African American man blowing his nose while outside

When your nose starts running, your first thought may be that you’ve got the common cold. But if that runny nose persists despite no other symptoms appearing, it’s a pretty clear sign that you aren’t sick. So, if you aren’t dealing with a sickness, what could be the cause of your runny nose?


Allergies are one of the most common causes of runny noses. When you inhale allergens in the air, it causes your body to release chemicals that cause inflammation. And when your nasal membranes become inflamed, your nose can start running. Allergic reactions are most common in the spring and fall, and there are many different things you could be allergic to, including:

  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Smoke
  • Pet dander

If you’re experiencing a runny nose due to allergies, you should be able to effectively treat it with antihistamines.

Cold, Dry Air

For many people, runny noses are much more common in the winter than during any other season. This is usually because the air is much colder and drier. These conditions can dry out your nasal membranes, which triggers your nasal glands to produce mucus. This mucus warms and moisturizes the air you inhale, but it also causes your nose to get runny. If you want to prevent this, wearing a mask or scarf over your nose when it’s cold out may be effective.


Have you recently started taking any new medications? If your runny nose started shortly after beginning a new prescription, it could very well be a side effect of that medication. A runny nose can be caused by many different medications, including those meant to treat the following conditions:

  • High blood pressure
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Inflammation
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Depression
  • Enlarged prostate

Deviated Septum

Another possible cause of your runny nose could be a deviated septum. Your septum is the name for the bone and cartilage that sits between your nostrils. In many people, the septum will lean improperly to one side, which is called a deviated septum. This condition can cause a runny nose and other breathing problems.

The symptoms of a deviated septum are often mild, and in those cases, treatment isn’t usually required. However, in more severe cases, a surgery called septoplasty may be needed.

When Should You See a Doctor?

In the vast majority of cases, a runny nose is nothing to be concerned about. However, you should see a healthcare provider if you encounter any of the following situations:

  • Your runny nose lasts longer than 10 days
  • Sinus pain and green or yellow nasal discharge
  • High fever
  • Bloody nasal discharge

What is the Takeaway?

Runny noses are incredibly common, and they can be easily treated. As long as your runny nose doesn’t last for multiple weeks or come with serious symptoms, no action will be needed. However, if you feel that you need to see a healthcare provider for your runny nose, a qualified ENT doctor may be your best option. If you’re in the Miami area, you’ll have access to many knowledgeable ENT specialists at South Florida ENT Associates.

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