For more than a year and a half, Joe Nagy’s nose just wouldn’t stop running.
At first he put it down to year-round allergies caused by the Arizona weather.
The condition occurred once or twice a week, especially when he sat up in bed, but within a short time his nose ran constantly.
Eventually, Mr Nagy’s condition became unbearable,’ I got to the point where I had tissues all the time’ he told Fox 10.
He finally went to the doctor to be told his runny nose was far from run-of-mill allergies: his brain was leaking.
The problem would occur on a daily basis. ‘This clear liquid dribbled out of my nose like tears out of your eyes. I go what is this?’
‘I got to the point where I had tissues all the time. My pockets were full of folded-up tissues.’
After realising the allergy medication was having absolutely no effect whatsoever he went sought out medical advice.
A doctor diagnosed the problem fairly soon afterwards. The membrane surrounding Joe’s brain had a hole in it and his brain fluid was leaking out.
‘You don’t really think about it, but our brains are really just above our noses all of the time,’ said Barrow Neurological Institute neurosurgeon Peter Nakaji to KSAZ.
‘This is one of the more common conditions to be missed for a long time… because so many people have runny noses.’
Joe was about to have an operation to patch the hole when he contracted a case of near-deadly meningitis and the brain fluid became infected.
Dr. Nakaji explains that human bodies produce around 12 ounces of brain fluid each day which is enough to keep the brain from drying out and another reason why Joe’s runny nose never stopped.
Doctors advise that if you have a runny nose, to first consult an allergist or an ear, nose and throat specialist.
Brain fluid is different to a runny nose caused by allergies because the liquid is exceptionally clear.
There can be various causes that would set off a leak. Sometimes a past head injury can lead to brain fluid leaking, or it can be caused from complications from a spinal tap or surgery
‘These leaks can be very very tiny, a little like a puncture on a bicycle tire, that sometimes you have trouble even finding where it is.’
Mr Nagy underwent surgery. It didn’t require any cutting into the brain itself. Instead the procedure is carried out through the nose and essentially glue was used to seal up the hole.
‘This is just a bit of cartilage from the nose that we can get to repair over it and then the body will seal it up,’ said Doctor Nakaji.
This week, the gauze was removed by doctors from his nose. Joe began to wait for the dripping to begin.
‘I was waiting for the dribble. This leaking cause I was so used to it every day. I got my hankie. Nothing. It’s never come back.’