Why does my nose run when I run in cold weather?

Immediately following a run last weekend with my son and daughter, my son asked, "Why does my nose run when I run in cold weather?"  It's an answer I should know.  I grew up in Ohio and ran in college at Michigan.  I've been dealing with cold weather running snot (sorry, Mom) for decades!  But, alas, I had to deal a blow (pun intended) to my "Dad knows all" image by answering, "I don't know.  Let's Google it."  Google immediately replied with an answer from www.everydayhealth.com that we all found very interesting.  So, I thought I'd share it:

"Our noses warm and humidify — add moisture to — the air we breathe as it travels down into the lungs. So when you inhale cold, dry air, the moist tissue inside the nose automatically increases fluid production to do its job of protecting sensitive lung tissue. But when there's too much fluid, the excess tends to drip out, creating a runny nose.

Winter has other effects that make it more likely you’ll have a runny nose. Cold temperatures can cause the small water droplets inside the moist nose to join together, forming big, heavy drops of water that can also drip from your nostrils. And cold air also speeds up mucus production."

Now, when your kids ask you that question, you can maintain your image as an all-knowing parent.  It's too late for me.

David Spetnagel, Owner, Fleet Feet St. Louis


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