Nose burning after exercise can be caused by various things, including a dry nose, allergic rhinitis or exercise-induced rhinitis. There are several treatment options to allow you to exercise without discomfort, including activity modification, medication and saline sprays.
Why Exercise Causes Nose Burning
Several changes take place in your nose as you exercise. As your heart rate increases, it causes vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels). This increases the nasal volume, allowing more ventilation in your nose and body, according to a September 2019 review in the European Medical Journal.
The environment in which you exercise may cause a dry nose or nostrils burning. 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, due to glandular hypersecretion, reports the above review.
Athletes who exercise outside in an area with pollen and other allergens can experience a burning nose from allergic rhinitis. The Mayo Clinic reports that if you exercise where there's air pollution such as dust, mold, secondhand smoke or strong perfumes, it may trigger "non-allergic" rhinitis.
Hormonal changes during menstruation, certain medications and even viral infections can also cause these symptoms, so it's important to talk to your doctor and determine the cause.
If you experience nose burning after exercise, along with other symptoms, such as watery eyes or a runny nose, you could be experiencing allergic rhinitis, says the Baylor College of Medicine. This is often seasonal, and your doctor can test you to find out what allergens affect you. Allergy medications can provide significant relief.
If you are allergic to pollen at certain times of the year, avoid exercising outside. Move your routine inside during those periods.
Exercise-induced rhinitis is considered non-allergic because its symptoms aren't 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 nose or sneezing, runny nose, nasal itching and congestion, all brought on by exercise.
Treatment for exercise-induced rhinitis may include intranasal corticosteroids, decongestants and antihistamines, reports the 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 are drinking 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. Make sure you clean the humidifier twice a week to prevent mold and bacterial growth.
Read more: Why Cold Weather Running Is the Best
An over-the-counter saline nasal spray can often provide relief for a dry, burning nose. Avoid prolonged use of decongestant sprays, which may contribute to the problem. Saline sprays are generally safe. You can also apply a small amount of water-based moisturizer in your nose for relief, advises Aurora Health Care.
Avoid using petroleum jelly in your nose as it can cause lung issues if it gets into your lungs. If you still want to use it, apply a small amount using a cotton swab.
Is This an Emergency?
- European Medical Journal: "Exercise and Rhinitis in Athletes"
- Mayo Clinic: "Non-Allergic Rhinitis"
- Baylor College of Medicine: "Non-Allergic Perennial Rhinitis: A Family of Disorders"
- Annals of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology: "Exercise Induced Rhinitis: A Prevalent but Elusive Disease"
- Aurora Health Care: "Find Relief From Dry Nostrils. 5 Tips That Work"