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Ask the Allergist

Ask the Allergist

Why does my nose run whenever I drink coffee?

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Question
Whenever I drink coffee, I get a runny nose and start to cough every now and then. I wanted to know what this might mean?
Answer

There is a medical condition called gustatory rhinitis that causes a runny nose and/or sneezing after eating hot or spicy foods. The foods can be in solid or liquid form. It is a type of nonallergic rhinitis, where your nose gets inflamed but not because of a specific allergy. Gustatory rhinitis can cause several symptoms including sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose, post-nasal drip, and cough. This disease is most likely caused by the stimulation of sensory nerve endings located in the nose and upper digestive tract. Avoidance of the implicated foods is the main treatment option. In your case, it could be due to the actual temperature of your coffee or something you are putting in your coffee.

Categories
Allergy, Food Allergy
Answered by

John M. James, MD, is a board-certified allergist. He is also President of Food Allergy Consulting and Education Services, LLC. He has worked as a medical specialist in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology for over 30 years. Dr. James received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Tennessee. He is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

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