Water in your Nose Problems?

Water in Your Nose Problems? – Wallen Swim School in Roseville and El Dorado Hills, CA

Everyone who has ever gone swimming has at some point experienced the exquisite pain of getting water up their nose. When you jump in the water without plugging your nose, it feels like it goes shooting straight up into your brain. Of course, water that gets up your nose doesn’t actually go into your brain. It just hits your sensitive sinus passages. But it still hurts.

The reason water gets up your nose is because of a difference in pressure between your sinuses and the water around. Your sinuses are filled with air like a balloon. If the pressure in your sinuses is kept constant, there will be no room for water to get in. However, many people jump into the water with their windpipe open straight down to their lungs, which gives plenty of room for the air to be forced downwards and for water to rush up your nose at your cannonball. If you close up your sinus cavity, the air pressure will keep water from getting in through your nostrils.

So how do you close up your sinus cavity and keep the pressure constant? Press your tongue against your soft palate and make the “k” sound. Feel how your nose and mouth are both cut off from your lungs as long as your tongue is holding the “k” position. To blow out of your nose, you have to move your tongue. As long as your tongue is in that spot, your sinus cavity is blocked off and the air pressure will be constant.

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24 thoughts on “Water in Your Nose Problems?

    • Steve Wallen Swim School says:

      Hi Darren, it can definitely burn if you get water in your nose but you can develop different breath control techniques to avoid this.

  1. Chris says:

    Finally, I searched quite long for a solution against my problem with water entering my sinuses, but then also staying there. which normally leads to a sinus infection.
    This trick will hopefully prevent this.
    Any tips on what to do though when water is inside your sinuses and does not want to leave?

    Thank you for this post 🙂

    • Steve Wallen Swim School says:

      Hi Chris, glad you enjoyed our post. Improved breath control will help, but inevitably water will get in at times. After you swim, you can always use a sinus rinse with a sterile saline solution to flush out any residual chlorine. It May sound funny, but personally, at times I will bend over and hang my head between my legs and water will empty out sinuses/nose. Hope this helps! Happy swimming!

      • brian says:

        I can feel my nose block if I hold the K sound but how can you breathe in freestyle if you hold that as it feels like the tongue is in the way of breathing? Just beginning swimming

        • Steve Wallen Swim School says:

          Hi Brian, thanks for the message. You can release your tongue in order to open the airway when you breathe. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

  2. Norm- says:

    Will teaching my little granddaughter to hold the “K” with her tongue on the roof of her mouth , definitely keep water from coming into her little nose when she goes under ?

    • Steve Wallen Swim School says:

      Breath control is very important. Work on holding your breath or blowing bubbles. This can also be practiced in the bathtub or shower.

  3. Arthur says:

    I feel like I get water through my ears to my sinus cavity, and when time comes to take a breath, I struggle, and keep getting choked up. How can I prevent this from happening.

    • Steve Wallen Swim School says:

      Work on breath control. Hold your breath and then blow bubbles. Bobbing up and down in the water exhaling under and inhaling above is a great way to work on this once you are able to hold breath as well as blow bubbles.

  4. Luna says:

    I sprayed Nazel spray into my nose and it shoot way too high up and it hurts a lot how can I make the pain go away faster or as soon as possible?

    • Steve Wallen Swim School says:

      Hi Luna, sorry I am not sure how to fix this as I am not a doctor. Maybe try a sinus rinse? Hope you are ok.

    • Steve Wallen Swim School says:

      Hi Cal, sorry if our post doesn’t explain it well enough. We will try to work on a diagram that better illustrates this.

  5. Toni Maldonado says:

    I’m 48 and I have wondered my whole life why I can’t swim without a stupid looking nose plug thank you for this tip I’m totally trying it at the gym tomorrow

  6. Vikrant says:

    Greetings Respected Pereson,
    While I was doing Neti Bowl, water accidentally got inside my inner brain and eye part. I can sense/feel it roaming around my forehead, it’s basically stuck. how can I normalize this situation?

  7. Logan says:

    Wow, I am 36, and always just thought that my nose was some sort of freak of nature since everyone else can just go underwater without instantly drowning, I took surfing lessons a few years ago, and ended up finally learning to surf while wearing a diving mask all the plugs just got knocked right off my nose the moment I hit the water xD
    Thank you, I’ll try this next time I am near water!

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