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Exercise-Induced Rhinitis: Why Your Nose Runs When You Work Out

Find yourself getting a runny nose on your runs? You may be experiencing a condition that isn't widely talked about. Yet exercise-induced rhinitis, also referred to as EIR, is a common issue characterized by inflammation of the nasal passages. It's a lot like allergic rhinitis - also called hay fever or nasal allergies. The symptoms with EIR are an itchy or runny nose, congestion, and sneezing brought on by physical activity. It's triggered when exercising, both indoors and outdoors, and can occur all year round.

Statistics show that 10-20 % of Americans suffer from rhinitis and that 40% of athletes deal with this condition. There are two ways that physical activity can cause rhinitis. The first is allergic rhinitis. When you work out, you breathe more heavily and thus inhale more of the allergens from the air. Non-allergic rhinitis, on the other hand, is caused by occupational and environmental factors that irritate your nasal passages. Examples of triggers can be the air temperature or the presence of chlorine in a pool.

While it doesn't cause any serious harm, EIR can still make you feel congested and miserable. If you're one of these unlucky individuals, you can try to avoid any contributing factors or consult your doctor to get the prescribed medication. This essential oil blend may also help make your workout more tolerable.


39 drops Ravintsara Ct. Cineole

39 drops Niaouli Ct 1,8 Cineole

26 drops Lavender

26 drops Balsam Fir

Mix essential oils in a 5 ml bottle and let sit for a minimum of 24 hours.


  • Apply 1-2 drops in the palm of the hands.

  • You can also use a personal inhaler or simply a tissue, piece of clothing or scarf.

  • Diffusing is also a great way to relieve symptoms.

  • Repeat as needed, prior to and after exercising.

Photo courtesy of Jillian Harris



West Coast Institute of Aromatherapy

Mayo Clinic

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