therapy for her. She may already consider her sniffing to be 'odd', and so getting help for it shouldn't stigmatise her any further.
Finally, you might want to explore more about a relatively new intervention that is being researched in Yale University, looking at the effects of a food supplement, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), which acts as an antioxidant.
I don't fully understand the physiological rationale for NAC, but is has already been shown to help reduce trichotillomania (hair pulling) and so researchers think it might also help with Tourette's Syndrome and tics.
Naturally, you need to discuss NAC, and its appropriateness, with your GP as it is always important to get qualified medical advice before considering new food supplements.
Should I move my baby girl into a bedroom with her older brother or keep them separate?
Question: We have two children, a boy of two and a girl of six months. At this stage our daughter is ready to move out of our room. Should we move her in with her brother or should she have her own room? My instinct is that it would be a good thing to have them to share. My concern, though, is that they will be giddy and keep each other awake, or wake each other up if one is sick etc. Our daughter will soon start crèche and so change is imminent. Would you suggest that I bite the bullet and put them together or keep them separate for the moment?
David replies: Lots of families have no choice about co-sleeping. Necessity and space demand that children share with each other or with their parents. So having a choice about room sharing is a bonus.
Of course given that choice, many parents do choose to settle their child, from day one, in their own room, while other parents celebrate the communality of sharing space during the night.
Indeed the variety of sleeping options that families choose suggests that there can be no absolute right or wrong about where we have our children sleep.
Sleeping alone might allow some children an uninterrupted night, and for others may lead to anxiety in that separation. Sleeping together gives great comfort to some children and leads to disruption and giddiness at settling time for others.
Co-sleeping is not the same as bed-sharing. Co-sleeping is the more general term used to describe when we choose to either sleep in the same room as our children or have them share with each other.
As I explained recently on the radio, I am a fan of co-sleeping. I think we are social beings and family communality breeds security and confidence in children when they are small. As they get older, they tend to look for their own space in any event.
Also, in my experience, children tend not to wake each other during the night, even if one of them is sick or has a nightmare.
The key thing for you to hold onto in coming to your own decision, about your children co-sleeping, is your instinct. You mention that your instinct tells you to have them share a room. I think it is fine to follow that instinct.
It is of course possible that they could, as they get older, chat, giggle and wind each other up at bed-time. However, if your ground-rules and boundaries are clear from the start, by the time they both are at a talking age they should be clear that such messing won't be tolerated.
The key to establishing room sharing, in the early stages, is to stagger the bedtimes.
Depending on the rhythm and routine that your daughter has come to, she may have a regular bedtime.
Even if she doesn't yet, your son probably does, and so you can engineer it that he goes to bed either before his sister or after she is asleep.
Of course if your instinct proves wrong and it is unsettling for either or both of them, you can just change to separate rooms, if space in your house allows.
The issue of the timing of any move for your daughter out of your room, irrespective of whether she goes to her own room or to share with her brother, requires a bit of thought.
It sounds like you are already close to the deadline for returning to work and if it's likely that this bedroom transition will merge with the move into the crèche, it may all end up being too much change for your daughter to get used to easily. Too much change can lead to anxiety.
Anxiety, in turn, can often lead to a disruption in sleep. If her move to sharing a room coincides with starting in the crèche and she ends up with disturbed sleep it may be harder to tell what is the cause of that disruption.
So, on balance, I would suggest leaving her in your room for a few more months until she is well settled in the crèche.
Then you can move her, probably to share with her brother. Stagger the bedtimes to let them settle without disturbing each other and with a bit of luck you may get to enjoy having your bedroom back to yourself!
Habit dry sniffing
Treatment - Tics
Tics do not always need to be treated if they're mild, but treatments are available if they're severe or are interfering with everyday life.
Many tics will eventually go away or improve significantly after a few years. But, if untreated, more severe tics can cause issues such as difficulties at school or social problems.
There are some simple things you can do that may help to improve your or your child's tics.
- avoid stress, anxiety and boredom – for example, try to find a relaxing and enjoyable activity to do (such as sport or a hobby). Read more advice about reducing stress, ways to reduce anxiety and helping an anxious child
- avoid becoming too tired – try to get a good night's sleep whenever possible. Read some good sleep tips and ways to fight tiredness
- try to ignore your child's tic and not talk about it too much – drawing attention to it may make it worse
- do not tell a child off when their tic occurs
- reassure your child that everything's OK and there's no reason for them to feel embarrassed
- let other people you're in regular contact with know about tics, so they're aware of them and know not to react when they occur
If your child is finding school difficult, talk to their teacher about ways of dealing with this. For example, it may help if they're allowed to leave the classroom if their tics are particularly bad.
Similarly, if you have a tic that's making things difficult for you at work, speak to your employer to find out if any help and support is available.
The Tourettes Action website has more information about support available.
Behavioural therapy is often recommended as one of the first treatments for tics.
You may be referred to a specialist psychological treatment service if a doctor feels therapy might help.
One of the main types of therapy for tics is habit reversal therapy. This aims to:
- teach you about your condition
- make you more aware of when your tics occur and identify any urges you feel at the time
- teach you a new response to do when you feel the urge to tic – for example, if your tic involves shrugging your shoulders, you may be taught to stretch your arms until the urge to tic passes
Comprehensive behavioural intervention for tics (CBiT) may also be used. This involves learning a set of behavioural techniques to help reduce tics.
A technique called exposure and response prevention (ERP) is also sometimes used. This aims to help you learn to suppress the feeling you need to tic until it subsides.
These techniques usually require several sessions with a therapist. They work best if you continue using them yourself after treatment finishes.
There are several medicines that can help control tics. Some of the medicines used are outlined below.
Neuroleptics, also called antipsychotics, are the main medicines for tics. They work by altering the effects of the chemicals in the brain that help control body movements.
Examples include risperidone, pimozide and aripiprazole.
Side effects of neuroleptics can include:
Some neuroleptics can have additional effects such as drowsiness, shaking and twitches.
There are also a range of other medicines that may be used to reduce tics and treat associated conditions.
- clonidine – a medicine that can help reduce tics and treat symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at the same time
- clonazepam – a medicine that can help reduce the severity of tics in some people by altering the way certain chemicals in the brain work
- tetrabenazine – a medicine that can reduce tics in people with an underlying condition that causes rapid, repetitive movements, such as Huntington's disease
- botulinum toxin injections – these can be given into particular muscles to relax them and prevent tics, although the effect usually only lasts up to 3 months
These treatments each carry a risk of side effects. Speak to a doctor about this if you have any concerns.
A type of surgery called deep brain stimulation has been used in a few cases of severe Tourette's syndrome.
It involves placing 1 or more electrodes (small metallic discs) in an area of your brain associated with tics.
The electrodes are placed using fine needles passed through small holes in your skull. This is done while you're asleep (under general anaesthetic).
Thin wires run from the electrodes to a pulse generator (a device similar to a pacemaker), which is placed under the skin of your chest. This gives out an electric current to help regulate the signals in your brain and control your tics.
There are still uncertainties about how effective and safe it is, so it is only considered in a small number of adults who have severe tics that have not responded to other treatments.
Page last reviewed: 30 December 2019
Next review due: 30 December 2022
The habit of sniffing in nasal diseases as a cause of secretory otitis media
To clarify the role of habitual sniffing caused by nasal diseases in the pathogenesis of middle ear diseases, 112 pediatric patients with secretory otitis media (183 ears) were examined for associated nasal diseases and habitual sniffing. Middle ear pressure and nasopharyngeal pressure were simultaneously measured during forceful sniffing. Fifty-four percent of the patients with secretory otitis media had allergic rhinitis and/or chronic sinusitis. Sixty percent of the patients with nasal diseases habitually sniffed, whereas only 30.8% of those without nasal diseases had this habit. In the patients with the habit of sniffing, a higher negative pressure tended to be created in the nasopharynx on forceful sniffing than in the patients who did not sniff. Thirty-one of 112 patients (27.7%) were positive on the sniff test. Of these 31 patients, 20 were associated with the habit of sniffing, and in 14 of the 20 patients, nasal diseases were considered to be the primary cause of the habit of sniffing. That is, in 14 of the 112 patients (12.5%) with secretory otitis media, the patients with nasal diseases frequently sniffed and their middle ears were evacuated. This study suggests that in many patients, sniffing provoked by nasal diseases plays an important role in the pathogenesis of secretory otitis media through the creation of negative nasopharyngeal pressure. This mechanism is presumed to be present in approximately one-tenth of pediatric patients with secretory otitis media.
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What Causes Sniffling and How to Stop
There are a few different conditions that can lead to sniffling, including the common cold and allergies. Identifying the underlying cause can help determine the best treatment options.
Read on to learn what may be causing your sniffles and what you can do to make them stop.
The common cold
The runny nose, persistent stuffiness, and postnasal drip of the sniffles are often self-diagnosed as a cold. The common cold is a viral infection that most people recover from in a week to 10 days.
Cold symptoms vary from person to person. Along with the sniffles, symptoms may include:
The rhinoviruses that enter your body through your nose, mouth, or eyes are the most common causes of the common cold.
Although your sniffles may indicate that you have a cold, they could be caused by another condition.
What if it’s not a cold?
If you’ve had the sniffles for weeks, or even months, your runny nose could be caused by a number of conditions.
An allergy is a reaction by your immune system to a foreign substance or food that typically doesn’t cause a reaction in most other people. You might have an allergic reaction to:
Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is a common condition that’s characterized by a runny nose, congestion, and sneezing.
Chronic sinus infections
You’re considered to have chronic sinusitis when your sinuses (the spaces inside your nose and head) stay inflamed and swollen for 3 months or longer, even with treatment.
A toddler’s sniffles may be caused by an obstruction they put up their nose, such as a bead or a raisin. Other blockages, for any age, could be:
- Deviated septum. This is when the cartilage and bone divider in your nasal cavity is crooked or off center.
- Enlarged turbinates (nasal conchae). This is when the passageways that help moisten and warm the air flowing through your nose are too large and block air flow.
- Nasal polyps. These are soft, painless growths on the lining of your sinuses or nasal passages. They are noncancerous but can block the nasal passages.
To clear a stuffed-up nose, people often use over-the-counter (OTC) nasal sprays. According to the Cleveland Clinic, nasal sprays containing oxymetazoline can make congestion symptoms worse over time. They can also be addictive.
Also called vasomotor rhinitis, nonallergic rhinitis doesn’t involve the immune system like allergic rhinitis does. It does, however, have similar symptoms, including runny nose.
Could it be cancer?
According to the , persistent runny nose and nasal congestion could be a sign of nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancers, which are rare. Other symptoms of these cancers may include:
Sometimes, especially in the early stages, people with nasal cavity or paranasal sinus cancer don’t exhibit any of these symptoms. Often, this cancer is diagnosed when treatment is being given for a benign, inflammatory disease, such as sinusitis.
According to the , nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancers are rare, with about 2,000 Americans diagnosed annually.
How to treat the sniffles
Treatment for your sniffles will vary based on the cause.
If you have a cold, the virus will typically run its course in a week to 10 days. Your sniffles should clear up in that time, too. If you need help managing the sniffles to make you more comfortable, there are a variety of OTC medications to treat cold symptoms.
Look for a decongestant medication, which can help to temporarily dry up your sinuses. While these medications won’t treat the sniffles, they’ll offer temporary relief.
You may also try taking a hot shower or bath to help loosen up mucus and help you not to feel as though it’s trapped in your sinuses. Loosening the mucus may temporarily make your nose run more, but it could help provide relief once you’ve cleared out some of the buildup.
If your sniffles don’t respond to OTC or home remedies and last for over a month, visit your doctor for a full diagnosis and treatment recommendation.
If your sniffles are caused by another underlying condition, your doctor may recommend other treatments, including:
- antibiotics, if you have a chronic sinus infection
- antihistamines and decongestants, if you have allergies or allergic rhinitis
- surgery to repair structural problems
- septoplasty to correct a deviated septum
- surgery to remove nasal polyps
Although the sniffles are often thought to be a symptom of the common cold, they could be an indication of another condition, such as:
- chronic sinus infection
- nasal obstruction
- nasal sprays
- nonallergic rhinitis
In rare cases, the sniffles could also indicate nasal cavity or paranasal sinus cancer.
If the congestion and runny nose of your sniffles last for more than a month, see your doctor who might refer you to an otolaryngologist, or ENT, a doctor specializing in ear, nose, and throat.