Why Does Your Nose Run When it is Cold?

Why Does Your Nose Run When it is Cold?
Why Does Your Nose Run When it is Cold? (Image: trailmix1973:photobucket.com)

The condition of a runny nose is known as rhinitis. There are several possible reasons people get a runny nose when it's cold outside. A runny nose can be present with a common cold or may be a sign of a more serious condition such as influenza.

The Nose

Your nose can help you smell and even taste. Another one of its functions is to warm, clean and humidify the air the comes into your body. Your nose and sinuses can produce about a quart of mucus in one day.

Mucus and Fluid

The mucus and fluid that build up in your nose can help keep the respiratory tract moist and also clean. Your nose doesn't always run because a lot of the fluid drains down your throat, is swallowed and goes into the body.


The cilia, or hair, in your nose is responsible for making sure mucous doesn't run to the outside of your nose or move into the back of your throat. However, the cilia freezes when it is cold outside, rendering it incapable of doing its job.

Cold Weather

Your nose runs when the weather is cold because of the temperature difference in your body. The mucus membranes inside your nose heat the cold air coming into your system. When it's cold outside, the air inside your nose is much warmer than the outside air. The steam that results from the heating process begins to mix with the mucus, condense and drip from your nose.


There are some natural ways to help keep a nose from running during the cold weather season. Drinking natural herbal tea can help stop a runny nose. The warmth of the tea can warm up the organs of your body, including parts of your throat and nose. Blowing the mucus out into a tissue can be the quickest fix for a runny nose. This will clear the nasal passage and provide temporary relief from pressure.

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