Snotty Question.

Dear Straight Dopefiends,
Could one of you please explain how my nose works?
When I have a cold, my nose remains clear when I am standing up and usually when I sit. But when I lie down, one nostril will clog instantly, while the other remains clear. Furthermore, it is always the elevated nostril, rather than one next to the bed, which you would expect to clog first by sheer gravity. And the kicker is, this doesn’t seem to be the result of nasal mucilage, since the nostril in question will be as dry as a Baptist county.
My apologies in advance for choosing to talk about my nose in my first post, but does anyone else understand, or even have, this problem? And more importantly, can anyone stop it?
Thanks, don Jaime.
Free the Water Tower 3!


It is a swelling of the membranes in your nose - think of it as build-up inside your pipes making them clog, not a bunch of hair.

I used to use the Vicks Nasal Inhaler for this, but i was told that it would, with too much use, burn away the lining of the nose. I don’t know how tue this is (anyone wanna field that?) but why take chances?

Brian O’Neill
CMC International Records

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I don’t know about the nasal inhaler burning away your nose lining, but it’s definitely not a good idea to use them too frequently. They’re habit forming, at least psychologically- I read about a woman* who was so dependent on them that she carried a nasal inhaler during her wedding and took discreet sniffs from it under her veil. You’re body gets used to the effect and if you don’t use the inhaler, your nose will run all the time whether or not you have a cold. (Similarly, if you use eye drops too often and then stop, your eyes will be red all the time. I’ve heard that many TV newscasters* are “addicted” to eye drops.) They ARE safe for occasional use.

*I have no references for either the inhaler sniffing bride or the red-eyed newscasters. Sorry.

Also, sorry about the improper use of the word “You’re” in the previous post. I hate that.


The “Snuffy the Bride” story first appeared in an old Dave Barry column, one that was reprinted in THE BEST OF DAVE BARRY, so at least ten years ago.

Knowing Barry, he probably made it up.


Maybe so, but my best friend is so addicted to nose spray that she will actually take sniffs during sex or so she says. I’ve never been there to see it myself.


Coarse and violent nudity. Occasional language.

Hi,donJaime! Good question! I’ve wondered about it, too. You’ll find that the folks tend to get off the subject quickly, as more answer, the farther we get away from the post. (no doubt, someone will point out that I have strayed) Anyway, WELCOME!


I take it this happens with both sides – i.e., lying on the left side, the right nostril gets stuffy and vice versa. I have this problem, but only on one side. when I lie on my left side, my right nasal passage gets stopped up; so I almost always sleep on my right side and then have no problem.
Because of my sinus problems, I use two pillows - I figure raising the head helps drainage - maybe it would help stuffy nasal pssages. I wonder if good ol’ Vicks up the nose would have the side effects of the inhaler or spray.