[Skip to Content]

Why does the cold weather make my nose run?

Runny nose illustrationHaidy Marzouck, MD, an otolaryngologist at Upstate who specializes in sino-nasal allergies, said the answer to why a person's nose runs in cold weather has two components.

Haidy Marzouk, MD

Haidy Marzouk, MD

“It's part of your nose's job to condition the air as it travels to your lungs.

“Part of this conditioning process is to moisturize the air.  Often, in cold weather, the air is dry as well.  As a result, the nose reflexively begins to increase fluid production for this conditioning process.

“When fluid production increases, the nose begins to run.

“Secondly, during exhalation in cold weather, the moisture in the air being exhaled into a colder environment condenses from gas to liquid, usually collecting at the tip of one's nose -- creating an increase in nasal discharge.”

fall2015coverThis article appears in the fall 2015 issue of Upstate Health magazine.