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Answering WHY Air Conditioning Makes My Nose Run

When the weather starts to heat up, it’s time to crank the AC. But you may have experienced a tiny issue when walking into a cool, comfortable room full of cold, dry air: your nose starts to run! If you’ve noticed that you are regularly dealing with a runny nose when you’re in a cold part of your home or office, don’t panic. It could be air conditioning units causing your sinus congestion.

You may be asking, then, why air conditioning makes my nose run. We’re here to give you the answer (and let you in a few other potential causes of your stuffy nose)!

why air conditioning makes my nose run

How Cold Air Makes Your Nose Run

So, you have sinus issues when you’re taking refuge from the blazing summer sun. You may be assuming the worst – that you’re coming down with a cold or suffering from allergies. However, that may not be the case.

When you step into the cold (whether it’s cold weather or AC), your nasal passages get hit with a shock of cold air. The blood vessels in the nasal cavity react by swelling up, causing your nose to produce mucus. This happens due to the sudden temperature change. The result? Cold air-induced rhinitis, a type of nonallergic rhinitis.

Other Causes for Your Stuffy Nose

If your air conditioner’s hard work is giving you some sinus congestion, the reaction should be temporary. If you continue experiencing sneezing, coughing, and congestion, there may be something else at work. The other common causes of a runny nose are:

  • Allergic Reactions
  • Low Humidity
  • Sinus Infections
  • Common Cold
  • Hormonal Changes
  • Overuse of Nasal Sprays

While most of these are unrelated to your air conditioning, cold air, low humidity, and clogged air filters can exacerbate or lead to sinus problems caused by allergies and low humidity.

Is there anything that we can do to make our home and work space more comfortable in these situations? Of course! And if you’re worried that your AC is making your allergies worse, keep on the look-out for part two: Can Air Conditioning Make You Sick?

Using Your AC Without Sinus Issues

dirty air filter and clean air filter next to each other
Air Filter Looking like This? Time to Change It!

If you’re worried about your air conditioning system causing your stuffy nose, there’s good news. You don’t just have to suffer through the summer – there are several options for relieving symptoms.

Because the humidity change can be a big factor in making your nose run, drinking plenty of fluids will loosen the mucus in your nose and keep your nasal passages healthy. Plus, drinking more water in the summer never hurts! A humidifier is also a great tool for homes where the air conditioning is making your space just too dry.

If your air conditioning is causing issues with your allergies, it’s time for you to check your air filter. The air filter in your AC system catches dust mites, pollen, mold, and other allergens; but if you aren’t changing your filter regularly, those particles get pushed back into the air every time your AC unit turns on. If you’re suffering from allergies every time your AC turns on, the solution may be as simple as switching out your AC filter.

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