Why does my nose run

The nose is a highly complicated structure that servers a number of purposes for our body, ranging from assisting with the identification of food to helping to protect our body from harmful substances such as foreign objects and various viruses or bacteria. For this reason our nose has a habit of producing copious amounts of liquid known as mucus in any number of cases, ranging from it simply being too cold outside to even working as part of your body to combat an infection. In fact the human nose and sinus cavities produce an average of 1 quart (or approximately 946mL) of mucus each day, not counting other days when our nose goes into “overdrive” to protect our body.

For most people the most common causes of a runny nose on a typical day is due to either foreign objects irritating their sinus cavities (such as in the case of allergies) or due to an infection currently being fought off within the body itself. When this happens due to allergies the nasal cavity becomes stimulated by the various pollens in the air, causing the mucus production glands to activate in order to trap any foreign material that may enter into your body and protect your lungs from damage. This mucus may either run out of the nose itself or become trapped in the sinus cavities found throughout your face, resulting in a “stuffy” feeling. In similar ways the same happens when we fall ill with a cold – the mucus activates to fight off any additional bacteria or viruses that may attempt to enter our body in order to allow our body a greater ability to combat the disease and prevent us from falling even more ill.

Aside from simply fighting off foreign objects and bacteria our nose’s ability to protect our lungs by heating up the external air temperature is also a cause for our nose to run in winter time. When the outside air drops to a sufficient enough level our body activates additional blood vessels in the nose that allow for it to heat up air as it enters our body and protect our lungs from direct exposure. As these vessels expand our mucus production glands activate, causing an excess amount of liquid to drain from our nostrils than we may experience otherwise. For this reason if you wish to avoid having an excessively active nose in the middle of a cold winter be sure to keep your face well insulated, or otherwise be sure to pack additional tissues in order to help keep your sinus cavities clear of any excess mucus buildups.