Dry nose: Best home remedies for relief

The medical term for a sensation of dryness within the nasal passages is rhinitis sicca. It often results from colds or allergies.

A dry nose is generally harmless. However, if left untreated, it can cause more bothersome symptoms, such as:

  • itching
  • burning
  • scabbing
  • nosebleeds
  • congestion

The following home remedies can help prevent and relieve symptoms dryness inside the nose.

Using a humidifier

A humid environment helps to keep the nasal passages moist, which relieves nasal congestion and allows the sinuses to drain properly.

Humidifiers can replace the moisture lost due to air conditioning and central heating in homes and offices.

Ideally, a person should clean their humidifier every day to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria, both of which can be harmful to health.

Ideal indoor humidity ranges from 30–50 percent, depending on the room’s temperature.

It is important to note that higher levels of humidity can promote the growth of dust mites and other allergens that may make symptoms worse.

A hygrometer, which is a device that measures relative humidity, can help a person decide if and when to use a humidifier.

Saline nasal sprays moisten the nasal passages. This helps to improve the flow of mucus and clear out irritants, such as dust, dirt, and pollen before they have a chance to cause inflammation.

Saline nasal sprays are generally mild and are available over the counter at pharmacies. Always read the packaging of these products carefully and be sure to follow the instructions.

Alternatively, a person can make a saline solution at home, using:

  • non-iodized salt, which should ideally contain no anti-caking agents or preservatives, as these can irritate the nasal passages
  • baking soda
  • 8 ounces or 1 cup of distilled water, or the same amount of tap water that has been boiled for 3–5 minutes
  • a small fine-mist spray bottle

To make and use the saline solution (for adults):

Make a new solution and ensure that the spray bottle is clean before each use.

Nasal irrigation

A person can also gently flush the saline solution through the nostrils using a bulb syringe or a device called a neti pot.

This can remove irritants and cleanse the nasal cavity so that it is better able to absorb other medications.

Nasal rinses are available over the counter. Always read the packaging carefully and follow the instructions.

A person can also make a nasal rinse at home:

Be sure to angle the head as described to prevent the solution from running down the back of the throat or into the eyes.

Make a fresh saline solution and make sure the bulb syringe or neti pot is clean before each use.

When to see a doctor

A dry nose often results from blowing the nose too frequently.

Certain medications, such as nasal decongestants and antihistamines, can also cause or worsen dryness.

Rarely, a persistently dry nose can signal a more serious medical condition, such as:

  • Sjogren’s syndrome: This immune disorder affects glands that secrete fluids, such as tears and saliva. It causes the eyes and mouth to become dry, and it can also affect the nose and other parts of the body.
  • Atrophic rhinitis: This condition causes the lining of the nasal passages to shrink and thick, dry crusts to form inside the nose. Complications can include a loss of smell, nosebleeds, and infections.

If the nose is severely or persistently dry, see a doctor.

It is also a good idea to seek medical attention if a dry nose accompanies symptoms such as pain, frequent nosebleeds, or signs of infection.

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