6 ways you can stop a dry / painful nose when flying

Do you experience a dry nose or nose pain when flying?

When I fly long-haul (or generally any flight longer than 3 hours) I’ve found that I struggle loads with a dry / painful nose when flying. Not so much a chapped nose – it’s more a feeling of dryness in the inside of my nose, rooted back to my sinuses. When it gets really bad, which tends to be on the longer flights, it can cause a lot of discomfort and can stop me from getting any sleep.

The pain / discomfort of having a dry nose on a plane is caused from the air being thinner, and less ‘humid’ in the plane. This makes you dehydrate quicker (which is why it’s so important to drink lots of water when you fly), and for people with sensitive sinuses, it can cause the dry / painful nose sensation when flying.

Here are some ideas I’ve tried that have worked to ease the discomfort of dry nose on planes. Some might ease the pain for an hour, others will help take the edge off for the whole flight. It’s also worth combining a few of these methods, as together they can be more effective for stopping a dry / painful nose when flying.

how to stop dry nose when flying

1. A wet flannel

I actually discovered this trick when I flew business class for the first time. Most business class cabins will offer you a flannel (or a hot cloth) when you start your flight, and this first time, I decided to keep hold of the flannel and wet it more from the onboard bathroom. I then inhaled through the cloth slowly and gently. The air you inhale is then not so dry and the water is inhaled up your nose. I’d do this through my nose every 10 minutes or so, and it worked amazingly at stopping the ‘dry nose’ feeling. Even though it’s a bit weird to be inhaling through a wet flannel – it totally works.

I roll mine up like a sausage, and every hour or so I take a trip to the toilet to wet the flannel a bit more (to stop it drying out) and spend a few minutes inhaling through the cloth. If you’re not flying business class, just take a dry flannel with you in your hand luggage and wet it when you get onboard – easy as that. Of all the ideas on this list, this is by far the most effective and super cheap too for stopping a dry / painful nose when flying. You can buy a lovely soft face flannel here on Amazon.

how to stop dry nose when flying

2. Sudocrem

Sudocrem works perfectly if you find you get a chapped nose as well as a dry nose when flying. Sudocrem is a really comforting cream, and is often using on babies for nappy rash. It works great for chapped or broken skin, and it’ll help just ease the pain and discomfort of any sore skin. Just be aware – Sudocrem doesn’t really ‘rub in’ – so you will have a white nose! Buy here on Amazon. It’s great for easing the discomfort of a dry / painful nose when flying, especially some of the symptoms such as chapped skin.

stopping dry nose when flying

3. Mint lip balm

This is another trick for sore skin, or chapped noses. It also helps moisturising the area too – which can help with having dry nose. The lip balm I love, is called “Smith’s Minted Rose Lip Balm” and I bought it from the little area by the tills in Sephora, but it’s also available on Amazon too. I’ve tried normal lip balms, and they don’t really work as well as mint lip balms. The mint in the lip balm gives a tingling sensation on your nose (or in it!) which distracts from any pain / discomfort for a short period of time.

how to stop dry nose when flying

4. Nose plug

Sounds silly, but simply plugging your nose with a simple nose plug, can really help ease the dry nose pain. If you’re not inhaling through your nose, and you block it off – its way less likely you’ll experience that pain from having dry nose on the plane. Obviously, you’ll have to be ok with breathing through your mouth instead, but if that’s fine with you – then this is worth a go. Or on really long flights, maybe do half the flight with a nose plug and half with the flannel – to put off the sensation for as long as possible.

5. Saline Spray

Saline spray is pretty easy to get hold of in most pharmacies – and you’ll probably be able to find it in the internal airport pharmacies too. Saline spray, is a bit like those ‘flu defense’ sprays. You basically just spray it up your nose – and let it hydrate your nose and your sinuses too. Saline is a good option to mix with the wet flannel trick – you could alternate the two.

how to stop dry nose when flying

6. Water Misting

If you buy a small water mist spray bottle from amazon, you can take it onboard empty (so you don’t need to worry about the fluid allowance) and then fill it up once you’re onboard. It won’t help so much with dry nose completely – but if you find your face gets dry as a whole, then water misting can really help take the edge off. Again, this is a good trick combined with other options on this list.

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