A nose that drips like a faucet in winter is business as usual for many people, especially those with chronic allergic or nonallergic rhinitis. It s even got an official diagnosis:, or skier s nose. In a study in the journal
Annals of Allergy, researchers found that 96 percent of people polled reported experiencing some degree of the condition, and 48 percent reported having a more moderate or severe case. Apparently, getting a runny nose when we step out into a chilly winter breeze is a bodily defense mechanism, according to Murray Grossan, MD, of the. That s because the nose has two main purposes: 1) to filter bacteria so they don t reach our lungs, and 2) to warm the air before it reaches our lungs. In cold weather the cilia, the tiny oars that move mucus along, are slowed, explains Dr. Grossan, who is also author of The Whole Body Approach to Allergy and Sinus Relief. When cilia slow, bacteria remain in place and multiply, and this is why people get sick in the winter.
Not that the nose isn t trying to keep you healthy. All that dripping you experience is the nose working overtime to produce more fluids to help move bacteria along. Dr. Grossan says to help it out, try physically warming your nose when you come inside: Rub your hands together, and then breathe into cupped hands or inhale steam from hot green tea and drink it, as green tea stimulates cilia. Our nose runs in winter for one more purpose, which is to combat the drier outside (and inside) air. It needs to humidify the air we breathe in, which is done by the mucus and various secretions in our nasal cavity, says Ehsan Ali, MD, of in California. In winter, or when it s cold outside, the air is much drier than in the summer, which is more humid. Our noses respond by producing more secretions and mucus to help humidify the air to a level our bodies need. When there s a lot of fluid being produced, that s when it starts to run out of the end of your nose. (Related: Check out the surprising reasons you have. ) More: About get a runny nose when it\’s cold.
We call this \”cold-induced rhinitis\”, or \” \”. People with asthma, eczema and hay fever seem to experience it more. It\’s the job of your nose to make the air you breathe in warm and wet so that when it gets to your lungs it. , the air in the back of the nose is usually about 26ВC (79ВF), but can be as high as 30ВC (86ВF). And the humidity of air at the back of the nose is usually around 100 percent, irrespective of how cold the air is we\’re breathing in. This shows the nose is very effective at making sure the air we breath becomes warm and wet before it reaches the lungs. So how does it do this? Cold, dry air stimulates the nerves inside your nose, which send a message through your nerves to your brain. Your brain then responds to this impulse by increasing the blood flow to the nose, and these dilated blood vessels warm the air passing over them. Secondly, the nose is triggered to via the mucous glands in order to provide the moisture to humidify the air coming through.
The cold, dry air also stimulates cells of your immune system (called \”mast cells\”) in your nose. These cells in your nose to make the air more moist. up to 300-400 mL (10-13. 5 fl ounces) of fluid daily through your nose as it performs this function. Heat and water loss are closely related: heating the air in the nasal cavities means the lining of the nasal cavity (mucosa) becomes cooler than core body temperature; at the same time, water evaporates (becomes vapour) to make the air moist. Water evaporation, which requires large amounts of heat, takes heat from the nose, thus making it cooler. In response, the blood flow to the nose increases further, as the task of warming the air that\’s breathed in takes precedence over heat loss from the nose (the is to shunt blood away from the surface to the deep vessels to minimise heat loss from the skin).
So it\’s a difficult balancing act to achieve the correct amount of heat and moisture lost from the nose. When the compensatory mechanism is a little too overactive, moisture in excess of that needed to humidify this cold, dry air will drip from the nostrils. Mast cells are usually more sensitive in people with asthma and allergies, and blood vessel changes more reactive in those who are sensitive to environmental irritants and temperature changes. So nasal congestion and even sneezing can be triggered by the cold air. Treatment is usually simply to carry some tissues or a handkerchief. Although the use of anticholinergic (blocks nerve impulses) and anti-inflammatory nasal sprays such as Atropine and Ipratropium. [This article answers a question from Sonja Dominik – Why does your nose run when it\’s cold? It seems counterintuitive. ], Senior Lecturer,. Medical student Caitlin Saunders also contributed to this article. This article was originally published byВ. Read the.