(CNN) — Dry, cooler air can sometimes make it harder for us to breathe.
That’s because our nasal passages are designed to warm and humidify air before it gets to the lungs.
In cooler, dryer air, the nose overcompensates and may start to run when that extra mucus is produced.Related Content: Ask the Doctor: Seasonal Allergies
Colder air also can’t hold as much moisture as warm air, sometimes dehydrating the body and triggering mild headaches.
Here’s what you can do to breathe easier this fall and winter:
Clear your head. Step into a quick, hot shower. The steam can loosen up congestion. Keep those air filters fresh in your home and switch on a humidifier. That can help make a dry nose and throat more bearable by filling the air you breathe with moisture.
You can also use saline spray for those dry nostrils. Hydrate at night by drinking water and prop yourself up when sleeping. This will keep your nose elevated so gravity can do the decongesting work while you sleep.