Why runny nose when it is cold

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Doctor Tran Thi Phuong Thao, Department of Examination, Hospital of University of Medicine and Pharmacy, HCM City campus 3, said that when the weather gets cold, about 50 to 90% of people have a runny or clear runny nose. This is called cold rhinitis or "snowboarder's nose".

According to Dr. Thao, the human nasal and sinus system is designed to warm and moisten the air before it reaches the lungs. This prevents the lungs and throat from being irritated by the air that's colder than body temperature. For example, if the air temperature is below 0 ° C, after passing the nose, the air is usually around 26 ° C to 30 ° C. And the humidity of the air after passing through the nose is about 100%, no matter how cold the air we are breathing in.

Specifically, having dry and cold air, the nerves inside the nose increase blood flow to the nose, the blood vessels dilate and warm the passing air. At the same time, cells of the immune system (mast) activate the mucous glands, producing more fluid mucus, moistening the air. It is estimated that each person can lose up to 300 to 400 ml of fluid per day through their nose when it performs this function.

This is a good physiological response of the body, in response to the changing environment. But when the compensation mechanism is too active, the excess water needs to runny, said Dr. Thao.

In people with asthma, eczema, and allergies, those sensitive to environmental stimulants and temperature changes, mast cells are often more sensitive, and vascular dilatation changes are more reactive.. Therefore, the runny nose symptoms are more likely to occur in this group. In addition, cold air can cause a stuffy nose and sneeze.

To prevent runny nose, the doctor advises people in cold areas to proactively keep their nose and mouth warm with a towel when outdoors. Breathing through a towel will warm, provide moisture to the air between the face and the towel, and help limit the effects of dry cold air on the nose.

When at home, it's best to run a humidifier or use a saline nasal spray to keep your nasal passages moist without producing too much mucus. Decongestants should not be used often. This is because the medicine stops mucus build-up in the short term and can cause more runny nose after the nasal spray stops working.

With traditional medicine, herbs that are spicy, warm and have essential oils such as perilla, ginger, mint, angelica, cinnamon ... are effective in treating runny symptoms.

Doctor Thao instructs how to make ginger tea with 10 grams of ginger, 10 to 15 grams of brown sugar as follows: cut ginger into slices and put in boiling water, cover with low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Add brown sugar later. Drink while still hot.

In addition, exercises such as rubbing the nose, acupressure, acupuncture help blood circulation in the nasal area, adapting the body to sudden temperature changes, exercise, nourishment to improve the resistance. Part that reduces runny nose, sneezing when cold.

"If the runny nose is persistent, the runny nose is thick and colored, you may have respiratory diseases, such as allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, acute rhinitis. At this time, the patient needs to go to the facility. medical care to be properly diagnosed and treated ", Dr. Thao said.

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