Nose Burning Sensation

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Introduction

What is nose burning sensation?

Nose burning sensation is generally a symptom of a damaged or diseased sensory nerve. The most common cause of nose burning sensation is allergies, such as those brought on by seasonal changes. Seasonal allergies that cause nose burning and congestion are called allergic rhinitis or, more commonly, hay fever. Nose burning sensation may also be triggered by tobacco smoke or air pollution or may be a side effect of a nasal spray medication.

In some cases, nose burning sensation may be caused by a chronic disease, such as multiple sclerosis, which affects the brain and spinal cord and causes weakness, coordination, balance difficulties, and other problems.

Other causes of nose burning sensation include different types of burns, such as severe sunburn, a skin tissue burn brought on by exposure to extreme heat, or a burn caused by inhalation or ingestion of a dangerous chemical. Finally, nose burning sensation may also accompany a stroke, which is brought on by a lack of oxygen to the brain.

Nose burning sensation caused by burns, a stroke, or a serious head, neck or back injury requires immediate medical attention. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, sudden weakness or numbness, changes in vision or speech, or sudden, severe headache.

Nose burning sensation accompanied by burning or tingling in multiple locations of the body may be a sign of chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis. If your nose burning sensation is persistent or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.

Symptoms

What other symptoms might occur with nose burning sensation?

Nose burning sensation may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.

Symptoms of allergies that may occur along with burning nose sensation

If your nose burning sensation is related to allergies you may also have other symptoms including:

Other symptoms that may occur along with nose burning sensation

  • Burning sensation in the mouth and throat, if your nose burning sensation is due to ingestion of a toxic chemical

  • Sensory symptoms such as pain, numbness or tingling, if your nose burning sensation is caused by nerve damage

  • Skin tissue burns, if your nose burning sensation is due to exposure to extreme heat

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, nose burning sensation may be a symptom of a life-threatening condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms including:

  • Burning sensation caused by inhalation or ingestion of a dangerous chemical

  • Changes in vision or speech

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Skin tissue burns caused by exposure to extreme heat

  • Sudden, severe headache

  • Sudden weakness or numbness

Causes

What causes nose burning sensation?

The most common cause of nose burning sensation is allergies, either to products or to seasonal changes. If you smoke or are exposed to smoke from tobacco products, you may also experience nose burning sensation.

In addition, nose burning sensation can be caused by a chronic disease such as multiple sclerosis, which affects the brain and spinal cord and causes weakness, coordination and balance difficulties, and other problems.

Nose burning sensation may also result from different types of burns, such as a skin tissue burn or a burn caused by inhalation or ingestion of a dangerous chemical. Finally, nose burning sensation may accompany a stroke.

Common causes of nose burning sensation

Nose burning sensation may be caused by everyday causes including:

  • Allergies to products such as body lotions and creams
  • Asthma and allergies
  • Medication side effects
  • Pollution
  • Sniffing drug substances (such as prescription painkillers or illicit drugs)
  • Tobacco smoke

Chronic causes of nose burning sensation

Nose burning sensation can also be caused by chronic conditions including:

  • Multiple sclerosis (disease that affects the brain and spinal cord causing weakness, coordination and balance difficulties, and other problems)
  • Paresthesia (numbness and tingling) following a head, neck or back injury

Serious or life-threatening causes of nose burning sensation

In some cases, nose burning sensation may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. These include:

  • Ingestion of a toxic substance such as a chemical or poisonous plant or mushroom
  • Skin tissue burns caused by exposure to extreme heat
  • Stroke
  • Transient ischemic attack (temporary stroke-like symptoms that may be a warning sign of an impending stroke)

Questions for diagnosing the cause of nose burning sensation

To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your nose burning including:

  • When did you first notice the nose burning sensation?
  • Do you smoke tobacco products?
  • Is the nose burning sensation accompanied by tingling, burning or numbness in other areas of the body?
  • How long does the nose burning sensation last?
  • Do you have any other symptoms?
  • Have you recently sustained a head, neck or back injury?
  • Have you recently been exposed to dangerous chemicals?

What are the potential complications of nose burning sensation?

Nose burning sensation may be sign of a serious chronic disease such as multiple sclerosis. Nose burning sensation may also be a sign of permanent nerve damage. Because chronic nose burning sensation can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2018 Dec 28
  1. Rhinitis (Hay Fever). American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/rhinitis
  2. Burns Fact Sheet. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of General Medical Sciences. https://www.nigms.nih.gov/Education/pages/Factsheet_Burns.aspx
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