Medical Causes of a Burning Sensation in the Nose
Keep reading to learn more about what could be causing a burning sensation in your nose. This article also discusses what to do about it.
One cause of a burning sensation in the nose is an allergic reaction. Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, can affect people in certain seasons or cause symptoms all year round. Some people may even have allergies to items in their homes, such as dust mites.
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:
- itchy eyes, mouth, nose, and skin
- a runny or blocked nose
The common cold can cause nasal congestion, which can lead to a burning sensation in the nose and sinuses.
Other symptoms of a common cold include:
Nasal decongestant sprays can help unblock a stuffy nose. However, it is possible to overdose on these products. Doctors call this “rhinitis medicamentosa.”
Overuse of nasal sprays can lead to the following symptoms:
Other symptoms of nasal polyps include:
- a runny or blocked nose
- a feeling of pressure in the sinuses
- postnasal drip
- itchy eyes
Some people with COVID-19 develop nasal congestion, though this is not a common symptom.
Other symptoms of COVID-19 include:
People who live in areas with high pollution levels have a higher likelihood of developing rhinitis and nasal irritation. These conditions can cause a burning sensation in the nose.
The number of people with rhinitis is increasing, and experts believe that pollution may be playing a part. Researchers call for further studies to confirm this.
Tobacco products can have a variety of negative effects on the sinuses, which can result in a burning sensation in the nose. These negative effects include:
- changing and destroying the hairs that line the nasal passage, allowing more mucus to build up
- exposing the nasal passage to infection, from the hair changes and the smoke itself
- causing inflammation in the sinuses
Inhaling smoke from a fire can also cause a burning sensation in the nose. Smoke is a mixture of small particles of whatever is burning and gases. If you inhale smoke, you should contact a doctor, as it can cause serious complications.
People who have inhaled smoke may also notice:
If flames have entered your nose, you may have sustained a skin burn inside your nasal passage. This can happen to people who, for example, get too close to a scented candle.
Minor burns go away on their own. However, you should contact your doctor if the burn is more severe, is causing pain, or is causing you concern.
Certain industrial chemicals, such as ammonia, can cause a variety of symptoms — including a burning sensation in the nose — if you inhale them. People may come into contact with products such as ammonia by using cleaning products.
Contact with or inhalation of ammonia can cause burning of the nose, throat, and respiratory tract. It can also cause skin and eye irritation.
One older 2007 case report involves a person who mistakenly applied a product containing nitric acid to their nose, thinking it was a nasal decongestant.
The labeling on the box was very similar, and they did not notice until they began experiencing the following symptoms:
- burning in the nose
- a blocked nose
Always carefully read the packaging of the product you wish to use before applying it.
Inhaling or snorting powdered substances, including tobacco and illegal drugs, can cause some health problems that involve the nose. These issues may lead to a burning sensation in the nose.
The risks associated with snorting drugs include:
There are many other less severe conditions that are more likely to be the cause of a burning sensation in the nose than cancer.
Symptoms of nasal cancer include:
- persistent blockages on one side of your nose
- a loss of sense of smell
- bloody mucus from the nose
- postnasal drip
- a bulging eye
- vision loss
- loose teeth
- pain or pressure in the ears
- a growth on the face
To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed healthcare practitioner will ask you several questions related to the burning sensation in your nose. These may include the following:
- When did you first notice the nose burning sensation?
- Do you smoke tobacco products?
- Is the nose burning sensation accompanied by tingling, burning, or numbness in other areas of the body?
- How long does the nose burning sensation last?
- Do you have any other symptoms?
- Have you recently sustained a head, neck, or back injury?
- Have you recently had contact with any dangerous chemicals?
A nose burning sensation due to a burn or serious head, neck, or back injury requires immediate medical attention.
Seek immediate medical care by calling 911 for the following serious symptoms:
If your nose burning sensation is persistent or causing you concern, seek prompt medical care.
Causes of a burning sensation in the nose include allergies, colds, smoke, polyps, and the inhalation of potentially harmful substances.
In much rarer cases, it may be a symptom of a serious condition such as cancer.
Contact a doctor to determine the underlying cause of a burning sensation in your nose. Take a list of other symptoms or circumstances you may have been experiencing to your appointment. This can help the doctor make a diagnosis.
You will then be able to start the appropriate treatment.