Your nose can help you smell and even taste. Another one of its functions is to warm, clean and humidify the air the comes into your body. Your nose and sinuses can produce about a quart of mucus in one day.
Mucus and Fluid
The mucus and fluid that build up in your nose can help keep the respiratory tract moist and also clean. Your nose doesn’t always run because a lot of the fluid drains down your throat, is swallowed and goes into the body.
The cilia, or hair, in your nose is responsible for making sure mucous doesn’t run to the outside of your nose or move into the back of your throat. However, the cilia freezes when it is cold outside, rendering it incapable of doing its job.
Why does your nose run when it is cold?
The condition of a runny nose is known as rhinitis. There are several possible reasons people get a runny nose when it’s cold outside. A runny nose can be present with a common cold or may be a sign of a more serious condition such as influenza.
Your nose runs when the weather is cold because of the temperature difference in your body. The mucus membranes inside your nose heat the cold air coming into your system. When it’s cold outside, the air inside your nose is much warmer than the outside air. The steam that results from the heating process begins to mix with the mucus, condense and drip from your nose.
Why does your nose get red when it’s cold?
One of the body’s responses to cold temperatures is to constrict blood flow to non-essential areas and redirect it toward the heart to preserve body warmth. This response is the main reason why your nose turns red when it’s cold.
The redirection of blood flow in cold temperatures is an instinctive survival response. The blood vessels in the extremities constrict, reducing the flow to the extremities — including the nose — and leaving more blood for your vital internal organs.
As a result of this limited flow of blood, the nose and other extremities will initially go pale. The body will periodically dilate the constricted vessels to allow a brief burst of blood to flow into the area and then constrict the vessels again. This burst of blood causes the nose to turn red.
How do I treat chapped skin on my nose from a cold?
A cold can be miserable enough without the added irritation of a severely chapped nose. Wiping and rubbing your nose can’t always be avoided when you are sneezing due to your cold. A red, chapped nose can be treated with a few simple steps and attention to the sensitive areas of the face.
1. Blow your nose with tissues treated with lotion. These are slightly more expensive than regular tissues, but can be worth it. In addition to being softer on the nose when you rub, they have the added bonus of continually adding small amounts of moisture to your dry nose.
2. Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to your nose and the skin just below the area of your nostrils to help sooth irritation. Even if you use a lotion tissue, as in Step 1, this step helps moisturise your skin and protects your nose from the elements, particularly when it is cold or rainy outside.
3. Drink plenty of water to benefit your skin from overall body hydration. Moisture is key to your skin healing. Avoid long, hot, drying showers and, if possible, keep a humidifier on so the air in your home is not overly-dry.
Cool things to know about your nose and sinuses:
- They produce mucus to protect your lungs from viruses, bacteria and particles in the air.
- There are at least 14 different types of noses.
- They produce almost a liter of mucus a day – which you swallow.
- As we age, the nose lengthens and droops downward.
- Rhinoplasty is the name for a nose job. It’s the second most common cosmetic surgical procedure done today.
- When you’re sick, mucus production can increase to two liters a day and may affect your appetite.
- According to experts, nasal grooves in the nostrils are rich with pheromones that lead to sexual attraction.
- A woman’s nose can detect more scents than a man’s.
- Your character may be judged based on the shape of your nose. The ancients believed that a strong, long nose signified strength and power.