Red Nose: Causes and Related Symptoms (2024)

Red Nose: Causes and Related Symptoms (1)

Medically Reviewed By Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI

— Written By Healthgrades Editorial Staff

Updated on July 19, 2022

Red nose can occur for many reasons. It may be a temporary symptom or related to a chronic condition, such as rosacea. Treatment for nose redness varies based on the cause.Red nose is a common symptom of infection or other conditions that affect the nose, including cold, flu, or allergies. Chronic conditions such as lupus or rosacea can also cause nose redness, among other symptoms.

This article will look at some of the most common causes of red nose and available treatment options. If you have nose redness that persists, gets worse, or occurs with other symptoms, contact your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.


Red Nose: Causes and Related Symptoms (2)

Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that most often occurs on the nose and cheeks. The exact cause is unknown Trusted Source National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Governmental authority Go to source.

Rosacea often causes redness on the nose, among other symptoms. Some people experience flares, times when rosacea symptoms worsen due to certain triggers. In other cases, rosacea follows a progression that can lead to chronic redness and bumps on the nose.

In addition to red nose, symptoms of rosacea include:

  • periodic or frequent flushing or blushing
  • red skin that becomes scaly
  • facial rash that may resemble acne
  • visible blood vessels in the cheeks and nose
  • rhinophyma, a condition in which skin on the nose becomes red, thick, and bulbous
  • eye symptoms — such as redness, itching, and irritation — that may indicate ocular rosacea

Learn more about rosacea symptoms, risk factors, and treatments.

High fever

Any condition that can produce a fever of more than 101ºF (38ºC) can cause a red nose. This includes infections such as:

  • influenza
  • common cold
  • gastroenteritis or stomach flu
  • urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • pneumonia
  • meningitis

Other symptoms

Symptoms that occur with fever vary depending on the cause but generally may include:

  • fatigue
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • cough
  • vomiting
  • body aches
  • painful urination
  • painful cough
  • malaise

Learn when to contact a doctor for fever.


Seasonal allergies and hay fever can produce symptoms that result in a red nose.

Irritation and congestion can cause swelling in nasal passages. Allergies often cause a runny nose and sneezing. This can lead to irritation and redness from constantly wiping or blowing your nose into a tissue.

Other symptoms

Along with red nose, other symptoms associated with environmental allergies include:

  • episodes of sneezing
  • runny nose
  • itchy nose, eyes, or throat
  • congestion
  • watery eyes
  • dark circles under your eyes


Does drinking alcohol cause a red nose?



This is a common misconception that drinking too much alcohol can cause a red nose. Common slang terms you might have heard are “the alcoholic nose,” “gin blossom,” and/or “drinker’s nose.” The correct medical term is “rhinophyma.”

However, there has been no medical evidence that links alcohol to rhinophyma. Rhinophyma is an advanced stage of rosacea, typically affecting white males over age 50. It is a rare condition that presents as a thickening, reddening, and pitting of the skin, broken blood vessels, and a bulbous appearance.

There is no cure for rhinophyma, but there are treatment options to decrease the symptoms.

Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, COIAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.


Red Nose: Causes and Related Symptoms (3)

A rash across the nose and cheeks, often known as a “butterfly rash,” is a common symptom of lupus. About half of people with lupus experience this rash.

Other symptoms

Lupus is an autoimmune condition that causes the immune system to attack healthy cells. It can cause other symptoms, including:

  • extreme fatigue
  • joint pain, swelling, or both
  • sensitivity to light
  • chest pain during deep breaths
  • hair loss

Learn more about lupus symptoms, risk factors, and treatments.


The most common Trusted Source Office on Women's Health Governmental authority Go to source symptom of menopause is hot flashes, which are sudden sensations of heat throughout your body.

A hot flash can cause flushing and redness in your face, including your nose.

Other symptoms

Along with facial flushing and hot flashes, menopause symptoms include:

  • vagin*l dryness
  • irregular periods
  • urinary incontinence
  • mood changes
  • trouble sleeping
  • changes in sex drive

Learn 10 things your doctor wants you to know about menopause.

Other causes of red nose

Red Nose: Causes and Related Symptoms (4)

Red nose can develop due to other conditions or situations, including:

  • having acne
  • eating spicy foods
  • experiencing strong emotions, such as anger or embarrassment
  • crying
  • taking niacin supplements or certain medications, such as sildenafil (Viagra)
  • getting a sunburn

If your red nose is persistent or causes you concern, get prompt medical care for an accurate diagnosis.

What are treatments for red nose?

Treatment for red nose depends on the cause. If you have nose redness due to a temporary situation like strong emotions or eating spicy food, your red nose will likely go away on its own.

If you have chronic nose redness, your doctor can evaluate your red nose in the context of any other symptoms you have. This can allow them to make an accurate diagnosis of the cause and develop effective treatment.

Depending on the cause, doctors may recommend treatments as follows:

  • Rosacea: Treatments for redness associated with rosacea can include mild cleansers, laser treatment, or prescription topicals. Your dermatologist can also discuss treatments to reduce rosacea flares.
  • Infection causing high fever: For a bacterial infection, your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. If you have a viral infection, such as a cold or flu, treatment may involve rest, fluids, and over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
  • Allergies: Treatment for season allergies can include OTC antihistamines, nasal corticosteroids, or long-term allergy shots.
  • Lupus: To reduce lupus flares and minimize complications, doctors may prescribe medications that help reduce joint stiffness, ease swelling, and relieve pain. In severe cases, lupus treatment may involve Trusted Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Governmental authority Go to source drugs that suppress the immune system.
  • Menopause: There is currently no treatment for menopause itself, since it is a natural process. However, doctors can help treat menopause symptoms with medications including estrogen therapy, low dose hormonal birth control, and OTC products such as vagin*l lubricants.


These are some other questions people often ask about red nose. Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, COI, reviewed the answers.

What does rosacea look like on the nose?

Rosacea can cause flushing around the nose and cheeks that makes the nose red. In some cases, fluid buildup can also make skin appear baggy or swollen. As rosacea progresses, it can cause rhinophyma, a condition that makes the skin on the nose thick, enlarged, and bulbous.

Does rosacea go away?

There is currently no cure for rosacea. However, by working with your doctor on a treatment plan, you can reduce your symptoms and slow the progression of rosacea. You can also identify triggers that worsen your symptoms and work to avoid them.


Red nose is a common symptom that can have many causes. Some causes are temporary, such as a high fever, strong emotions, or eating spicy foods.

Certain chronic conditions can also cause nose redness. These include rosacea, lupus, and allergies.

Contact your doctor if your red nose persists or you develop other symptoms that cause you concern. They can help you find an accurate diagnosis and begin effective treatment.

Red Nose: Causes and Related Symptoms (2024)


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