Why Do My Nostrils Burn After Exercise?

Staying hydrated can keep your nasal passages happy after a workout.
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A burning sensation inside your nose after exercise can be caused by various things, including a dry nose, allergy-related stuffiness or exercise-induced congestion. This feeling can range from a slight nose tingling to an intense burning post-exercise inside your nostrils.


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Read on to learn why you may be feeling discomfort, including several treatment options, like activity modification, medication and saline sprays.

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Why Exercise Causes a Nose-Burning Sensation

Several thinkgs take place in your nose as you exercise. As your heart rate increases, it causes vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels). This increases your nasal volume, allowing more air in your nose and body, according to a September 2019 review in the ​European Medical Journal.


The environment may cause extra dryness in your nose, which can feel like burning nostrils. Those who exercise in a cold environment, like hockey players or snowboarders, or those who run outside in the cold, are more likely to face symptoms, including a burning or runny nose, according to the above-mentioned review.


Athletes who exercise outside in a high-pollen or high-allergen area may experience a burning nose from allergic rhinitis (aka allergy-induced stuffiness). Those who train in areas with high air pollution, including dust, mold, secondhand smoke or strong perfumes, may experience non-allergic rhinitis, too, according to the Mayo Clinic.


Hormonal changes during menstruation, certain medications and even viral infections can also cause these symptoms, so it's important to talk to your doctor to determine the cause.

Exercise-Induced Rhinitis

If you experience nose burning after exercise, along with other symptoms, such as watery eyes or a runny nose, you may be experiencing allergic rhinitis, according to the Baylor College of Medicine. This is often seasonal, and your doctor can test to find out what allergens affect you most. They may even prescribe allergy medications for quick relief.

If you are allergic to pollen at certain times of the year, tweak your workout and avoid exercising outside.

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Exercise-induced rhinitis is considered non-allergic because its symptoms aren't technically caused by allergens in the environment. Instead, they are triggered by exercise, according to a November 2018 case study in the journal ​Annals of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology​. The inflammation in your nasal passages may result in burning nostrils or sneezing, runny nose, nasal itching and congestion, all induced by exercise.

Treatment for exercise-induced rhinitis may include intranasal corticosteroids, decongestants and antihistamines, reports the above-mentioned study. If you're swimming, wearing a nose clip could help ameliorate your symptoms as well. As the researchers note, these medicinal treatments may have side effects, such as drowsiness, which can interfere with your workout routine.

Dry Nose Relief

Allergies, sinus issues or a change in weather can cause a burning, dry nose after exercise, says Aurora Health Care. Make sure you drink plenty of water before and after you exercise to keep yourself hydrated. Avoid any beverages with too much sugar as this can dehydrate you more.

Consider using a humidifier in your bedroom at night during the cold winter months to keep moisture in the air. This can help prevent your nose from drying out which often minimizes unpleasant nostril burning sensations during or after exercise. Make sure you clean your humidifier twice a week to prevent mold and bacterial growth.

Over-the-counter saline nasal sprays are generally safe and can often provide relief for a dry, burning nose. Avoid prolonged use of decongestant sprays, which may contribute to the problem. You can also apply a small amount of water-based moisturizer in your nose for relief, advises Aurora Health Care.

When the inside of your nose burns, it can be tempting to treat it with moisturizing jelly or lotion inside your nostrils. Avoid using petroleum jelly in your nose as it can cause respiratory issues if it gets into your lungs.

Saline Sprays to Try



Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.