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Why is My Nose Running During Cold Weather Runs?


Updated May 19, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: Why is My Nose Running During Cold Weather Runs?

"I love running outside in the winter, but I always get a runny nose when I run in cold weather, even though I'm not sick. Is this normal? Is there anything I can do about my runny nose?"

Answer: It's completely normal for runners to have runny noses while they're running in the winter. In the cold weather, mucus and secretion production increases in your nose to warm and humidify the cold, dry air you're breathing in. In addition, when we're exercising, our nose's mucous membranes produce more mucous than when we're resting. Some of those excess secretions will run out your nose.

Using a bandana or neck gaiter to cover your nose may help warm the air a little before it hits your nose. You can also try to breathe in more through your mouth (which you should be doing anyway). Beyond that, make sure you're prepared with something to deal with the constant dripping. I usually like to run with some tissues in my pocket. A bandana (same one you use to cover your nose), your sleeve, or running gloves could also do the trick. Many running gloves even have a thumb made of different material than the rest of the glove, such as terrycloth, that's intended for wiping a runny nose or sweat on your face.


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