Runny nose on the hill?
QPlease can you tell me why my nose constantly runs when I’m hillwalking in the cold? If you always have a stream of snot pouring out your nose as you’re struggling up a hillside in the autumn and winter it’s likely you have coldinduced rhinitis. This condition, aka skier’s nose, is fairly common, and those with asthma, eczema and hay fever may be more likely to experience it.
The major function of the nose is to warm and humidify the air we breathe in, so it does not irritate cells when it reaches the lungs. When air is cold and you are inhaling more as you exercise, your nose has to work harder. Thus the nerves are stimulated to increase blood flow to the nose, which warms the inhaled air, while the nasal passage is triggered to produce more mucus secretions to moisten the incoming air. Cells in the nose also react to cold, dry air by producing excess liquid. The end result of all this nasal hyperactivity? A whole load of snot!
Treatment for this non-allergenic rhinitis usually involves tissues or a well-executed ‘whale blow’ (plugging one nostril and blowing out the other). Or, you could try a Snot Spot – a soft fabric device that fits over a glove and is used to wipe away incessant cascades of mucus… Yum!