Sneezing after Running

by S.C.
(El Paso, Texas)

Every time I finish a run, I start sneezing (like a minute straight). For the rest of the day, I will have a runny and stuffy nose and will continue to sneeze.

I've taken allergy, sinus, and cold medications. Everyone said I had to get used to this environment, but I've been here for five months now and I still get sick.

How can I prevent getting sick?

Answer by Dominique:

Thanks for your question about sneezing after your run. That's an interesting situation you have got there.

sneezing after running

Sneezing after running is a phenomenon known as exercise-induced rhinitis or exercise-induced sneezing. It is a relatively common occurrence, and while the exact causes are not fully understood, there are a few possible explanations for why some people experience sneezing during or after running, which I'll talk through here:

1. Nasal congestion
2. Environment triggers
3. Dry or cold air
4. Vasomotor rhinitis
5. Reflex response

Nasal Congestion

During exercise, there is an increase in blood flow to the nasal passages, which can lead to temporary swelling and congestion of the nasal tissues. This congestion can trigger sneezing as a reflex response to clear the nasal passages and relieve the congestion.

Environmental Triggers

Running outdoors exposes you to various environmental allergens such as pollen, dust, or mold spores, which can trigger an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals. Allergens can irritate the nasal passages and cause sneezing.

Dry or Cold Air

Breathing in dry or cold air during exercise can cause irritation and drying of the nasal passages, leading to sneezing. This response is more common in individuals with sensitive nasal mucosa.

Vasomotor rhinitis

Some people have a condition called vasomotor rhinitis, which is characterized by abnormal nasal responsiveness to triggers like temperature changes, exercise, or strong odors. Exercise-induced sneezing may be a manifestation of this condition, where the nasal nerves overreact to the physical activity.

sneezing after running

Reflex response

Sneezing can be a reflex response triggered by the body's attempt to regulate its temperature during exercise. It is believed that the sneezing may help cool down the nasal passages or adjust the respiratory system.

If you frequently experience sneezing during or after running and it causes discomfort or interferes with your exercise routine, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional. They can evaluate your symptoms, perform any necessary tests, and provide appropriate advice or treatment options to help alleviate the issue.

From what you are writing it seems like you never used to have this problem until you moved to where you live now. What is so different about this place compared to where you first lived? Is the air a lot drier or are you at a higher altitude? Things like that could affect the airways.

The best thing you can do to get rid of this is to pay a visit to a doctor and work out what this exactly is, there may be a simple solution to this annoying problem!

Kind regards,

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