Nose Clips?

dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember
edited January 2013 in General Discussion
I've been doing a lot of long (for me) pool swims lately (2-5 hours) and discovered an annoying tendency have a runny nose for 24 hours or so after a long swim (though highly variable depending on the pool I am swimming in). I've never previously been a user of nose clips but finally gave one a try over the weekend and was pleasantly surprised to discover it totally eliminated the post swim nasal drip. This is probably not news to those of you who grew up doing competitive swimming but it was a bit of revelation for me.

The question I now have, what (if any) benefit do nose clips provide in a long open water swim? I've not noticed a similar problem when I have done non pool swims but I did find it was slightly trickier to feed with the nose clip (I would previously breathe through my nose while drinking). They are also not the most comfortable items to wear, though I imagine that you get used to them.
http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
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  • I wear a nose clip all the time in the pool for the same reason that you do. It is pure misery afterwards if I don't. I've never found the need to wear it in races although occasionally I do get a very small amount of sinus irritation.

    Somewhere in my head, I seem to recall that ocean water has the same salinity as some bodily fluids and that is the reason that it doesn't dry out nasal membranes as readily as whatever God-awful chemicals they use in pools. Or maybe I'm succumbing to senility and making that up.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • I started using nose clips several years back for lake swimming because I have a reaction to fresh water (plants that grow in it?) that seems to get worse as I age. When I started doing longer pool training sessions I had a reaction including eyes, nose, sinuses, so I started using a nose clip in the pool as well and now need to use one all the time. Needless to say, 5+ hrs in a pool with nose clip, goggles and intermittent snorkel use leaves me looking quite beaten up afterwards!

    I have swum for as much as 15 hrs in a lake with a nose clip but I do need to remove it to eat/drink, or things get tricky. Ocean water probably doesn't have the same allergy-type problem for me, but I find it helps (a TINY bit) with sea sickness because I don't inadvertently take on as much salt water or boat fumes...
  • bobswimsbobswims Charter Member
    I don't have problems when I've swam in the pool except with what I call chlorine sneezes. In open salt water if I have been out for a while, particularly in rough water, water just pours out my nose like a faucet when I bend over. Frankly I'm not sure where it comes from.
  • Wow, what a great idea.... my sinuses have been driving me nuts when I get past the 3h mark in a pool workout. A few weeks ago when I did a 4h, I was sneezing, itching and swollen for nearly 24 hours afterwards. I've been swimming for so long like this, that it never would have donned on me
  • Last summer I was swimming alot in our local lake. I developed allergies, and exercise induced asthma. I was in denial that lake water was the trigger, but I sneezed alot after each swim. I tried a pair of nose plugs, but just could not get used to them. Anyone have any advice on type of nose plug to wear, and how to be comfortable with it?
  • I've been wearing a nose clip in the pool for about 5 years after developing a sinus sensitivity to chlorine. Before I settled on nose clip I tried other options first, nasal lavages and sprays, salt water, one of the little Chinese teapot type things, nothing worked. Nose-clips took 2 days to get used to, from previously hating them, I never even think about it any more. I've used a range of types, competition clips last the longest as the body is steel with a silicon pad and can be adjusted the most, standard plastic and silicon pad types are probably the most comfortable, but I usually only get about 6 months from a pair before the plastic snaps.

    I never wear a nose clip in the sea or fresh water since it's chlorine that's the cause.

    The sinus cavity has a capacity of about 2 fluid ounces, which is quite a bit of water when it suddenly decides to leave 30 minutes after your swim while you are sitting having a coffee somewhere. For me anyway though, it will only take in any water if the water is very rough, as used to also happen when surfing.
  • Thanks Loneswimmer - I was embarassed to admit that I don't know how to wear a nose clip. I tried, but never felt comfortable, or that I had the right fit. Chlorinated pool water has its element of discomfort for me, but a few sneezes and I am clear. I am afraid that something in our lake water was causing a big sinus problem for me and I will prevail with the nose clips as they seem to really work! (I never realized how much water could be retained in the sinuses!)
  • If you are handy and have a few tools, you can make your own custom nose clips using stainless steel wire and silicone caulk. I've used Orthodontic wire that I got from a friend who is a dentist, but they often sell stainless steel wire at craft/hobby stores for jewelry making. You can also use the various composite Orthodontic wires, but it's more expensive. Likewise, you can use any sort of rubbery compound (Shoe-Goo, tool handle rubberizing compound, etc) instead of the caulking. If you do use silicone caulk, be sure to let it dry for a few days - one of the chemicals in it is acetic acid and you want to be sure that has evaporated.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember
    nvr2late said:

    Thanks Loneswimmer - I was embarassed to admit that I don't know how to wear a nose clip. I tried, but never felt comfortable, or that I had the right fit.

    One thing I noticed is that you want to make sure that you get the clips past the cartilage in the bridge of the nose and onto the portion of the nostrils that have no cartilage. That (in my case at least) made a big difference to the comfort.

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • SharkoSharko Sonoma County, CAMember
    whenever I swim in salt water I intentionally suck in salt water into my nostrils to flush out pollen or impurities....and in the spring when pollen is rampent in our area I use a salt water flush comprised of purified water, sea salt and a little baking soda...shake up in a sports drink bottle and then pour into the cap and suck it into one nostril at a time until everything starts flowing out...been doing it for quite a few years and it really helps the drip and should help when you get out of clorine pools...give it a try if you dare!!!
    "I never met a shark I didn't like"
  • Sharko, I do have allergies to tree pollen and mold - there are days last spring wher the lake was covered in yellow pollen. I don't swim on those days - but I think that leaf mold in the lake water might also be a problem. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I won't react to the lake water this spring - but I will try the nose clips and your salt flush. Thanks fo the tip!
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    dc_in_sf said:

    I've been doing a lot of long (for me) pool swims lately (2-5 hours) and discovered an annoying tendency have a runny nose for 24 hours or so after a long swim (though highly variable depending on the pool I am swimming in). I've never previously been a user of nose clips but finally gave one a try over the weekend and was pleasantly surprised to discover it totally eliminated the post swim nasal drip. This is probably not news to those of you who grew up doing competitive swimming but it was a bit of revelation for me.

    The question I now have, what (if any) benefit do nose clips provide in a long open water swim? I've not noticed a similar problem when I have done non pool swims but I did find it was slightly trickier to feed with the nose clip (I would previously breathe through my nose while drinking). They are also not the most comfortable items to wear, though I imagine that you get used to them.

    I have ongoing sinus issues and often have a major reaction to pool swims of any length. Not just runny nose, but hours and hours of uncontrollable sneezing, dripping and sinus pressure and often need steroids

    I JUST found a nose clip that stays on!!!

    When my current flare up abates ill know whether the clip has worked and if it has, ill definitely use it in the lake because I've had some pretty bad issues there too (pollen I think).

    Of course the sea fixes everything and I live for my trips out of Chicago!!
  • I have been struggling for the last 5 months with my nose after pool swims. Constant runny nose and sneezing. I finally got myself a nose clip last week and used it on Friday for the 1st time and again on Saturday. So far it's been great. Is a bit uncomfortable and will take a while to get use to it. I prefer having as little as possible around my face. But I haven't struggled with my nose like I was so I'm happy I finally got it. Best R30 investment
  • SydneDSydneD Member
    I struggle with this after every fresh water swim. Today, my face is actually swollen after a race of just 5k. I look like I got punched in the face and kept my husband up almost all night with my nose blowing. It's like water is just pouring out.
    Not sure what to do because no allergy meds seem to help at all.
    Completely sucks.
  • jendutjendut Member
    JUST my $.02:for decades I have had terrible nose/sinus problems after swimming in lakes (in recent years the pool and ocean affect me this way as well, which is lovely). Aside from sewing my nose closed, which believe me I have threatened to do, the nose clip is an affordable option. It is not attractive, but there comes a time when you realize your attractiveness while swimming is really all in your head anyway- once you find the right clip it can be life-changing. You MUST take it off to drink or eat, though, otherwise bad things happen (in my experience only). I have used them in several swims of 14+ hours, and in combination with a daily zyrtec, this seems to keep the dripping/sneezing/running/etc to a workable level.
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