My Nose Feels Like I Inhaled Water, What Does This Mean?
Published June 30, 2023
Your nose is specifically designed for air passage. That’s why when you inhale water, it can cause a painful burning sensation in your nose. But what if you didn’t inhale water, and it feels like you did? Should you be concerned?
There are many reasons why you may feel like you inhaled water up your nose even if you didn’t. But in most cases, it’s caused by an irritation in your nasal passages. To understand why irritated nasal passages can cause this kind of sensation, you need to understand how they work.
Why Does My Nose Feel Like I Inhaled Water?
More than just an organ for breathing, our nose is also responsible for filtering out harmful substances. That’s why the tissues lining up our nasal cavities tend to be very sensitive.
When dirt, viruses, and bacteria enter our nasal passages, it irritates the cells lining them. As a response, these tissues swell up to block these irritants from entering your body. This causes the pressure in your nasal cavities to change, leading to that painful burning sensation we usually feel when we accidentally inhale water up our nose.
Because your nasal cavities or sinuses are blocked, breathing can be difficult too. The change of pressure in these cavities may also affect the pressure in your ears. It can affect your hearing and may even cause ear pain and ringing or tinnitus.
Aside from inflammation, the nose also produces lots of extra mucus to flush out these irritants. This brings about the runny nose and post-nasal drips that you usually experience when you inhale water through your nose. When this excess mucus hardens, it can cause further blockage in your nasal cavities making the symptoms much worse.
Common Causes of Burning Sensation in the Nose When Breathing
As mentioned, there are lots of factors that can cause that burning sensation similar to inhaling water. This includes:
Allergies are your body’s response to foreign substances that it considers a threat. These include pollens, dust, molds, bee stings, and the like. When these substances enter your nose, they can cause inflammation and other allergic reactions.
Aside from the burning sensation in your nose, allergy symptoms may also include:
- swollen eyelids
- uncontrollable sneezing
- runny nose
- itchy nose, mouth, or throat
Just like allergies, rhinitis is a result of your body’s reaction to foreign substances. But while allergies are caused mainly by allergens like pollen and such, rhinitis can be caused by viruses and bacteria too.
Common symptoms of rhinitis include:
- runny nose
- teary eyes
- a general feeling of tiredness
- ear infections that never heal
Some people may also show symptoms like dark circles or creases around and under the eyes and swollen nasal tissues.
People with asthma, as well as those with compromised immune systems, are more at risk of contracting rhinitis.
3. Sinus Infection
As the name suggests, a sinus infection is an inflammation in your sinuses caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Sinuses, if you didn’t know, are two pairs of cavities in your nasal area. They produce mucus which helps keep your nose free from bacteria and other irritants.
When these cavities are inflamed, it can lead to breathing problems and other symptoms such as:
- runny nose
- post-nasal drip
- thick, colored discharge from the nose
- pain and tenderness around the eyes, nose, cheeks, and forehead
- ear pain
- sore throat
- bad breath
- fatigue or tiredness
4. Common Colds/Flu
Common colds and flu are respiratory conditions caused by viral infections. As such, they can trigger immune responses like inflammations and excess mucus production.
Because of this, their symptoms may include:
- stuffy nose
- fatigue and body aches
In general, common colds have milder symptoms than the flu. Additionally, people suffering from the flu may also experience:
- sore throat
- muscle aches
If you’re taking decongestants, you may also experience other side effects like:
- dry mouth
- restlessness and insomnia
- itchy nose
As for antihistamines, common side effects include:
- dry mouth
- difficulty peeing
- blurred vision
To lessen the risk of any unwanted side effects, you should only take these medications for as long as necessary to manage your symptoms. As a rule of thumb, decongestants should not be taken more than three days at a time.
How to Get Rid of Burning Sensation in Your Nose
The best way to get rid of that burning feeling in your nose is to determine its underlying causes. Once you’ve done that, here are some of the treatment options you can try:
- Nasal rinse
Also known as a saline rinse, this remedy involves pouring or spraying saltwater into your nasal cavities. Salt not only helps dry out the excess mucus but also has antibacterial properties that help prevent bacterial infections.
- Eat Vitamin C-rich foods
Orange, kiwis, guavas, peppers, and other vitamin C-rich foods can help strengthen your immune system. This, in turn, helps you fight infections and allergies more effectively.
Dubbed the “good bacteria,” probiotics are microorganisms that help your body fight harmful bacteria. This is especially helpful for bacterial infections as it prevents the bacteria from multiplying and wreaking further havoc. There are tons of probiotic strains, each with a different purpose. So when choosing a probiotic supplement, make sure to pick one that’s specifically formulated for ear, nose and throat health.
- Steam inhalation
Hardened mucus can block your nasal airways and worsen your symptoms. The moist heat from the steam helps loosen this mucus, making them easier to flush out and decongest your sinuses. Just put hot water in a small washbowl, put your face over it, and cover your head with a towel. Then, inhale the steam from the hot water for five to ten minutes. Repeat as necessary.
- Essential oils
Clinical reviews suggest that essential oils may help with sinus problems. Oils like tea tree, peppermint, and oregano have properties that can help relieve symptoms of nasal and sinus infections. You can put them in a diffuser or as part of your steam inhalation treatment.
Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications
Antihistamines are go-to medications if you’re looking for immediate allergy relief. They help regulate the release of histamine, a chemical your immune system makes that causes allergy symptoms. They are usually available as pills, capsules, gels, and nasal sprays and are often used to treat symptoms of allergic rhinitis or seasonal allergies.
As their name suggests, decongestants help unclog a stuffy nose. They shrink inflamed tissues and blood vessels in your nose, opening your nasal passages and helping you breathe better. They are often used to temporarily relieve symptoms of sinusitis and common colds.
Like antihistamines, they come in capsules, tablets, nasal sprays, or syrups. However, they may cause side effects in certain people. So make sure to clear it up with your doctor first before taking any decongestants.
Expectorants are used to loosen up excess mucus in your nasal airways, making them easier to expel. It also reduces your mucus secretions, thinning them out over time and opening your airways. It’s available in liquid, pill, or capsule form.
However, they also pose health risks to certain people. So before running off to your nearest pharmacy, make sure to consult with your doctor first.
Again, these medications and home remedies are geared for specific nasal problems. You can’t just randomly take them and hope for the best. You need to know what’s causing your nasal pain first, before taking these medications.
When to See Your Doctor
Burning sensations in the nose often go away on their own without needing medical intervention. But if your symptoms worsen or home remedies and OTC medications don’t work anymore, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor.
Benefit From The Latest Advancements In Probiotic Science With Bionaze
Bionaze is a proprietary blend of probiotics proven to promote ear, nose, and throat health, improve digestion, and support your immune system. The active ingredients BLIS K12, and BL-04 are considered among the best probiotics according to science.
Get 25% Off Your First Order when you use BIO25 at checkout!
This Content Has Been Reviewed For Factual Accuracy
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a professional writer based in the Philippines. Her commitment to communicating factual content in when writing is unmatched. She works hard to cross check reputable sources to ensure her work uses accurate facts.