Here's Why Your Nose Runs When It's Cold Outside

It's January and that means cold walks to the train or chilly mornings in the car before it's fully warmed up. It means looking like a marshmallow under layers of winter clothes. It means hot chocolate. And it means runny noses. 

But, if you're not sick, why the hell does your nose get so runny in the winter? The Today I Found Out YouTube channel is glad you asked because they've got the answer. In a new video, they show exactly why this happens and it involves some disgusting booger facts. 

For instance, your body make about one quart of snot every day. That sounds like a lot because your nose isn't generally expelling four cups of booger water daily. All of that mucus is drained down your throat. For the most part, you probably aren't even aware this process is taking place. 

However, as the video explains, when it's cold outside, you produce more mucus than usual. That's because your body diverts extra blood to your nose by dilating the blood vessels in your nose to store more blood. This helps keep your nose warm when you're out in the tundra and it also helps warm the air you're breathing before it hits your lungs. 

With all that blood in your nose, the glands that produce mucus are getting extra blood and that kicks the snot factory into high gear. As all that extra snot piling up in your nose, some of it comes out your nostrils. That's why everyone is walking around red nosed and sniffly all winter. Knowing that can't stop it from happening, but there's a great winter pickup line in there somewhere. (Hey, know why your nose looks like a snot faucet right now?)

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He holds a Guinness World Record but has never met the fingernail lady. He’s written for Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal, The Rumpus, and other digital wonderlands. Follow him @dlukenelson.