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Exercise-Induced Rhinitis Makes Your Nose Run When Exercising

You Asked: My Nose Runs When I Do Cardio

Dear Fit,
Whenever I do any type of cardio, whether it be running, biking, or indoor tennis, my nose runs like a faucet. I always work out with some tissues stuffed in my sports bra strap! I don't have seasonal allergies. My nose just runs when I get my heart pumping. Why does this happen and is there anything I can do to prevent it?
—Runny Nosed Runner

How annoying for you!

This is a pretty common condition called exercise-induced rhinitis. I know it sounds strange, but for some people, working out can trigger allergic reaction symptoms such as congestion, sinus pain, runny nose, headaches, itchy eyes, asthma, hives or other rashes, and in rare cases, even anaphylaxis. Exercise itself can be the sole trigger (especially vigorous exercise), but sometimes it's the combination of exercise plus another trigger such as pollen or cold weather that produces symptoms.

If the symptoms really bother you, it may help to see your doctor to get a prescription nasal spray. You'll have to take it for a week or so to start seeing results, and you'll have to keep taking it to keep your nose from running and ruining your workout. Or it may help to take an over-the-counter allergy medication such as Claritin or Zyrtec about an hour before exercising. If you'd rather not take medication, you'll just have to continue to keep tissues stashed in your sports bra.


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Join The Conversation
mehollowell mehollowell 8 years
This occasionally happens to me.
alethia037 alethia037 8 years
This happens to me to... though using my Neti Pot every morning has helped a lot... I still drippy, but not nearly as much. My trick - I wear a sweatband on each wrist and use them to wipe my nose. Sounds kinda gross, but tissues in my bra strap just get wet and nasty from sweating!
minhoca minhoca 8 years
i just had this experience last week when i started boxing. im not one with a lot of allergies, so never struck me as that might be it. i had no watery eyes, but my nose dripped like a faucet!
VeeKeeTee VeeKeeTee 8 years
it happens to me when im walking/running outside
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
This happens occasionally to me! If I have some cold water and then run then it usually triggers it off. Weird. =)
LindsayLou LindsayLou 8 years
This happens to me too! But it's not so bad that I feel the need to go to a doctor. Mostly just slightly annoying.
tsp tsp 8 years
ah, there's a name for it! this happens to me all the time. definitely worse in the mornings. eyes water, nose runs...the full water works. i recently competed in dressage on my horse early in the morning, and my nose was running the whole time. it took every ounce of willpower to maintain my composition through the test and NOT wipe my nose. i'll definitely try an allergy med to see if it works.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
Any time I get hot (exercising, mowing the lawn, etc) my nose runs. When I work out, I either have to keep tissues in my bra strap or a box close to where I am working out. It's the most annoying thing in the world. Claritin and Zyrtec haven't helped a bit. :(
misskacie misskacie 8 years
Weirdly enough, I had this problem my whole life and it suddenly disappeared about 3 months ago. My diet hasn't changed, I've not gone on or off medication. I have no idea. I've always hated how it makes me look like I'm sick and that I don't care about infecting others with my noze drizzle!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
As soon as I start running, my nose does too. I just put tissues in my sports bra strap.
courtneyd courtneyd 8 years
This happens to me too. Nose runs, phlegm is produced, and eyes water like crazy sometimes too. I've noticed it happens a lot more in the morning (when I prefer to work out) than in the evening, and it happens whether I'm indoors or out. I've always just chalked it up to the fact that I am more stuffy in the morning when I wake up and warming my body up is just helping get rid of the stuffiness quicker. I used to be self-conscious about it, but I've finally just learned to not worry so much about what others are thinking. I'm not sick, and I always clean up after myself (no tissues left laying around), so there's no harm. But, it's good to know that there might be another reason and that I can do something about it. I'll have to try the Claritin since I have some and see if it helps!
kelsee kelsee 8 years
I do this too! I think its the most healthy decongestant there is
danni2009 danni2009 8 years
I'm always sniffling when I come out of the gym!Good to know why. I also have asthma, which can be triggered by exercise so it's interesting to know there is a link.
La-Tua-Cantante La-Tua-Cantante 8 years
I always get a runny nose when I run, but I don't think it's bad enough to really bother me or anything.
Beaner Beaner 8 years
My nose runs too, but I have allergies and asthma. In the cold weather, it's especially worse. That's why I buy shirts with pockets, so I can stash tissues!
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
I have exercise induced asthma and get a mild runny nose from running outside. I try to take two snorts of Flonase about 20 minutes before my run. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 8 years
This happens to me but only when I'm running outside, even if I've taken allergy medication. I always have tissues tucked into my bra strap as well!
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