Runny Nose Medical Course
THIS Is Why Your Nose Won’t Stop Running During Winter Workouts
Before Your Run: Humidify
The night before a chilly al fresco run, bust out your humidifier and leave it on while you sleep. “This will keep the membranes moist so that they will be healthier before going out into the cold, dry air,” explains Stark. And if you forget to turn it on overnight, you can still use it an hour or two before your run.
While there’s no hard data supporting the benefits of humidifying immediately before exercise, “it follows the same general principles that it will probably help provide some moisturizing protection to the membranes, and certainly shouldn't have any detrimental effects,” says Stark.
Neti Pot It Up
The —an irrigation tool used to flush out the nasal cavity with saline solution—can help clear and moisturize a stuffy nose so that it’s less likely to run incessantly once exposed to the elements. Jon Grant, a runner and St. Vincent Sports Performance trainer who’s worked with both everyday athletes and Olympians, relies on this home remedy directly before exercising. “The closer you use it to the run, the more effective it can be,” he says, noting it can be used again, post-run, to flush out any remaining residue.
Try a Saline Nasal Spray
These soothing, can be used as often as necessary, advises Stark, especially in cold, dry weather when the mucous membranes are extra dry and irritated. Runners can take a dose before— and even during—exercise (the small containers are easily totable). Stark recommends consistent usage as the most effective method for maintaining a healthy honker, but notes that “every bit helps.”
Address Any Pre-Existing Issues
In some cases, cold weather isn’t the only culprit. Upper respiratory infections, allergies, pollutants, smoke and other chemical sensitivities that cause nasal irritation will likely worsen a runny nose in cold weather. “Treating these conditions before going outside will likely help minimize this effect,” says Stark, recommending runners check in with their doctors if they suspect an underlying issue.
During Your Run: Swath Your Nose
Covering your nose and the lower half of your face with fabric “will help to maintain humidity in the air entering the nose, which will minimize irritation of the membranes and also keep the nose from having to work so hard to humidify the air,” explains Stark.
Kyle Larson, a runner with the Fleet Feet Sports racing team in Chicago, favors a pulled up over his nose or a . Another option: the , which “warms the neck and can easily be used to wipe the snot away,” says Lyndsey Baum, product buyer at Fleet Feet Sports. (It’s also machine washable so you can erase the evidence post-run.)
Dress Up Your Digits
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the floodgates open anyways. In such cases, Larson turns to his hands for help. “The nice thing about most running gloves is they will have a patch of soft fleece material on the top of the thumb so you can wipe the snot off your nose,” he says (adding, “I know it’s gross.”) Two such options with this built-in “snot spot:” the and the .
Related: Layer up With New Running Gear
Launch a Snot Rocket
A less stylish—but equally effective—solution: the snot rocket, also known as the “farmer’s blow.” Grant describes this technique as “my absolute favorite that I use almost every time I run.” Check out the below video for step-by-step (er, blow-by-blow) instructions.
After Your Run: Let Your Schnoz Rest
Post-runny nose run, Stark warns against blowing your nose too aggressively as this may cause further irritation. As a solution for more severe cases, he recommends an ipratropium bromide nasal spray, which can be used to prevent or treat the symptoms of runny nose. It typically works within 15 minutes or less, and can last a few hours, depending on the dosage. One caveat: it can cause a few side effects (including excessive dryness and irritation), so he advises a doc consult before using.
Video: How to Sleep With a Stuffy Nose
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