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Dry, thin nasal mucous membrane, and a bloody nose

Do you know that feeling? When you step outside and the cold air feels sharp in your nose?


Your nose feels thin and dry. Your nasal mucus membrane may be dried out a bit. Your nose can feel dry, be irritated and become crusty. Not too confortable. Over two million Canadians will recognize this painful feeling in their nose, with crusts, wounds and sometimes a little blood.  Why does this happen and what can you do about it?

The nose and the nasal mucous membrane

The nose is an olfactory organ, but has a respiratory function as well.

When you inhale through the nose, it heats up and humidifies the air you just breathed in. The nasal mucous membrane is normally well vascularised and rather humid.

The nose also filters the inhaled air. To perform those functions, the nose disposes of a humid nasal mucous membrane and fine cilia. This cilia cleans 10,000 litres of breathing air per day and ensures that as few dust particles, bacteria and viruses as possible come in.

To benefit from these nasal functions, we should inhale through our “humid” nose.

What are the symptoms of a dry nasal mucous membrane?

The symptoms of a dry nasal mucous membrane are:

  • A thin and dry feeling in the nose.
  • Crusts and wounds in and on the nose.
  • Pain in the nose.
  • Sometimes there is a bit of a nosebleed.

What is wrong with a dry nasal mucous membrane?

Too dry a nose is not healthy. The nasal mucous membrane should be humid to defend itself against infections.

Dry crusts in your nose can temp you to pick at them, bringing bacteria into your nose via your fingers.

Because your nasal mucous membrane is already too dry, it has difficulty defending itself against germs. It increases your risk of getting a cold. Not only does it impair the germ filtering function of the nose, a dry nose also feels unpleasant and thin.

What is the cause of a dry nasal mucous membrane?

Cold and dry air is an important cause of nasal dryness. The cold winter air is very dry. The inhaled air can give a dry, thin feeling in the nose. Indoor heating also dries the air. In the winter, there is no avoiding dry air inside and out, that is why nasal dryness is so frequent, resulting in  crusts and wounds.

Other factors that cause dryness of the nasal mucous membrane:

  • Allergies, such as hay fever
  • Runny nose
  • Hormonal changes (with women during menopause for instance).
  • The use of certain medicines.
  • Staying indoor with a low air humidity because of air-conditioning or central heating (at home, office, hospital, airplane)
  • Dry air outside (e.g. during winter)
  • Disease, such as Sjögren syndrome

What helps with nasal dryness?

There are a few things you can do to remove or prevent the complaints of nasal dryness:

  • Try to avoid the triggers that cause the complaints to the nose as much as possible.
  • Hang containers of water over radiators or over your fireplace. This will help keep the ambient air humid. Do change the water regularly, so that it doen't become a hotbed for bacteria.
  • Use a humidifier.
  • Do not put the heat on higher than 20 to 21°C
  • Besides that, there are nasal sprays which keep the nasal mucous membrane humid. A natural nasal spray that humidifies and alleviates the nasal cavities for a long period of time, is A.Vogel Sinna.

Nosebleeds due to dry nasal mucous membrane

When your nasal mucous membrane is too dry, it can easily crack. For instance, as a result of crust picking. Because of the crack, you get a bloody nose. If your nose gets bloody when the air is dry,  you probably suffer from dry nasal mucous membrane. 

Do you have a bloody nose? Then you can handle it as follows:

  • Blow your nose gently.
  • Squeeze it right under your nosal bone (the bone at the top of your nose).
  • Keep your head a bit forward, in a reading position
  • Stay seated that way for ten minutes.
  • The nosebleed should be over after this. If it is not the case, just repeat it for another ten minutes. 
  • If the bleeding does not stop, get in touch with your general practitioner.

What do you think?

Have you found what you read useful? If so, I would love if you would leave your comment below. Thanks! Krista your A.Vogel Flu Coach

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