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How to Remedy Dry Nasal Passages and Sinuses

Whether you’ve been feeling under the weather or the weather itself has been making you feel a little gross, dry nasal passages and dry sinuses rarely top the list of pleasant sensations. Learn why you might have a dry nose as well as some remedies for dry sinuses and nasal passages.

Why Do I Have Dry Sinuses and Dry Nasal Passages?

Unfortunately, there is no single cause for why a person may have dry nose or dry sinuses.1 Each person’s symptoms may range from a subjective sensation of their nose being dry to a visible crusting over of the inner nasal mucosa.1 This symptom is associated with a number of potential causes including:1

  • Rhinitis sicca anterior
  • Primary and secondary rhinitis atrophicans
  • Empty Nose Syndrome
  • Chronic atrophic rhinitis with fetor (ozena)

Most of these are types of rhinitis, which is a reaction that causes nasal congestion, and is typically accompanied by inflammation that affects the eyes, ears and throat.2 An autoimmune condition that can affect the respiratory system called Sjögren’s may also cause nasal passages to feel dry.If you suspect your dry sinuses may be due to one of these potential causes, please see your healthcare provider.

Winter weather may also cause your nose and sinuses to dry out.4 When the lining of your nose is exposed to cold, dry air, it may become irritated and inflamed, causing you to feel more congested due to increased mucus production.4 This excess mucus can become trapped and obstruct your sinuses, causing further dryness and even leading to infections.4

When the inside of your nose feels like it may as well be a desert, there are some steps you can take to feel better. Note that dry sinuses may be due to an underlying condition, which may require medical attention. If you suspect your dry sinuses are due to something other than a cold, please see your healthcare provider.

Managing Dry Nasal Passages and Sinuses

It’s smart to act at the first sign of any sort of sinus congestion or issue to keep it from developing into an infection.4 These helpful tips can help soothe your dry nose and sinuses.

Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration can help keep mucus thin and loose so that it doesn’t block off your sinuses, so be sure to drink lots of fluids, especially water.3,5 It can also help to keep the delicate membranes inside your nose moisturized.

Elevate Your Head

When you sleep, mucus tends to pool in your sinuses because your head isn’t elevated.5 Sleeping with your head propped up may help to mitigate this sensation and keep the mucus out of your sinuses.

Hot Showers

A warm shower may help to clear your sinuses and ease the pressure you may be feeling from built up mucus.6 Feel free to linger in the hot shower and inhale the steam if it makes you feel more comfortable.5 If this isn’t an option, bring a pot of water to a boil, place a towel over your head and bend over to inhale the steam, but take care not to burn yourself!5

Saline Spray

Saline nasal sprays are used to add moisture to nasal passages.7 They’re especially effective during cold, dry winter weather when nasal crusting may occur.3,7 These sprays help clean nasal passages and clear debris, preventing bacterial infections.7


During colder months, the air inside your home may be overly warm and dry. Running a humidifier or vaporizer in your home can help moisturize your nasal passages all day and while you’re sleeping too.4 Keeping a humidifier by your bed can allow you to breathe in moist air all night and keep your nasal passages from drying out.5,6


If nasal congestion from a cold is making it feel dry inside your nose, you may need to look to your local pharmacy for relief in the form of a decongestant.2 Theraflu Daytime Severe Cold Relief Hot Liquid Powder can help relieve nasal and sinus congestion, won’t leave you feeling drowsy and is available in a soothing honey ginger flavor. For a good night’s sleep free from dry nasal passages and throat, try Theraflu Nighttime Severe Cold Relief.

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