Why do We Get a Runny Nose During Chemo?

A little while back, one of our loyal customers ordered some handkerchiefs for some friends going through a rough patch… Both undergoing chemotherapy.

flannel handkerchief for runny nose during chemo

This gesture turned my heart inside out… Of course, because it’s always sad to hear that someone is ill, but also because I lost my dad to cancer, while one of my great friend’s toddler was starting an aggressive round of treatments. Yeah, it hit close to home.

Of course, there isn’t much we can do when a loved one is sick and is undergoing such intense moments… But this person’s gesture really touched me. Having undergone the same ordeal a few years back, he remembered that after chemo, he often had a runny nose and runny eyes. So, he ordered some flannel handkerchiefs and had them mailed along with a personalized note, to wish his friends courage and hope to comfort them, even just a little bit.

Making the handkerchiefs and preparing the little note, I suddenly remembered that my dad’s nose was constantly running after his last round of chemo, so I did a quick research to learn more about this strange side effect. 

Other than the many side effects I saw my dad and my friend’s daughter recently go through, I learned that there were many, many more chemo side effects and that these vary from person to person depending on the chemotherapy drugs that are prescribed. 

runny nose during chemotherapy

So, why does chemo make your nose run? I found out in an article called “The Value of Nose Hair and Other Things You Might Not Know about Cancer Treatment” that it can be the nostril hair (or lack of it) that does it. (By the way, Jill Savage’s blog, which I just discovered is pretty great if you’re looking to hear more from the point of view of someone who’s been through chemo.)

Although there isn’t much I can do to help, I keep making soft handkerchiefs for healthy and sick people and adding a little note when you ask for one. If you know someone who is undergoing treatment and would like to send a thoughtful gift, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I will be more than happy to help you along the process of picking out the perfect set and making sure the gift is as comforting as can be.

Wishing you a healthy future,

Kind regards,


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