COVID-19 Symptom: Burning Nose
Written by Ada’s Medical Knowledge Team
- A burning nose sensation with COVID-19 can occur, although it’s not a common symptom
- The nose is one of the main entry points for the COVID-19 virus, and inflammation and irritation can cause symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, and nose burning
- Other factors can cause a burning sensation in the nose besides COVID-19
- Several home remedies can soothe COVID-19 nose burning
A burning nose feeling can occur with COVID-19, although it's not a common symptom. The virus may inflame and irritate the nose and nasal passages, causing a heat-like sensation and sharp or prickly pain.
This article discusses nose burning and how it may be related to COVID-19. It also reviews other factors that can cause a burning sensation in the nose, how to treat the symptom, and when to see your doctor.
What causes a burning sensation in the nose with COVID-19?
While a burning sensation in the nose has been reported with COVID, it’s a rare symptom. However, the virus profoundly impacts the respiratory system, including the nose. The nose is one of the main entry points for the COVID-19 virus and can cause various symptoms in the nose.
According to a 2020 report published, nose burning could be attributed to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) enzyme, which is believed to be the primary way COVID-19 enters cells and high concentrations of this enzyme have been found in the nasal cavity. 1 Additionally, another study found that the protein TMPRSS2 in the cells lining the nose plays a significant role in COVID-19's ability to enter cells. 2
Since the virus can infect cells in the lining of the nose, throat, and lungs, it can lead to inflammation and irritation in these areas. This inflammation can cause symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, bloody noses, and even nose burning.
What else can cause a burning sensation in the nose?
Besides COVID-19, a burning sensation in your nose can be caused by several factors, including:
Allergies. Allergies are characterized by symptoms such as an itchy, irritated nose, sneezing, and congestion. These symptoms occur following exposure to an allergen trigger, such as mold, dust, or pet dander. Once these allergens enter your nose, your body produces chemicals like histamine, which in turn triggers an allergic response.
Non-allergic rhinitis. Triggers for non-allergic rhinitis include airborne pollutants or odors like smoke, certain foods or beverages, and even some medications. Chemicals and pollution can contribute to rhinitis, sinusitis, and other conditions that cause a burning sensation in the nose. 3
Changes in weather. In winter, the air outdoors tends to be less humid than in the summer. Additionally, indoor heating systems exacerbate this issue by emitting hot, arid air. Due to the lack of moisture in the air, the natural moisture in your body evaporates rapidly. This can drain moisture from the mucous membranes in your nasal cavity, causing dryness and irritation. These raw nasal passages can be the reason why some individuals experience frequent nosebleeds during this time of year. 4
Cold or flu. Caused by viruses, colds and flus are often accompanied by running or stuffy noses which can cause a burning sensation. It’s often difficult to tell the difference between a cold and a flu, although generally a flu will have more severe symptoms. 5
Sinus infection. Sinus infection, or sinusitis, is caused by inflammation and swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses. Unlike a cold, which is caused by a virus, sinusitis is caused by bacteria or viral. During a sinus infection, mucus can become trapped in the air-filled spaces located behind the forehead, nose, and cheeks. 6
Read more about the difference between COVID-19 symptoms and sinus infection here.
Overuse of nasal sprays. Although nasal sprays can help alleviate many nose symptoms, excessive use can dry out your nasal passages and lead to rhinitis medicamentosa or "rebound congestion." 7
How can you treat the symptoms of a burning nose from COVID-19?
While a nose-burning sensation with COVID is a minor condition, it can still affect daily life. Fortunately, there are several remedies you can try at home to help alleviate the discomfort caused by COVID-19 nose burning. They include: 8 9
- Warm compress. Placed over the nose and forehead, these can help relieve sinus pressure. They can also help reduce inflammation and soothe the nasal passages.
- Decongestants. These medications can help relieve congestion and sinus pressure.
- Saline nasal spray. Saline nasal sprays or rinses can help moisturize the nasal passages, reduce inflammation, and ease the burning sensation.
- Steam bowl. Breathing in the steam from a bowl of hot water or a shower can help open up the nasal passages and reduce inflammation, making breathing easier.
- Pain relievers. Over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can help relieve discomfort and pain caused by a burning nose.
- Humidifier. By adding moisture to the air, humidifiers can help alleviate dryness and irritation in the nasal passages.
- Hydration. Drinking plenty of fluids also ensures you get the hydration you need from the inside out.
If the burning nose is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, cough, or if the burning sensation persists for more than 10 days, you should consult your doctor.
Wrapping it up
While a burning sensation in the nose may be a minor symptom, it can still be uncomfortable and disruptive to daily life. Medication and some home remedies can help alleviate the symptoms of COVID-19 nose burning. For example, using a humidifier can add moisture to the air, reducing dryness in the nasal passages. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids can also help keep the nasal passages moist.
If the burning sensation persists for more than 10 days or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as fever, facial pain, or difficulty breathing, you should contact your doctor.
Q: Is a burning sensation in the nose a sign of COVID-19?
A: A burning sensation in the nose could be a sign of COVID-19, but it’s not necessarily a definitive symptom of the disease. The best way to find out if you have COVID-19 is to test for the virus.
Q: Why does my nose burn with COVID-19?
A: The burning sensation in the nose with COVID-19 may be due to inflammation and irritation caused by the virus in the nasal cavity and respiratory tract. The SARS-CoV-2 virus infects cells in the respiratory system, leading to inflammation and symptoms such as nasal congestion, sore throat, and cough. Loss of smell, a common sign of COVID-19, can also cause a burning or tingling sensation in the nose.
Q: Is a cold sensation in the nose when breathing common with COVID-19
A: A cold sensation in the nose when breathing is not commonly reported as a symptom of COVID-19. However, the virus can cause inflammation and irritation in the nasal passages, which can lead to various symptoms that affect the nose.
Q: Why is my nose tingling inside with COVID-19?
A: The tingling sensation inside the nose can be a rare symptom of COVID-19, related to the inflammation and irritation caused by the virus in the respiratory tract. COVID-19 primarily affects the respiratory system, leading to symptoms such as nasal congestion, sore throat, and cough. The tingling sensation may also be associated with the loss of smell, which is a common symptom of COVID-19.
Q: How long does your nose burn with COVID-19?
A: The duration of a burning sensation in the nose with COVID-19 varies from person to person and can depend on several factors, including the severity of the infection and the individual's overall health. Some people may experience mild symptoms that last a few days, while others may have more severe symptoms that last several weeks.