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.

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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. Flu shots
  24. Flu: When to see a doctor?
  25. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  26. Have a cold? Common sense rules
  27. Have a cold? Fight back with humidity
  28. Have a cold? Fight it with fluids
  29. Headaches 101: Know your type
  30. Headaches and hormones
  31. Headaches in children
  32. Headaches: Treatment depends on your diagnosis and symptoms
  33. High-dose flu vaccines: How are they different from other flu vaccines?
  34. Humidifier care 101
  35. Humidifiers
  36. Influenza (flu)
  37. Measles
  38. Measles vaccine: Can I get the measles if I've already been vaccinated?
  39. Milk allergy
  40. MRSA infection
  41. MRSA prevention
  42. Nasal Cleaning
  43. Nasal polyps
  44. Nasal spray addiction: Is it real?
  45. Neti pot: Can it clear your nose?
  46. Nighttime headaches: Relief
  47. Nonallergic rhinitis
  48. Pain Management
  49. Peanut allergy
  50. Pet allergy
  51. Plugged ears: What is the remedy?
  52. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  53. Roseola
  54. Rubella
  55. Stress and headaches: Stop the cycle
  56. Stuffy nose? Try saline spray
  57. Swollen lymph nodes
  58. Vicks VapoRub: An effective nasal decongestant?
  59. Vitamin C: Can it prevent colds?
  60. Warm-mist versus cool-mist humidifier: Which is better for a cold?
  61. Whooping cough
  62. Whooping cough
  63. Do zinc supplements shorten colds?