Because of airbags and other vehicle safety features, many individuals walk away from serious car accidents. Still, every single year, an estimated 4.4 million Americans suffer severe enough injuries in crashes to need emergency medical treatment.
While many accident-related injuries are easy to spot, others have delayed or minor symptoms. Even if your accident happened in the middle of cold and flu season or you have seasonal allergies, you should not ignore a runny nose after a car accident.
The possibility of a cerebrospinal fluid leak
A runny nose may be a symptom of a cerebrospinal fluid leak. Cerebrospinal fluid is a waterlike substance that provides nutrients and support to your brain and spinal cord. During a crash, you may tear the delicate membrane that holds cerebrospinal fluid in place. If this happens, fluid may drip from your nose.
The urgency of a diagnosis
Like with many other injuries, early diagnosis is critical with cerebrospinal fluid leaks. After all, if you have one, your brain may not receive the nutrients and support it needs to remain healthy. You may also be vulnerable to developing a potentially deadly brain or spinal cord infection. Consequently, you want doctors to begin treating you as quickly as possible.
The benefit of persistence
Because cerebrospinal fluid leaks often look like normal runny noses, doctors may initially misdiagnose your condition. Therefore, it is important for you to explain your symptoms and your car accident to each doctor you see. If you believe you are not receiving the correct diagnosis or treatment, you may need a second opinion.
Ultimately, because you do not want to risk the health of your brain or spinal cord, you should go to the emergency room even if your symptoms appear to be minor.