By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A.
You go out for a jog and you’re feeling good. You’re maintaining a good pace and you’re not cramping up. The only problem is, your nose won’t stop running. Isn’t exercise supposed to make you healthier? What is going on?
Why your nose runs when you do
A runny nose during exercise is a somewhat common condition called exercise-induced rhinitis. It affects anywhere between 10 and 20 percent of the population. Not only will your nose run, but you might also experience congestion, sneezing, and itchiness.
What causes exercise-induced rhinitis
The first cause of this condition is probably the most obvious: allergies. If you are allergic to pollen, grass, or other outdoor substances, your body is going to react to them like it always does. But allergens aren’t the only cause. Pollutants can also irritate your nose and trigger the mucus-producing response that prevents these irritants from reaching your lungs.
Also, when you exercise you breathe faster and deeper and take more air into your body. Of course, if you’re drawing more air into your body, you’re also drawing in more allergens and other irritants.
And if you’re exercising in the winter, you may experience it even more. This is because winter air is usually cold and dry. Our noses help warm and humidify the air we breathe, so if the air is dry, it created more mucus to humidify it. If it produces too much, you get a runny nose.
How to treat a runny nose
Prevention is the best medicine, CEENTA ENT doctor Michael Sicard, MD, said. An over-the-counter saline spray can keep your nose moist and minimize mucus production. If you have allergies, make sure you’re taking your medicine regularly. If you’re exercising in the winter, try to keep your face warm so your nose doesn’t need to create more mucus.
If you think you might have allergies but haven’t been tested, make an appointment at CEENTA. If you do have allergies, your doctor can come up with a treatment plan that could help you breathe easier when you work out.
A runny nose while exercising isn’t cause for alarm, but it can be a nuisance. Fortunately, knowing what to do ahead of time can prevent your workouts from being bothersome.
Dr. Sicard practices in CEENTA’s Matthews office. To make an appointment with him or any of CEENTA’s ENT doctors, call 704-295-3000.