Your nose is a first line of defense against infectious diseases. If the thin skin inside your nose is dried out, it won't be able to thwart germs from entering your body. Fortunately, the moisture inside your nose helps produce mucus, which like fly paper, literally catches viruses, bacteria and dangerous particles before they enter your airways and lungs. However, there are times when your nose may experience dryness.
Upper Respiratory Infection
While most people associate colds and flu with a runny nose, some viruses may cause nasal passages to dry up. Nasal congestion that accompanies the infection (rhinitis) prevents normal levels of moisture from coating the inside of the nose.
Nasal sprays and oral allergy medications can cause nasal membranes to dry out. Allergy medications or antihistamines often list dry nose and throat as common side effects. Nasal sprays are used for nasal congestion, but a dried out nose or rebound effect may occur when nasal sprays are overused.
One condition called Sjögren's Syndrome causes the drying out of mucous membranes throughout the body. Eyes and nasal and oral tissues may become dry and irritated. This autoimmune disorder usually strikes women over the age of 40.
The air inside the average home is dryer than the Sahara Desert. Your body functions best above 20 percent but below 60 percent humidity. In low to no humidity environments, the nose will lose moisture and dry out.
As women enter menopause their skin changes in various ways. Collagen, a connective component of skin, decreases production and the skin becomes less elastic. Hormonal changes also cause a drying out of mucous membranes in the eyes, mouth, nasal and vaginal tissues.
High Blood Pressure Warning
The inside of your nose may become so dry that the skin cracks and the nose bleeds. However, dry nose accompanied by nose bleeds (posterior nose bleeding) may be an indicator of high blood pressure. This phenomenon occurs in less than 20 percent of those visiting the ER with nose bleeds.
There are several ways to moisturize your nose. Drink more water--about eight 8 oz glasses each day. Or eat fruits, like oranges and watermelon, high in water content. Another way is to use a humidifier at home and at work. If using medications that dry out the nose, use a saline solution nasal spray to keep skin moist. Be sure to moisturize the inside of the nose with a dab of petroleum jelly. If your nose bleeds, talk to your doctor about your blood pressure and any medications that you are taking. Reduce your intake of foods and beverages that dry out mucous membranes (salt, alcohol and caffeine). Finally, exercise. If you run, your nose may run too. The moisture will hydrate the nasal membranes.