Why Do I Get A Runny Nose While Running?

Everybody gets runny noses at various times due to having a cold or the flu, and we all know how annoying this can be. Imagine how annoying it would be if you were out running 10 or 20 miles with your running buddy and your nose ran continuously. I will now look at why I get a runny nose while running.

Why Do I Get A Runny Nose While Running?

Many runners suffer from continuous runny noses while they are running. A runny nose is caused by the inflammation of the lining of the nose. This mucus membrane swelling can produce various effects, including a runny nose, watery eyes, and congestion. The reason runners get a runny nose while running is exercise-induced rhinitis (EIR), and it’s a lot like allergic rhinitis, also called hay fever or nasal allergies. A good workout can trigger allergy symptoms, congestion, sneezing, and runny nose for people with EIR.

Causes Of Exercise-Induced Rhinitis

There are a few causes of EIR.

Exposure to more allergens – as you breathe deeper and faster when running, you allow more allergens to enter your body, causing rhinitis.

Nose filters air – when running your nose, acting as an air filter is working extremely hard as we breathe harder, resulting in inflammation of the nasal passage and causing a runny nose.

Chemical fumes – chemical fumes can irritate your nasal passages.

Cold air can also cause a runny nose by activating nerves in the nose to stimulate the lining of the nose to produce mucus.

Treatments of Exercise-Induced Rhinitis

We will now look at the various treatments for the causes of rhinitis.

  • Change behavior – if we know what specific allergies are causing your rhinitis, we must reduce our exposure. This may mean we have to spend much more time running on the treadmill than outside.
  • Medications – people can use various over-the-counter medications to help with symptoms. These include antihistamines and decongestants. Typical antihistamines include  Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra. Antihistamines are mainly taken orally as a tablet. Decongestants are generally taken either orally or applied using a nasal spray as they help to alleviate nasal congestion. Some people take both together, and it generally takes a while to figure out which medication will work best for you.
  • Natural Remedies: People use many natural remedies at home to help relieve their runny noses.
      • Drink plenty, as it is essential to stay properly hydrated. This thins out the mucus consistency rather than suffering from congestion. Just be careful which liquid you drink, as alcohol and coffee dehydrate rather than hydrate the body.
      • Hot Tea, due to the heat and steam, may help open the airways. Herbal teas such as camomile and ginger contain anti-inflammatory and antihistamine herbs which are much better than any other teas.
      • Humidifiers and air purifiers help improve the air quality, which should eliminate most of the allergies in the air, thus helping to relieve runny noses.
      • Facial steam can help relieve a runny nose by loosening the mucus. We do this by placing our face around 10 inches over a basin that contains steaming water, not boiling for around 5 minutes a few times a day until our runny nose improves. We can also add essential oils such as tea tree and eucalyptus to the water, which will help relieve decongestion.
      • Hot showers can give instant relief if we place our heads in the hot steam and spray, which helps relieve the runny nose.
      • A saline nasal spray is a natural nasal spray to rinse the nose.
      • Spicy food can make your nose run more, but if it is blocked, it will help unblock the nose.
      • A hot compress will help runny nose. We place a warm compress across our forehead for about 20 minutes a few times a day.
      • Menthol rub will help clear a runny nose by rubbing the menthol under the nose. This will allow us to breathe better, relieving congestion.
      • A Netti pot is a device that looks like a small teapot. People use it to flush out the nose and sinuses. netti pot

    To use a neti pot, a person should lean over the sink, tilt their head sideways, and pour water from the pot into one nostril until the pot is empty. If done right, the water will be released from the opposite nostril. The person should then refill the pot and repeat the process on the other side.

Final Thoughts

We have looked at why we get a runny nose while running and why this might be happening to us when we run. There are various treatments for exercised-induced rhinitis, home remedies, and OTC treatments. So the next time you see somebody snotting while out running, they can’t help it.

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