A runny nose can be caused by anything that irritates or inflames the nasal tissues. Infections — such as the common cold and influenza — allergies and various irritants may all cause a runny nose. Some people have a chronically runny nose for no apparent reason — a condition called nonallergic rhinitis or vasomotor rhinitis.

Less commonly, a runny nose can be caused by polyps, a foreign body, a tumor or migraine-like headaches.

Causes of a runny nose include:

  1. Acute sinusitis (nasal and sinus infection)
  2. Allergies
  3. Chronic sinusitis
  4. Churg-Strauss syndrome
  5. Common cold
  6. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
  7. Decongestant nasal spray overuse
  8. Deviated septum
  9. Dry air
  10. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's granulomatosis)
  11. Hormonal changes
  12. Influenza (flu)
  13. Lodged object
  14. Medicines, such as those used to treat high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, depression, seizures and other conditions
  15. Nasal polyps
  16. Nonallergic rhinitis (chronic congestion or sneezing not related to allergies)
  17. Occupational asthma
  18. Pregnancy
  19. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  20. Spinal fluid leak
  21. Tobacco smoke

Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

March 16, 2021

See also

  1. Alcohol intolerance
  2. Allergies
  3. Allergy medications: Know your options
  4. Allergy-proof your home
  5. Alpha-gal syndrome
  6. Aspergillosis
  7. Avoid rebound nasal congestion
  8. Bronchiolitis
  9. Can chicken soup cure a cold?
  10. Chicken soup: Can it treat a cold?
  11. Chronic cough
  12. Chronic daily headaches
  13. Cluster headache
  14. Cold and flu viruses: How long can they live outside the body?
  15. Cold or allergy: Which is it?
  16. Cold remedies
  17. Cold symptoms: Does drinking milk increase phlegm?
  18. Common cold
  19. Common cold in babies
  20. Does honey offer sweet relief for allergies?
  21. Does zinc work for colds?
  22. Dust mite allergy
  23. Echinacea: Is it effective for the common cold?
  24. Flu shots
  25. Flu: When to see a doctor?
  26. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  27. Have a cold? Common sense rules
  28. Have a cold? Fight back with humidity
  29. Have a cold? Fight it with fluids
  30. Headaches 101: Know your type
  31. Headaches and hormones
  32. Headaches in children
  33. Headaches: Treatment depends on your diagnosis and symptoms
  34. High-dose flu vaccines: How are they different from other flu vaccines?
  35. How well do you wash your hands?
  36. Humidifier care 101
  37. Humidifiers
  38. Influenza (flu)
  39. Is antibacterial soap a do or a don't?
  40. Measles
  41. Measles vaccine: Can I get the measles if I've already been vaccinated?
  42. Milk allergy
  43. MRSA infection
  44. MRSA prevention
  45. Nasal Cleaning
  46. Nasal polyps
  47. Nasal spray addiction: Is it real?
  48. Neti pot: Can it clear your nose?
  49. Neti pot solution: Can I make my own?
  50. Nighttime headaches: Relief
  51. Nonallergic rhinitis
  52. Pain Management
  53. Peanut allergy
  54. Pet allergy
  55. Pet allergy: Are there hypoallergenic dog breeds?
  56. Plugged ears: What is the remedy?
  57. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  58. Roseola
  59. Rubella
  60. Stress and headaches: Stop the cycle
  61. Stuffy nose? Try saline spray
  62. Swollen lymph nodes
  63. Vicks VapoRub: An effective nasal decongestant?
  64. Vitamin C: Can it prevent colds?
  65. Warm-mist versus cool-mist humidifier: Which is better for a cold?
  66. Whooping cough
  67. Whooping cough
  68. Do zinc supplements shorten colds?