My Nose Feels Like I Inhaled Water, What Does This Mean?
Published May 20, 2022
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’ve come to associate with accidentally inhaling water.
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 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 a lot worse.
Common Causes of Burning Sensation in the Nose When Breathing
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
In addition to viruses and bacteria, growths and structural problems in the nose can also cause a sinus infection. This includes nasal polyps and a deviated septum.
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 flu. Additionally, people suffering from flu may also experience:
- sore throat
- muscle aches
Certain medications like decongestants and antihistamines may help relieve symptoms of nasal infections. But when abused, they can dry out your nasal passages which can worsen your symptoms.
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.
- Probiotics. Dubbed as 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.
- 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.
- 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 infection. You can put them in a diffuser or as part of your steam inhalation treatment.
Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications
- Antihistamines. This helps regulate the release of histamine which, in turn, helps prevent allergies.
- Decongestants. This helps unclog a stuffy nose thus helping you breath better.
- Cough suppressants. Obviously, this offers relief from cough.
- Expectorants. This is used to loosen up excess mucus in your lungs so you can easily cough them up.
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.
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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.