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COVID-19 Symptom: Dry Nose

Written by Ada’s Medical Knowledge Team

Updated on


  • COVID-19 can affect mucus production and cause dryness in the nasal passages
  • The virus can disrupt the production of mucus by infecting and damaging the cells that produce it, as well as triggering an immune response that causes inflammation in the respiratory tract
  • A dry nose can also be caused by environmental factors, medications, and medical conditions
  • Measures such as using a humidifier, staying hydrated, and avoiding irritants can help a dry nose feel better

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can enter the body through the respiratory tract and affect mucus production in the sinuses. Many people with COVID-19 experience a loss of smell, but recent studies have also shown that COVID-19 can affect mucus production and cause dry nasal passages. A limited study with 414 participants found that 62% of people in the COVID-19 group reported excessive nasal dryness compared with 15% in the control group. ref1

This article explores the link between COVID-19 and how it can potentially disrupt mucus production and dry out nasal passages. We’ll also give tips on how to treat symptoms of a dry nose from COVID-19.

What causes a dry nose with COVID-19?

A dry nose is characterized by overly dry sinus passageways, which can cause pain and discomfort. Normally, the nasal passage is coated with a liquid substance called mucus, which helps to reduce sinus irritation. However, when there’s insufficient mucus, the passageway can become swollen, leading to sinus infections and nosebleeds. 

The COVID-19 virus targets cells in the upper respiratory tract, including the nose and throat. These cells produce mucus, which acts as a protective barrier against pathogens and helps keep the respiratory system moist and healthy. When the protective mucus layer disappears, it makes the inside of the nose dry. Scientists theorize that because there’s no sticky mucus, the number of odorant molecules that stick to their receptors decreases, making it hard to smell. This could explain why people lose their sense of smell or experience other distortions in smell. 1

Additionally, the virus could damage the respiratory lining directly. More research is needed to find out exactly when the strange sensations in the nose, like dryness, turn into other well-known symptoms of COVID-19.

What are some other factors that cause a dry nose?

A dry nose is a common condition that can be caused by other factors, including: 2

  • Environment. Dry air, low humidity, and exposure to irritants such as dust, smoke, and pollution can cause dryness in the nasal passages.
  • Medications. Certain medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays, can cause dryness in the nasal passages.
  • Medical conditions. Medical conditions such as Sjogren's syndrome, autoimmune disorders, hormonal changes, and some other respiratory infections can cause dryness in the nasal passages.

What are some ways to treat a dry nose due to COVID-19?

There’s no direct way to treat dry sinuses caused by COVID-19, and you’ll likely need to let the virus run its course. However, there are steps you can take to remedy the discomfort caused by COVID-related dry nose:

  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air, especially during the winter when indoor heating can dry out the air. 
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, particularly water. This can help keep the nasal passages moist.
  • Avoid irritants such as cigarette smoke, dust, and other pollutants that can dry out the nasal passages. 
  • Use a saline nasal spray or rinse to help keep the nasal passages moist. 
  • Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly or another nasal lubricant to the inside of the nostrils to help prevent dryness.

Wrapping it up

As we continue to learn about COVID-19 and its effects on the body, it's becoming clear that the virus affects the nose in several ways, including dry sinuses. This symptom is caused by the virus disrupting mucus production and damaging the respiratory lining. Still, it can also be caused by other factors such as environmental irritants, medications, and medical conditions. Although there’s no direct cure for a dry nose from COVID, using a humidifier, staying hydrated, and avoiding irritants can help alleviate discomfort. 

It's essential to prioritize your respiratory health and seek medical attention if you experience severe or persistent symptoms. Taking care of your nose and respiratory system can help you feel more comfortable and aid in your overall recovery.


Q: Is it normal for my nose to feel dry from COVID-19?
A: Yes, it’s possible for your nose to feel dry due to COVID-19. The virus can disrupt mucus production and damage the respiratory lining, leading to dryness in the nasal passages.

Q: Does COVID-19 cause dry nasal passages
A: Yes, COVID-19 can cause dry nasal passages. The virus targets cells in the upper respiratory tract, including the nose and throat, responsible for producing mucus. When the virus infects and damages these cells, it can disrupt mucus production, decreasing the quantity and quality of mucus produced. As a result, the nasal passages can become dry and irritated, causing discomfort and pain.

Q: How can I help treat a dry nose from COVID?
A: While there’s no direct remedy for a dry nose caused by COVID-19, staying hydrated, using a humidifier, and using saline nasal sprays or rinses can help reduce discomfort. Additionally, avoiding irritants and using nasal ointments or gels may also help.

Q: Can a mask be worn to prevent COVID-19 from causing a dry nose?
A: Wearing a mask can cause some people to experience dry nasal passages. The mask can trap moisture and heat from breathing, increasing dryness in the nasal passages. Additionally, some people may breathe through their mouth more often while wearing a mask, which can also contribute to dryness in the nose.