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Man’s Perpetually Runny Nose Turns Out To Be Something Much Worse ????

Josh Chapin/Twitter

Greg Phillpotts of North Carolina lived for years with a perpetually runny nose. Doctors told him for five years that the clear liquid leaking out of his nose was a result of a relatively benign condition like allergies, or perhaps pneumonia.

After trying everything he could, Phillpotts finally traveled to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, where he finally got his real diagnosis: he had a cerebrospinal fluid leak. That clear liquid coming from his nose wasn’t mucus at all…it was brain fluid.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes Phillpotts’s condition as an “escape of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord,” caused by a small hole somewhere in the membrane surrounding the brain.

The immediate result of this condition is awkward, unpredictable leakage, as described by Phillpotts:

“You could be anywhere; you could be on the airplane ― you could be anywhere ― you talk to somebody and this thing just drains right out of your face.”

If left untreated, however, the leak can develop into something more serious.

According to Dr. Alfred Iloreta at Mount Sinai:

“Sometimes when you have this leakage of fluid from the brain, it can evolve into what we call an ascending infection. So infection can transmit, or bacteria can transmit, from the nose into the brain, resulting in meningitis.”

Don’t worry too much about brain leakage if you also have a runny nose. Officials at the CDC say cerebrospinal fluid leaks affect only 5 in 100,000 people a year and usually heal on their own, though it’s important to seek attention from a doctor to avoid infection.

Phillpotts received surgery to plug the hole in his cranial membrane, which resulted in an immediate solution to his problem.

Understandably, he was relieved to finally have his nose back:

“You ever been, like, so congested you can’t breathe, and all of a sudden you can breathe again? You know what a relief that was?”

Twitter was glad to hear Phillpotts was feeling better, too.

Many others now have a deeply internalized fear of brain leakage…

It’s unclear what caused the tear in Phillpotts’ membrane. The small openings can occur naturally or may be caused by some sort of head trauma. Regardless, Phillpotts has been stitched up and is now enjoying his first breath of fresh air in more than five years.

H/T – Huffpost, YouTube


Written by Collin Gossel

Collin Gossel is a writer and comedian living in Brooklyn, New York, but there are nights when he looks up at the stars and wistfully thinks to himself “there’s got to be more out there…” You can catch Collin improvising new musicals every Tuesday night at the Magnet Theater’s Musical Megawatt, or follow his unfiltered thoughts on Twitter and Instagram @CollinGossel.--