If you are one the 12 million Americans that hit up the slopes in the winter months in search of fresh snow and a chance at finding your groove sliding down the mountains on skis or snowboards, it is highly likely that you’ve experienced skier’s nose. Skier’s nose or cold-induced rhinorrhea (CIR) is a common seasonal condition associated with cold exposure. The symptoms resemble seasonal allergies and include runny nose, congestion, and sneezing. A reported 96% of surveyed skiers and snowboarders reported experiencing CID to some extent.
One of the main functions of nasal mucus is to warm the air being inhaled into the body. This function requires properly moisturized nasal passages. The cold and often dry air on the mountains causes the nasal cavities to dry which then prompts the mucous membranes to work harder in producing enough mucus to keep the nasal passages moisturized hence the congested feeling in the nostrils. Furthermore, as we exhale the warm air, the cold temperatures outside cause the vapor to condense resulting in water build up in the nostrils hence the “drippy nose” experience.
Besides the obvious discomfort and annoyance of having to deal with a skier’s nose during your winter vacation, if gone untreated, dry nostrils can cause a host of other problems like increased susceptibility to cold and flu, allergies, and nose bleeds. Keeping your nasal passages moist is important for your respiratory health. Luckily, there are active steps you can take to treat and prevent CIR.
Cover The Nose!
A little protection can go a long way! When hitting the slopes in the winter, we recommend wearing a mask that covers the nose to provide some protection from the cold and give the air a chance to warm up before it enters the nostrils.
Another option is taking over-the-counter allergy medications which have been proven to be effective in reducing the intensity of symptoms is taken before exposure to the cold air. Always check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications especially if you are taking other medications.
Saline Nasal Spray
A recent study showed that using a saline nasal spray for skier’s nose was effective in treating CIR in 92% of the cases. Saline nasal sprays are safe alternatives to medicated nasal sprays which can be dangerous, are easy to carry on the slopes, and are safe for kid’s use.
Skier’s nose is no fun and it can really impact your health and performance on the slopes. With a little bit of advanced planning, you can prevent the annoying symptoms and ensure a healthy and joyful winter vacation for yourself and the family. Saline nasal sprays provide the easiest, safest, and most accessible solution for skier’s nose on the slopes.