What to know

Runny Nose and Cold Weather

Why cold and dry air gives you a runny nose

As much as 90% of people get a runny nose when it is cold outside, but have you ever wondered why?

Also known as rhinorrhea, there are many reason behind a runny nose. While people who suffer from chronic conditions like asthma, eczema and hay fever experience it more often, nearly everyone will have a runny nose in the cold.

This phenomenon has more to do with the main function of your nose rather than the temperature itself.

Runny nose illustration

Runny nose illustration.

It’s you nose’s job to make sure that the air you breathe in is both warm and moist so it doesn’t irritate cells as it makes way to your lungs.

Regardless of outer temperatures, the air in the back of your nose is usually at 26 degrees Celsius, even up to 30 sometimes. When it comes to the humidity, it’s always close to 100%, no matter how cold or warm the air you’re breathing in is.

But that still doesn’t answer our question, why do you get a runny nose when it is cold?

When cold and/or dry air enters your nose, it stimulates the nerves inside. These nerves send messages to the brain, which responds by increasing blood flow to your nose. The dilated blood vessels warm the air as it passes through your nasal passages.

Also, the nose reacts by producing more secretion through its mucous glands to provide the extra moisture needed to humidify the dry air.

There you have it, mucous is nothing to hate. It is the only reason you are being able to breathe well.

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