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 (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.

July 21, 2020

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 really help with 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. Fluzone High-Dose: What distinguishes it from other flu vaccines?
  27. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  28. Have a cold? Common sense rules
  29. Have a cold? Fight back with humidity
  30. Have a cold? Fight it with fluids
  31. Headaches 101: Know your type
  32. Headaches and hormones
  33. Headaches in children
  34. Headaches: Treatment depends on your diagnosis and symptoms
  35. Honey: An effective cough remedy?
  36. How well do you wash your hands?
  37. Humidifier care 101
  38. Humidifiers
  39. Influenza (flu)
  40. Is antibacterial soap a do or a don't?
  41. Mayo Clinic Minute: The facts about three flu vaccine myths
  42. Mayo Clinic Minute: Why you need your flu shot now
  43. Measles
  44. Measles vaccine: Can I get the measles if I've already been vaccinated?
  45. Milk allergy
  46. MRSA infection
  47. MRSA prevention
  48. Nasal Cleaning
  49. Nasal polyps
  50. Nasal spray addiction: Is it real?
  51. Neti pot: Can it clear your nose?
  52. Neti pot solution: Can I make my own?
  53. Nighttime headaches: Relief
  54. Nonallergic rhinitis
  55. Pain Management
  56. Peanut allergy
  57. Pet allergy
  58. Pet allergy: Are there hypoallergenic dog breeds?
  59. Plugged ears: What is the remedy?
  60. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  61. Roseola
  62. Rubella
  63. Stress and headaches: Stop the cycle
  64. Stuffy nose? Try saline spray
  65. Swollen lymph nodes
  66. Vicks VapoRub: An effective nasal decongestant?
  67. Vitamin C: Can it prevent colds?
  68. Warm-mist versus cool-mist humidifier: Which is better for a cold?
  69. Whooping cough
  70. Whooping cough
  71. Do zinc supplements shorten colds?