What Are Some Old Wives’ Tales About Itchy Noses?


There are many old wives’ tales and superstitions about why your nose may itch. Some say it means a visitor is coming. If it’s the left nostril that itches, your visitor will be a man. If it’s the right nostril, it’s a woman. In Ireland, an itchy nose may mean you’ll soon get into a fight with someone, though it can also mean a person is gossiping about you or even putting a curse on you. Even more superstitions say you’ll soon receive a kiss from someone you never expected it from. There are also many health-related reasons why you may have a tickle in your nose.


When you have an itchy nose, or it’s stuffy, running and sneezing, you may have a case of rhinitis. While it’s irritating, it’s not usually a sign of something serious. More often than not, it’s an indication that you have a virus, like the common cold, or allergies. Environmental factors can also trigger it. Other signs and symptoms of rhinitis may include dark or puffy circles under the eyes, mouth breathing, swollen tissue in your nose, snoring, ear infections, clear drainage from the nose and nosebleeds. 


Whether it’s seasonal or caused by an allergen, like pet hair or dust mites, allergies are the number one cause of an itchy nose. Allergies trigger your immune system to act, which causes inflammation in the nose. This can lead to itching and other sensations.  

Common Cold

Next to allergies, the common cold is a major reason why people experience itching in the nose. The average adult gets two to three colds per year, typically during the winter or spring,

according to Healthline. Usually, itching in the nose is the first sign that you’re coming down with a virus, like a cold.  

Environmental Factors 

You may not necessarily have an allergic reaction to a substance, but many environmental factors can cause your nose to itch. These may include cigarette smoke, the strong odor of cleaning products, exposure to mold, various fumes and fragrances and even certain foods, like spicy peppers. 

Other Causes of Itchy Noses 

There are numerous other reasons why your nose may itch. People with sleep apnea report that their CPAP machine causes itching. Extreme temperature changes outdoors can also do the trick and cause your nose to run as well. Hormonal changes, reactions to medications, sinus infections, tumors, polyps and exposure to dry air, especially during the wintertime when you run the heat in your home, are all potential culprits. For some people, an itchy nose is a sign that they are on the verge of developing a migraine.  

How to Get Rid of an Itchy Nose 

If you know what’s causing your itchy nose, the best thing you can do is avoid it, especially if it’s an allergen or something in your environment, like cigarette smoke or odors from cleaning supplies. If allergies are causing the itching, taking antihistamines may help. Cold medicine can help ease symptoms when you have a virus like the common cold. If you live in a dry environment, consider getting a humidifier to help keep your nostrils and the rest of your body from becoming too dry. Avoid overusing topical nose sprays, keep your hands and any other objects out of your nose, and drink plenty of water in order to stay healthy and hydrated.