Do you get an itchy nose or itchy palms after eating? Lots of us do; especially after takeaway food, cheese, hams or drinking red wine. Some of us get runny noses and some of us are even allergic to certain foods.
My wife challenged me to find out why she gets an itchy nose after eating…
Read on to find out the truth about food allergies, additives and the real cause for the dreaded ‘post-meal itchy nose’…
An Unsolved Medical Problem!
My wife rarely reads my blog; She says there are too many long words in it, and not enough pictures of flowers! But if I solve her ‘medical’ question she promised she would read this blog. As I’m a hopeless sucker for a challenge, I obliged.
Here’s how the problem came to light: We were relaxing one evening after a meal out. Sipping from a glass of red wine, she started to rub her nose “Why do I get an itchy nose when I eat certain foods?!” Because I am a doctor; it is expected that I must know the answer to anything vaguely related to the human body! I politely informed her that I had no idea and that “Post-Meal Nose Itching Syndrome was not something we covered in medical school!”
UPDATE – New poll!! November 2014
There clearly are a lot of you that experience the itchy-nose-after-food phenomenon. There are also a lot of different foods that cause it! Please fill out this poll so that we can find out what the most popular trigger foods are. (Try to identify the actual ingredient – you may have to experiment!) Please only answer if you get an itchy nose – if you experience a runny nose, or any other symptom – choose ‘no’ (there is another poll at the end of the article for you to do!) If your food isn’t there, choose ‘other’ then leave a comment at the very end of the post.
What is an itch anyway?
I hoped that ‘Google‘ would answer my question. Sadly, while it seems lots of people have strange itches and scratches (I’ll spare you the details) no-one seems to explain how eating causes an itchy nose.
So I decided to look into causes of itching, and started to remember what I was like as a medical student…
At medical school, I was the odd and slightly eccentric one. For no particular reason at one point I became fascinated by itches: what causes them, and why we get them! The medical name for itch is ‘pruritis’ and to my utter delight I found several medical textbooks devoted to the subject! Proudly carrying my ‘additional reading’ I got quite a laugh when my friends saw me walking around with “Your Guide to Pruritis”. They obviously presumed I was doing some homework for personal reasons!
An itch is something of a halfway house between normal sensation and pain: If something irritates your skin a lot, then you feel pain; But if something irritates your skin only a little, you get an itch.
Allergies are a common cause of itching (pruritis). So is it possible that us ‘nose scratchers’ are allergic to something in our food?
What is a Food Allergy?
A food allergy is caused because your body’s immune system mistakenly thinks something we have eaten is attacking you. People talk about them all the time, but most people who think they have one actually don’t!
If you eat a food that you are allergic to, your immune system becomes activated: The chemical histamine is released into the blood by your white blood cells. This sets off a sequence of events that can be mild or severe. The worst type of allergic reactions can be fatal and is called ‘anaphylaxis’. This rare reaction causes the immune system to go completely into overdrive. Histamine floods around the body: lips and eyes swell, vomiting occurs, skin rashes break out, wheezing and it becomes difficult to breathe.
Most Food Allergies are Mild but difficult to diagnose
Thankfully allergies are normally very mild: the histamine gives you a skin rash, indigestion or a bit of itching.
My wife and my ‘nose scratching syndrome’ is probably not an allergy for several reasons:
- My wife’s ‘nose-scratching syndrome’ only happens occasionally, she doesn’t get it every time she eats pizza or drinks red wine; if it were a food allergy it would happen every time.
- Food allergies usually only happen with one type of food (e.g. nuts, eggs or shellfish), where in our case lots of different foods set it off.
- Allergies tend to cause more than just an itchy nose; you would expect swollen lips, coughing or itchy eyes as well.
You may can find out more about food allergies here (and have a chat with your GP if you think you have a real one)
So if it’s not an allergy, could it be all those nasty food additives?
Chinese Restaurant Syndrome: The Truth
Since the 1940s, a flavour enhancer called MSG (Mono-Sodium Glutamate) has been used in cooking in Western countries. Originally used in Chinese cooking, it is now in crisps, snacks, sauces and many fast foods. In the 1960s flurries of Chinese restaurant-goers started to experience lots of strange symptoms after chowing down. The finger of blame was pointed squarely at this new ‘artificial’ additive, MSG.
However, after decades of in-depth research it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that MSG is safe to eat. MSG is found in seaweed naturally and does not cause ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome’.
What is ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome’? Probably a combination of indigestion, allergies and food intolerances in Westerners diners not used to Eastern spices and ingredients!
Gustatory Rhinitis: runny nose problems
Are you a curry-lover? If so, then you’ll know that the essential partner to your biryani and poppadoms is a large handful of tissues! It is quite normal for us all to get a runny nose when eating hot and spicy foods. However, some of us have this problem particularly badly and get a runny nose after eating practically anything!
‘Runny Nose’ even has a posh-sounding medical name: ‘Gustatory Rhinitis’!
Every time we eat, blood gets sent to our face and nose. This is to help our salivary glands work and to carry away the heat from our hot food. An unfortunate side-effect of this process is more blood flows into your nose and makes your nose run!
But gustatory rhinitis doesn’t normally cause nose itching, but understanding that blood gets sent to the nose after eating may help us to solvel this medical mystery…
The true cause of after-meal nose itch: ‘Eating Histamine’!
What do all these itchy-nose foods have in common?
- Soy sauce (and Chinese Food)
- Red Wine
- Mature Cheese (and pizzas)
- Cured Hams
- Tomato puree
- Fish and shell-fish
I had no clue until I discovered that all these tasty things naturally contain large amounts of histamine. Remember that problematic chemical that is released during allergies? The very same chemical that is released by the immune system during an allergic reaction is in lots of our foods!
Eating Histamine sounds dangerous! Should I be concerned?
Unless you’re planning on ingesting an industrial amount of histamine, eating the histamine found in food doesn’t cause a problem in most people: It all gets broken down and digested during eating. Occasionally some unfortunate people’s bodies aren’t able to destroy histamine and so every time they eat any foods high in histamine they get severe ‘allergy-like’ symptoms. They are missing an enzyme in their guts and they are ‘histamine intolerant‘; such people can have severe problems (sneezing, wheezing, rashes and diarrhoea).
My wife and I don’t have ‘histamine intolerance’; we only get mild nose itching when we eat lots of these foods. Quite a few people I have spoken to also say they get an itchy nose when they do the same. My conclusion is that if any of us eat enough histamine-rich food then some will end up in our bloodstream and give you an itch! And with blood flowing to your nose and face anyway because you are eating; these small amounts of histamine will tend to end up irritating the tip of your nose!
What about itchy palms?
I have failed to find conclusive evidence to show that histamine is the cause of itchy palms but reactions to histamine can be very individual: some feel itches, some headaches, other people may get sneezes.
The most recent research suggests that 1% of us have histamine intolerance: and most people don’t know it! If you experience bothersome headaches, bad facial flushing, rashes or itches when eating these foods then you may have histamine intolerance.
If this is you then it may be worth trying a low-histamine diet: it’s the closest thing you’ll get to a cure.
My Nobel Prize Awaits?
This is (to my knowledge) the first explanation of the common ‘post-meal nose itching’ phenomenon. There has been research that agrees with my explanation, but I will need to scientifically prove it in order to apply for a Nobel Prize!
All I need to do in is arrange an “experiment” where ‘subjects’ eat a selection of histamine-rich foods (such as pizzas, chinese food, hams and cheeses) and drinking red wine and beer, and then tell me how much their nose itches.
INTERESTED IN THIS SORT OF STUFF? I’ve been part of a team that has just launched a new (free) bi-monthly magazine which aims to deliver more of the same. It all started on 1st June 2011 – Check it out here!
Thanks for reading – comments and feedback are warmly welcomed!
RELATED POST: The Mystery of the Meat Sweats!
DISCLAIMER: All of the writing in ‘Doctor Stu’s Science Blog’ are intended for educational and entertainment purposes only. Please do not base your healthcare decisions on the information contained in this blog: Always see your GP first!
Maintz L, Novak N. Histamine and histamine intolerance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007
Wöhrl S, Hemmer W, Focke M, Rappersberger K, Jarisch R. Histamine intolerance-like symptoms in healthy volunteers after oral provocation with liquid histamine. Allergy Asthma Proc. 2004 Sep-Oct;25(5):305-11.
Zopf Y, Baenkler HW, Silbermann A, Hahn EG, Raithel M. The differential diagnosis of food intolerance. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2009 106;(21):359–369
Hadley, C. Food Allergies on the rise? EMBO reports (2006) 7, 1080 – 1083
Madsen, C (2005) Prevalence of food allergy: an overview. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 64: 413-417 Cambridge University Press
Vorvick, L (2008) Chinese Restaurant Syndrome. available online at:http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001126.htm
Williams AN, Woessner KM. Monosodium glutamate ‘allergy’: menace or myth? Clin Exp Allergy. 2009 May;39(5):640-6. Epub 2009 Apr 6
299 responses to “The Mystery of the Itchy Nose!”
I am very pleased to have the answer to my question solved!! I will gladly nominate you for a nobel peace prize 🙂
Thanks! I was hoping for a Prize in Medicine, still if my discovery increases peace – that’s great!
My nose seems to itch whenever both my hands are full and helpless!!! Lol. Any studies being done on this???
Me, too! Everytime I start doing some clean task, like preparing food, I get a violent itch, usually on the face, scalp, or back. It’s hard to ignore, and it makes me clumsy. Just like you said, it comes when my hands are fully occupied and I need to keep them clean.
My scientific explanation for this phenomenom is that there is an invisible troll lurking around who likes to tickle me to make me drop things. I’m not really joking, either. This ‘entity’ could be something created by my own mind, or emerged from the collective unconcious, but for all intents and purposes, behaves like an autonomous being.
Hi Try this Every day if you can.
1 Small Tea spoon Margosa powder with Half a Glass Hotwater (Empty Stomach) Try this for 3 months and see the majic.
Hi! sorry to hijack the post,i couldn’t find where to write my own
anyway, itchy nose like I’m about to sneeze while eating. Usually coincides with a quick burst of intergestion and mostly happens when i eat Rolls or sandwiches. But not every time. Some times the roof of my mouth itches too.
(Last one was bread, butter, ham and s&p)
I, too, seem to get an itchy AND runny nose–and sneezing–after i eat bread/wheat products. I am NOT glucose-intolerant, nor do i get any digestive issues, but it does seem that this happens when i do eat bread (and just happened after a cup of mass-produced hot chocolate, but i don’t do either that OR bread very often).
I have another challenge for you to win the nobel prize. I get that itch inside my nose ALL the time, not after any particuar food. I so desperately want to know WHY is that? Any clue? You think it is because of the food and then just continues for hours?
I know I should visit the doctor…
I can’t believe this helped me SO much thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wow – what an interesting article, and may I offer the services of my husband and I as guinea pig volunteers…
Dave and I ate a chinese takeaway and drank a bottle of red wine about an hour ago (including fearsomely hot&spicy ribs!). We are monitoring our symptoms closely, but I’m not sure itchy noses have reared their heads yet :o(
I have itchy shins and elbows, and am aching all over – but they are more likely due to a lazy moisturising regime, and going for a run yesterday for the first time in 4 months. Dave is tired and weary, but he may have a cold coming on – unless it’s the drink.
Keep up the brilliant blogs!
Great! My first two volunteers… I’m looking forward to ‘experiment day’!
We took a straw pole this evening with some friends for itchy-nose syndrome…
No one had it!!!
There must be more than us who get itchy noses…??
Thanks Louise – ask Dave for some new moisturiser this Xmas! 😉
I get an itchy nose real bad when I am in the kitchen cooking dinner and it itches all the way thru the meal and for awhile afterwards. This happens very often. But not only when I start cooking. It happens to me most of the time when we go out to eat also. There is nothing more annoying than to have an itchy nose while you are trying to eat. Do you have the answer to my problem?
I definitely get an itchy nose. It drives my husband crazy. Mostly when I drink caffeine or very spicy foods. Which happens a lot. I had a thought…I get itchy when I run do to poor circulation, if blood flows to your face and you have semi bad circulation could that do it as well since some foods cause changes in the blood
I get this!!! I have forever been trying to figure out why!! My fingers also swell and my nose itches so bad I want to rip it off my face! Always after eating at a sushi restaurant, eating nuts (other than peanuts), drinking a Caesar, or eating shrimp. These all seem to be a trigger now that I’ve been paying attention to them but I have never had any food allergy testing done. I’m glad I’m not the only one! If you find a cure let me know!
Finally – someone else who knows what an itchy nose is! It’s an itch so fierce that you literally need to scratch your nose right off your face! No amount of scratching will bring any kind of relief, and you are left with a very sore nose. I can tell you it is not Chinese food in general – it is certain spices. I have narrowed one of the spices down to paprika. This one affects me right away. However, I don’t know what the other, or others are, but I can tell you one is an ingredient in Thai green curry. Perhaps lemon grass, or kafir lime leaves. I can also tell you that this one has a delayed reaction, and kicks in after I’ve gone to bed and wakes me out of a sound sleep to find I’ve got the most unbearable itch, which I scratch until my nose is raw. Obviously, it prevents me getting back to sleep. On the other hand, by sheer coincidence, I’m watching ‘Food Unwrapped’ on the telly, and it seems they’ve come to the conclusion the cause is MSG, (which I have heard of, but thought it was a type of salty additive).
Glad I’m not alone, either. To be clear, it’s the outside of the nose that itches. And I don’t get a runny nose. Most of what I’ve seen online when I google itchy nose is about inside the nostrils. That’s not my problem. For me, I almost never experience this when I’m awake. The itch wakes me up sometime between 1 and 4 am and drives me crazy for an hour or so. I lie in bed scratching for momentary relief and then the itch comes back. I finally get up to try something else. Washing with soap, using alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, or using lotion doesn’t usually help. Once or twice it helped to put a band-aid on my nose. I’ve never known what caused it, whether it was food, chemicals, or a bad recurring dream. It seems to happen to me every couple of months or so. The last time it happened, the only thing out of the ordinary I had eaten was chocolate covered peanuts, and I don’t think it’s the peanuts. I’ll test out the MSG and paprika, though.
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I have been questioning this annoyance for a year now…I can’t thank you enough for this blog! I no longer have to suddenly react as though I just indulged in a fair share of drugs while in the presence of business associates or my boyfriend while fine dining! Thanks!
A pleasure to help! Keep on enjoying the fine dining… 🙂
I am getting itchy nose in a few minutes after eating anything.
Sounds like my immune system releases histamin to food. I scratch my nose really hard few times, get a relief and it goes away. Who knows why?
It’s always difficult to tell with things like this… An itchy nose sounds like it could be due to histamine (although it might be other things). It’s probably worth trying to see if there is a pattern to when you get your itchy nose. Is it certain foods? Hot foods, cold foods? Certain times of the day or in certain places??
I have a very itchy nose on/off benadral helps alot could it be almonds or walnuts that is what i have increased in my diet over the past few months not right after i eat maybe a few hours later Thank Youi
I understand that peanuts, cashews and walnuts have a fair amount of histamine in them. It can be notoriously difficult to work out what causes these types of symptoms. Benadryl contains an antihistamine (Diphenhydramine) that will work against runny nose/itchy nose problems. Such symptoms could be due to a mild nut allergy, histamine intolerance or even something in the environment (e.g. grass pollen) that perhaps you haven’t thought of.
A ‘few’ hours seems like a long time for it to be because of something you are eating – but could be possible.
Histamine intolerance would mean symptoms after eating ANY histamine rich food (a bit more information is here: http://www.michiganallergy.com/food_and_histamine.shtml) whereas a nut allergy will only occur with nuts.
I’m not an expert, but helpful suggestions for anyone might be:
– Try to remove JUST ONE thing from your diet for several days to see if it helps (see http://foodallergies.about.com/od/diagnosingfoodallergies/p/eliminationdiet.htm for more info) – such elimination diets must be done carefully and would be best done under the guidance of a doctor or other suitably qualified professional.
– Always seek medical advice if symptoms are worrying or troublesome
Hope that this helps!
I’ve had this issue since I was a kid … my mom used to say I was going to rub my nose right off my face … and I’m always trying to find the issue. I’m finally getting allergy testing and all airborne allergies came back as negative triggers. I’m posting on your comment because oddly enough I had a really bad attack earlier today for lunch and the only new item on the menu? Walnuts in my salad 😉
The itching makes so much more sense now! I have been trying, for the longest time, to figure out what the heck was making my nose itch like crazy when I eat certain things. It used to be most noticeable while eating lasagna…and sometimes when I ate sandwiches or spaghetti/pasta, but not always. Which made it difficult to pinpoint what ingredient might be causing it. I think it might get worse if you start combining ingredients…like the cheese and tomato puree in a lasagna. Thanks for your informative post!
Thanks for getting in touch Zana!
It’s odd isn’t it? I only get itching rarely, but my wife always notices it after lasagne (particularly if she enjoys it with red wine and then chocolates)! Strong cheeses and tomato purée definitely have plenty of histamine in them (a list of histamine-rich foods can be found in this article:http://www.buzzle.com/articles/histamine-rich-foods.html ). Because histamine-rich foods can be foods that you would never associate together (like mushrooms and yoghurt) tracking it down as the cause of the problem can be tricky… Hope you can enjoy pastas and pizzas without too much worry! 🙂
This is personally the best explanation for this ‘syndrome’. I’m from Argentina, and I tried searching for something like this in both languages, english and spanish, ’cause my nose itches REALLY bad when I eat cheese or mayonnaise. Thank you so much, this was kind of an existential question 🙂
Thanks for commenting! I’m delighted I was able to help! 🙂
wow!! thanks ~SO~ much! this has been driving me mad for years! when i asked my doctor about it, she thought maybe it was just my face getting flushed from eating, but i could pinpoint it to sometimes (but not always) being associated with seafood… for example, when i eat sushi, i don’t get itchy nose, which in retrospect, would make sense since i don’t drink red wine with sushi.
…but last night, i had an anchovy heavy dish with red wine and my nose itched so much that i nearly scratched my it off my face. after a bit of googling i stumbled upon your site.
thank you! problem solved, indeed!
Thanks for the comment! I’m really pleased that you found it helpful. Do let me know if cutting out histamine rich foods works 🙂
A very interesting hypothesis! I often get an itchy nose when eating in restaurants, though I don’t recall it happening at home. Here are a few data points for you: I found this post while wondering why I got an itchy nose while eating chicken spring rolls and jacket wedges for dinner (I’d searched previously but not found anything.) I did not get an itchy nose while eating chicken cordon bleu and fries for lunch, or boiled egg and cottage cheese on toast for breakfast. Somebody suggested it could be nerves caused by eating with other people in restaurants, but this evening I ate alone.
So perhaps it was soy sauce or something like that in the spring rolls. I’m not sure what else can be deduced from all that except that the egg came first.
Thanks for the comment Angela!
My first guess would be soy sauce, but if it were histamine intollerance then you would likely experience it with other histamine rich foods (see list above). You could always try soy sauce and other fermented/histamine rich foods to see if you get the same symptoms.
I think it’s difficult to be sure in retrospect, because the amount of histamine in different products varies so much.
You could always try a low-histamine diet (there is a link above) and see if that stops it – but it doesn’t look like a particularly fun diet…
Very nice, now can you explain why, frequently, I sneeze when I drink water or other cold drinks.
Surely there’s no histamine in bottled or tap water?
Interesting! Thanks for the comment Tony, You are quite right – there is no histamine in water!
Not sure why you get the sneezing, although I’ll have a good time trying to work it out:
Occasionally, people have a sneeze reflex on a full stomach (it’s called ‘Snatiation’)! So, it could be possible that drinking causes your stomach to fill rapidly and trigger a sneeze… Could this be you?
Your article was so interesting and helpful!!
I frequently get an itchy nose whilst eating out in resturants – particularly Indian and Mexican – do you think it’s likley to be the histamine?
Could the problem be solved by taking an anti-histamine tablet before meals?
I do find it strange I only get the itchy nose whilst eating out though!
thanks ever so 🙂
It could be histamine, however I am not at liberty to advise on medications you should try – best speak to your family doctor first.
One reason to urge caution is that there may be other ingredients that are triggering these symptoms – as you mention Indian and Mexican food, it could be chillies! Some people have an adverse reaction to chillies (although few as severe as this one: http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2008/09/how-chilis-can-kill.html )
Also, the idea of histamine triggering the common ‘nose itch’ after eating is a hypothesis I have made (and I may be wrong). One good way to find out if histamine is the culprit for you is to try sampling histamine rich foods (e.g. soy sauce, bacon, cured meats, red wine) to see if these trigger an itchy nose. Alternatively, adpot a histamine-free diet and see if the symptoms vanish! (you should speak to a professional/nutritionist before adopting a low histamine diet).
Histamine Rich Foods: http://www.ukmasto.co.uk/Histamine_Rich_Foods.htm
Let me know if you find a solution! 🙂
What a thoughtful article.
The tip of my nose started itching an hour ago, and I recall that I had a sugar-glazed doughnut around that time. Wonder if the one was caused by the other. I dabbed some lotion just now, after reading somewhere that skin irritations are exacerbated by dryness, and the itch has gone away (so far).
Would you know whether it is true – and if so, why – more people seem to be developing allergies to peanuts?
Hi Tina, Thanks for your comment!
You’ve picked up on an interesting point. 🙂
In recent years concern about allergies has escalated hugely. A steady flow of news stories reporting that nut allergies are on the rise is probably at least in part to blame for this.
There is some research to justify these concerns (one research paper – http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(07)01388-7/abstract – calls it an ‘epidemic’ although if you read at the bottom you will see the author has some interesting conflicts of interest!!)
The key points are:
– there has been a slight rise in peanut allergies in recent years (no one knows why)
– children who eat peanuts from an early age are less likely to develop an allergy to it
– A quarter of children with peanut allergies outgrow it
– on the whole, rates of serious peanut allergies are low
– the public fear about peanut allergies seems to be grossly out of proportion to the threat they pose.
Check out http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/15/are-nut-bans-promoting-hysteria/ for an enlightening read.
Hope that helps!
Thank-you for your reply!!
I did begin to wonder if it could be the chilli, however I never actually eat chillis myself as I find my mouth burns terribly!! but it could be in the air?
Strangly, I got the itch in a greek resturant recently, and then I noticed I had it when eating round a family members house, but I never get it at home!! It does perplex me why it only ever happens when im out?
I might give the sampling histamine rich foods a go and see what happens I think, I definitely want to rid this itch!! 🙂
True, it could be in the air. I remember when I was a student working in kitchens that cooking with chillis meant I could feel it getting in my eyes and nose.
It sounds weird, the most scientific way of working it out might be to keep a diary of what you eat and when you get the symptoms. Then you could try to work out which foods give you the itch – and perhaps try them again at another time and see if you get the same symptoms.
It’s often very difficult to work out what it is in food that gives odd symptoms because there’s so many different factors at play – what ingredients were used, the temperature of eating, what was drunk at the meal, etc, etc…
Keep on trooping – I reckon you’ll work it out! I would generally advise against doing a ‘high street’ so-called-allergy test as they are mostly pretty poor and are unlikely to give you the complete answer.
When one is around copper rich people(those who have high copper blood levels)….itchy nose can happen as their bodies try to dump their copper load on you. Also, yin foods can also cause itchy nose….its better to eat yang food to stop itchy nose.
Thank you so much for writing this! My itchy nose has been bugging me for a long time now and since it’s fairly inconsistent i couldn’t figure out what caused it. I get it almost every day but after different meals and it drives me nuts. I’m definitely going to pay more attention to high-histamine foods from now on.
No problem Mel, I hope that you get it sorted 🙂 Would love to know if you find out if high histamine food is what causes your itchy nose.
Hi, Gosh it is good to see I am not alone. I thought I was going crazy. Like Angela, it only happens in restaurants, and not every time and can happen when I drink white wine just as well as red. Maybe it is food related but I would eat similar foods at home without any problems. And it can disappear really quickly when I leave the restaurant, I was wondering if it was cleaning chemicals (in the dishwasher?) or something in the atmosphere? Maybe the notion of it being food related is too obvious?
This exact same thing has been happening to me for at least a year now! Only in restaurants never at home! Every time I go to a restaurant I get an itchy nose and it drives me crazy..my friends were telling me it is all in my head haha.
Looking for answers…and found your site. My question relates to your wife’s itchy nose…but seems more serious. Last Sunday, Father’s Day we ate carry out Chinese & I forgot to mention no MSG. Years ago i had a reaction although different than this present one. This time within an hour i had breathing problems ( i have a nebulizer due to other asthma problems), then later hands became red and terrif8ic itch. Then a headache which i never have! i finally connected the dots to MSG and yesterday ( thought I was getting better)…thinking time would help.but last evening this itching on my hands got worse. This is driving me a bit crazy…any thoughts?
I have discovered aging bring many strange problems! I am 72 & until 3-4 yrs ago life was good! Then a bronco dilator I used only once a day stopped working! Dr sent me to a Pulminologist who diagnosed Mycoplasma Pneumoniae! Didn’t think I actually had an asthmatic condition left from bronchitis years before so prescribed many antibiotics to cure bacteria… made me so sick I ended up in the hospital 6 mos later. Changed Dr’s who put me back on asthma medication and I was better but not great. 2 yrs later after many ups & downs I was finally diagnosed with ABPA….allergic bronco pulmonary aspergillus! Who ever heard of such a thing? I think somewhat rare in this country but prevalent in the UK due to climate. Mine is non invasive at this time…a good thing as people die from the invasive type! Aspergillus is a mold & where I contracted it I have no idea. ( Eventually stumbled on to a very wise Dr Pulmonologist who suspected a trigger to asthma & sent me to his partner, an allergist. I told them i had no allergy’s and i was correct to a point…. no reaction to all of his pricks on my back UNTIL he tried aspergillus on my arm…nearly fainted! So now on prednisone…small amount every other day.) A chronic condition with lots of ups & downs and seem to be affected by many things. Also just discovered i have very low D…so now on large dosed Vit D once a week! Could go on & on but suffice to say i am somewhat of a mess! Now this MSG thing. Any thought on what to do now? i can handle the breathing problem but the extreme itiching is driving me a bit batty! Last evening my husband finished the left over Chinese and i had Lipton’s chicken soup thinking that would be mild and safe…then itching flared again! Must I go on a diet of no MSG which i understand is in nearly everything, to get rid of this? I have had nothing to eat this morning except Sunsweet PlumSmart…a juice with fiber. Maybe there is something in that although it says no gluten. Any thought you might have would be helpful! I am hungry but afraid to eat anything! Maybe an apple!
Thank you for reading my dissertation of health problems…my husband is ready to trade me in for two 20’s!
It sounds like you’re having a time of it. I cannot offer you any specific medical advice (it would not be right, professional or legal for me to do so).
However, if you look at the evidence (as explained in the above article) there is VERY LITTLE (if any) evidence to suggest that MSG is a trigger for symptoms. This is a somewhat contencious issue and many people staunchly believe that MSG can be a trigger for such symptoms. The article I have written above speculates that histamine in food may have caused my wife’s itchy nose because high histamine foods seem to trigger the symptoms in her (although this is purely a hypothesis and not substatiated by scientific studies).
I would always recommend anyone with serious or distressing symptoms to seek professional medical advice (which it sounds as if you are doing) – and if you are considering an exclusion diet to find if there is a dietary factor for your symptoms, then seeing a nutrition specialist should be done. Sadly, there are many reasons to trigger an itch and it may take some time to get to the bottom of it…
I hope apples don’t cause you any problems (personally, I love them)!
Thank-you! I woke up with just the tip of my nose, bright red and verrrry itchy. I was trying to slim down for a wedding…so I was on my 3rd day of eating just home-made minestrone soup for every meal…lots and lots of tomatoes. I know Doc, not smart. I lost 5 lbs but now I have to go to the wedding looking like Rudolph…not a good trade-off.
At least you will fit the dress!?
Thanks for the comment!
Great article you wrote. I just finished with some onion rings from burger king and my nose started itching like crazy!! I usually only really notice my nose itching like this after I eat chinese food or things that are deep fried. And now I know why! Thanks!
Pleased to help 🙂
Onions aren’t known for having high levels of histamine. Well known sources include cheese and some ketchups/relishes. I guess you could try skipping these next time you head to BK and see if it helps?!
Thanks for commenting
I cannot believe I am reading about people with the strange ‘itchy nose in a restaurant’ complaint! I have had this for a few years now and I hate to think that I am allergic to dining out!? That’s just wouldn’t be fair. I too have thought that maybe all these different eating establishments use the same table cleaner but what sort of weird coincidence would that be!? It happens in different countries, with different foods, with different people, with alcohol or without. It even happens before the food even gets to the table! I would LOVE to get to the bottom of this peculiar issue.
Hey Gill, thanks for commenting!
It is amazing how many people have the problem. My theory (and alas, it has yet to be proven… anyone want to do some research??) is that it is histamine that causes the symptom because a) it is common in a lot of modern cuisine b)low levels of histamine intolerance have observed in a significant proportion of ‘normal’ individuals under experimental conditions and c)histamine is a chemical that triggers allergy-like symptoms
If my hypothesis is true, then it could well explain why you experience symptoms in a variety of settings. A fairly decent list of histamine-rich and histamine-releasing foods can be found here: http://www.ukmasto.co.uk/Histamine_Rich_Foods.htm (although if you have access to academic journals e.g. through a University, then you can access more detailed information)
How odd that you experience an itchy nose BEFORE food!!
Something you’ve drunk perhaps? (e.g. beer/wine), or perhaps food is a complete red herring (forgive the pun – another high histamine food 🙂 )
Mmm.. a puzzle – do let us know if you get to the bottom of it.
Also, I’ve also been amazed at how many people have this problem. I wrote this article last November and day in day out it still gets a pretty large number of views and comments…
Maybe one day a definitive answer will be found!!
Very interesting explanation ! the only convincing one on the web !
I have had the itchy-tip-of-nose syndrome since I was about 28-30 – my organism less sensitive to histamine before that ?
I usually have it after wine and sometimes after beer, and now that you make me think about, last time I had it real bad I had had lots of cheese and beer (I thought the latter was the culprit, due to conservatives in it).
What I find amazing is how extremely localised the itch is, and it’s on the left side of the very tip of my nose, in a small area 1-2 mm wide. I don’t understand why the itch concentrates there !?
Bizarre isn’t it?
Can’t offer you a convincing answer I’m afraid. Although, the problem is so widespread I’m considering doing some further (serious) investigation. I might even write a book… (!)
Thanks for commenting 🙂
A great theory, but what about this? I used to wait tables and, before I’d even eaten anything, I would sometimes get an itchy nose. I’ve theorized that certain commercial cleaners might cause this because I never get an itchy nose after eating at home, only in restaurants, and the itching will usually go away as soon as I leave the restaurant or, sometimes, once I’ve washed my face in the bathroom. I’d love to hear your ideas. Thanks!
Mmm… Clearly histamine can’t be the whole story. What could it be that sets it off? Commercial cleaners – I guess it’s possible. I guess one way to find out would be to ask the restaurants what cleaning products they use??
Histamine isn’t the only ‘pruogen’ (chemical to cause itch) – although it is the main one. There are also a variety of different things that can trigger the body to produce ‘prurogens’ and a legion of causes of itch. In fact, the more you explore, the more complicated and confusing the topic becomes.
The story you tell would suggest that there is something in those environments to cause an ‘allergy-like’ response. Quite what it is requires some clever detective work…
Thanks for solving this mystery. The tip of my nose itches like crazy about 10 min. into certain meals, but it only happens when I’m very hungry. Could it also be related to low blood sugar and/or an empty stomach?
Thanks for commenting. I can’t offer you a definite answer. I continue to be staggered how common this problem is – and how many different triggers there are for it. I think I’m going to start contacting some ‘itch experts’ to get some clearer answers. I’ll let you know when I find out 🙂
this has been really helpful as i get a terribly itchy nose after eating chips, pizza, bread, potatos and breaded chicken. It does my head in. It feels like there is hundreds of ants under my skin, also makes me feel sick and bloated.
Thanks for commenting Bexy! I hope you get some resolution to your itchy nose!
I just had an itchy nose as usual from eating something spicy (Curse my love for spicy things!), and felt it was time to atleast google… and found your little research. I feel that the things you’ve pointed out makes sense, and from now, I’m gonna record whenever I get itchy nose to help you out for all our noses sake!
I got one little question on my mind though. Just the other day, I was out and playing airsoft. For the first time I tried on some face camoflage paint. Now, my nose started itching like crazy (at least as bad as spicy stuff)… But only my nose? When I itched my nose until the paint came off.. it got better. I dont have the paint ingredients, but could it be something in it that I’m reacting to, or might the paint have clogged my pores which in turn made it itchy?
Might be un-related so I hope the question doesnt bug you.
Good luck with the research!
Best regards from Sweden
Thanks for the question.
Based on what you’ve said (and other’s comments) – it really does seem as if there is something about the tip of the nose that makes it itch more easily than any other part of the body.
I don’t know why… I’ll have to hunt down an ‘itch expert’…
Will do my best!
Take care 🙂
After one of the early paragraphs I was expecting to see pictures of flowers at the end lol
Did you know my wife is a florist?
Well, imagine my surprise when I googled ‘why do I get an itchy nose after eating out’ – I didn’t really expect anything to come up (then why did I do the search you may ask) – I thought I was the only one. The very tip of my nose itches like crazy only when I eat out (most times but not every time) – it has never happened at home. Judging by the number of people who say they never get it at home, there must be some link here? I wonder if it to do with the napkins/serviettes, rather that the food. i don’t use a serviette at home, but do when eating out – maybe there is some perfume or dye in them that irritates the tip of the nose when wiping your mouth? (this could explain the waiter/ess that suffered the itch too if they are setting the table/clearing tables)
I have no food allergies that I know of, but do suffer from hay-fever in the spring/summer. Tonight I had lasagne in our local pub (so could be the cheese or the tomatoes) and got the itching but I do have lasagne at home too, with no itching. I don’t drink, so beer and wine are not triggers for me. I eat fish out (get itching) and at home (no itching) – so my next step is to have lasagne again at the same pub and not to touch the serviette and see what the results are.
Incidentally, it seems most (if not all) sufferers are female – another link?
Thanks for the article, an interesting read and nice to know I am not alone
PS I’ll volunteer to be a guinea pig for research too 🙂
I’ll count you in for future research!
Wow – plenty to go on here… I think we definitely need to do some experimenting. Perhaps “eating experiments into post-food itchy nose syndrome” could be an entrant for next year’s Ignobel Prize? http://improbable.com/ig/
Anyone care to fund (and cook) for such research for the betterment of humankind?
Thanks for your comment!
Ok so here I was combing the web to hopefully discover that I wasn’t going crazy. I had noticed that my nose would start itching like crazy after eating certain meals. I was shocked last night when I had canned Campbell’s soup and had the same reaction. Much to my amazement only 1 thing was constant with the foods involved. They were all Italian in origin. My 1st thought of course was maybe the seasonings. NOPE. The only constant between all of the dishes was grated Romano cheese. Mind you I am now 39 and have never noticed any sort of reaction to cheeses until now yet I had only recently found 100% grated Romano cheese. Mystery solved! For me at least. This could explain the lasagne in the restaurant giving you issues yet not the dish at home.
I get extremely itchy palms and fingers after drinking red wine. So bothersome that I have considered not drinking it at all. What a horrible life that would be : (. I always felt that it was an allergic reaction. Last night I had red wine AND pizza. What a night that turned out to be. I couldn’t stop scratching my palms until I fell asleep.
This article was so informative and wonderful…. I actually loved the way you wrote all the “HUGE INFORMATION” in such light humorous way…. If it weren’t so, I would have skipped the article after reading one or two lines….yeah em not much of a reader of huge words… LOL….
I suffer the same situation and its very annoying specially when you are out in a posh hotel and you suddenly start scratching your nose….
okay QUESTION TIME….
My nose does itch after random meals so reading your article, I realize its some allergy… But my nose will also itch just RANDOMLY even when I have not eaten anything for a long time….It will just start itching…. any reason why it happens???
P.S: YES I AM ITCHING MY NOSE WHILE WRITING THIS….**scratches nose again** lol
P.S2: **Nominates the Blog in Noble Prize and votes it several times**
I recently had blood test for allergies from a Natural path Doc. I always had itchy nose, ears and throat after eating. I had the skin test done and was told I was allergic to cats, dogs and dust but no food. The natural path Doc. sent my blood work out and a month later the overwhelming response was that I was allergic to eggs and all things dairy. I already didn’t eat much dairy due to tummy aches. But never thought of eggs. I have taken eggs out of my diet and most all dairy. Now on the occasion that I accidentally eat an egg or eat something that has dairy in it my face, nose and ears explode in immediate itching and burning.
written well .it has helped,thanking you
This explains alot!! I just ate Popeye’s chicken and dip in ranch and the tip of my nose itched like crazy. I’t happens to me occasionally, but not so much or noticeably that I’ve raise the question or did any research but this time if was very noticeable.. I have been on a healthy eating diet for about 2 weeks, and I out the blue I ate Popeyes bad decision I guess, lol. But yes I think this is exactly what happening, I had no idea there were other people out there with the same thing… Thank you for this expatiation!
No problem – I’m trying to get in touch with some ‘itch researchers’ (yes they do exist!) to see if I can find out more 🙂
Thanks for commenting
My son is lactose intolerance and eats very little. He is on a special dietary formula via a peg. When he eats small amounts of food, eg. hot chips and now calamari and mayonaise his nose itches like crazy. I always thought it was the salt? I noticed recently the mayonaise has msg in it. What do they all have in common? We also avoid chicken salt as every time he has had chicken salt on chips he has had a seizure. I will keep a diary of when and what he eats and reactions. We see the dietician tomorrow so I will be asking more questions. Thanks again.
Thanks for your comment Tanya,
It would be very interesting to hear what the dietician concludes…
I occasionally get an itchy nose after eating. After monitoring it for the past year or so I found that it was mostly when I ate fish. Tonight I got the itchy nose after eating pasta and drinking red wine, so I googled it to see what else it might have been. Seems that your findings are quite correct! I also suffer from hayfever during spring so it makes sense that eating foods high in histamines would affect me.
Hello – I get the itchy nose but I have never been able to pinpoint why! Not all wine makes me itch but it has happened often enough when drinking wine that I recognize it is a trigger. I used to blame lemons but that is not consistent either. My first remembered itchy experience was after having lunch with somebody that squeezed lemons into her tea and I assumed that set me off. This is sporadic and can last for hours and in some instances I cannot barely get to sleep at night. I will take a wet rag to bed with me to continually wipe my face to hopefully sleep. Sometimes I will not experience for months and then suddenly wham! Typically this affects just my nose but I have noticed when it is bad my arms and sometimes hands will have itchy spots.
I am careful not to change shampoo and soap to much as I have found that certain products have set me off. Those are usually the worst episodes too! I blame on the product because it was typically after I tried something new and if I stopped the itching would appear to stop. It really is hard to diagnose the cause. In addition, I have not found anything that relieves the itching off the allergy shelf. I did get tested for allergies several years back and it was all negative.
Brill – Thank you so much for this article. I was in Pizza express today and along came my itchy nose as always. It really annoys me – and stops me enjoying my food near the end of dinner. I sit with a cold beer glass on it to try and cool it down! Do you think it would help taking an anti histamine before going for dinner?
I’m afraid I couldn’t offer you any specific medical advice – always see your doctor about any new or troublesome symptoms. 😦
My ears itch internally (the itching is very intense too) after eating anything spicy such as salsa or any food prepared with hot peppers. Dose anyone else have this problem?
Mine do too! I would be very curious to see if anyone has an explanation.
No itchy nose for me, but i get a runny nose and sometimes a few sneezes after a glass (and sometimes even after just a sip) of red wine. I also get a little flushed, hot palms, a little sweaty, and lots of sinus draining. Is that still the same histamine issue in effect?
Histamine can also form in seafood that is not stored consistently in correct temperatures. The following gives a simple background which I found interesting:
Click to access histamines_summary.pdf
Oh gtreat, I am not insane after all, i just itch like a maniac during my meals. I will have to pay more attention to what I eat. I thought it was possibly the iodine in the salt.
I would tend to disagree with parts of what is said in the article. It seems to be an opinion, and not fact derived from scientific tests, and this type of article can be misleading. I suffer from food intolerences from a range of foods that cause itching to the roof of my mouth, sneezing, runny nose and some other symptoms. I have had food tests done by York Laborotories [www.yorktest.com], which test a blood sample for anti-bodies for over 200 basic food types. The test is known as the Eliza test. Doctors routinley use this test in Germany, USA, France, but the BMA here in the UK is against it because of the extra cost to the NHS. I had to pay to have it done privately. The test suggests that some of us can become allergic or intolerent to one or more food types. I am intolerent to about 6 things, none of which are listed in the article, but the symptoms are the the same; I am not aware that any of the foods I have the symptoms for are high in histamines, hence I do not believe in a direct connection as suggested in the article. You need to show this to be true scientifically before making comments that could alter peoples eating patterns unnecesarily; people are naturally like sheep when in comes to food scares. Once I abstained from tested foods which I was intolerent to, all my symptoms dissappeared. I sometimes do cheat and have them, since its a low-level intolerence, but tend to avoid these foods on the whole. I have never felt better.
Thanks for your comments,
You are absolutely correct and it is worth reinforcing that this article is entirely speculative. A disclaimer is at the bottom of the post – and any person reading this post should always consult a medical professional before attempting any kind of exclusion diet, or coming to any conclusion without undergoing necessary investigations.
Yes, as the suggested ‘experiment’ at the end of the post (obviously conducted in a properly randomised controlled manner) would be necessary to go anyway to providing any real evidence.
The post represents a (hopefully) interesting hypothesis for what appears to be a rather widespread symptom and could be an avenue worthy of further investigation. The basis of the hypothesis is simple:
1) histamine is a prurogen
2) it is found in a range of foods that were also the same that induce my wife’s itch
3) a relative degree of histamine intollerance has been found in a proportion of the population, higher than previous knowledge presumed (see references) based on one well conducted investigation
4) those with histamine intollerance experience allergy-like symptoms when eating high histamine foods
Please, do not make any personal medical decisions based on this (entirely speculative and light-hearted) post 🙂
There are studies done in the UK that have been done that suggest that allergies and food intolerences have spiraled since chlorines and fluorides were introduced into our water supply to kill of germs and parasites. Our intestinal tracts hold what we all know to be good bacteria, which in turn form the gut flora. Studies have shown a direct correlation to poor gut flora and higher levels of food allergies & intolerences. When water companies were given the go-ahead by goverment to use fluorides and other chemicals, a direct result was an impact on gut flora. Since the late 70s & early 80s a generation of children who grew up with these chemicals in the water have now ended up with more intolrences than ever in history. The powers-that-be believe this is a small price to pay for a cheaper way to obtain water free of germs. It’s not known extactly how good bacteria help us in this way, but its know that killing them off with checmicals over time results in a population with allergies. The establichment knows about this, but would rather keep quiet and bring their own kids up on bottled water.
Interesting, but I get a severe itchy nose and throat almost every morning about 10 min. after I wake up. It is really bad sometimes and my nose runs like a faucet!!!!! Its so irritating. Sometimes my ears itch along with it. It does not matter if I eat anything or not. If I drink anything or not. This started about 6 or 7 years ago. I’ve been to an allergist. Meds do help some, but I have to almost overdose on them. Help!
I believe a culprit to itching is red dye as well. So many of our foods contain this dye. I sometimes get a reaction after eating and realized all the items were red in color. (strawberry yogurt, cherry jolly rancher, red wine, etc.)
I itch all over especially scalp, palms, and feet. I have to get a Benadryl right away or I’ll go nuts.
What do you think?
I’ve been trying to find out for years what causes my itchy nose. I don’t have to eat anything in particular to get it. I got it tonight whilstI was cooking. I hadn’t even got any spices out when it started & I was only cooking a variety of vegetables.
In severe cases the tip of my nose is rubbed red raw & the itching last hours, despite applying cold water/ice/washing face/applying creams etc, etc. Any suggestions as to why this happens when I haven’t even eaten anything to set it off?
Very interesting, thank you! My mother frequently has an itchy nose when we all get together over dinner, and to date we have always made fun of her and said that it’s nerves. But I have just eaten sweet and sour chicken and about half way through my nose started to itch like mad. I then recalled that exactly the same thing happened a couple of weeks ago when I had sweet and sour chicken! So I searched on the internet, and here I am! Sounds like soy sauce could be the culprit.
So maybe my mother has reactions to histamine after all. Bless her. We’ve all ribbed her so much about it… 🙂
i get this itchy nose syndrome too occasionally with certain foods tends to be bread when im out on burgers buns or nann breads ive had it too at home doesnt seem too bad when im out i get it quite a lot very strange thought it was just me who got it x
V interesting. I was googling what causes red itchy eyes and came across your blog. I’m 52 and have recently started to develop itchy red eyes, just around the eyelid area. Thinking about what I might be using/eating/drinking I started to suspect red wine might be the cause as it seems to happen after I’ve had a glass or two. So thanks for this, however I’m not giving up the red wine so may have to blame something else!
Thank you so much. I often have an itchy nose due to perfume, pet and pollen allergies. I just started noticing that my nose sometimes itches after I eat. Your blog has been extremely helpful. Now I know what foods to avoid.
I had strawberries after my lunch then spaghetti bolognaise (tomato purée) for my eve meal followed by more strawberries and all eve & night my nose has been itching like crazy! I had no clue why & on your normal to pain scale it was an itch close to painful! Thanks for your informative blog I’ve now taken some piriton 🙂
Today I Google search and found very useful answer to my problem. I got post-meal nose itching almost after every meal. I could not identify I got histamine issue or not, because I got itchy nose even with my normal meal like a kind of meat curry and some vegetables. I am an Asian and most of my meal cooked by myself in my own way. But I realized my nose itch seriously after I ate fish or seafood or Indian dishes.My nose itching relieved in about two or three hours after meal. I think it is very embarrassing because sometimes I could not help myself rubbing my nose during my meal. Moreover my nose itch after I used perfumes. Is that a sign of I have histamine intolerance?
Hi, Doctor Stu! Thanks for your explanation! My itching is really not bad and only lasts a few minutes, along both sides of my jaw line and in front of my ears. I was just curious as to what it was so I decided to google tonight and found your blog. I had narrowed it down to either onions or tomatoes. Since I tend to cook with both a lot, it has been difficult to pin it down to just one. The other day, I ate some meat loaf that had a lot of onion in it and only a tad of the tomato on top. I started the itching and thought, ok, it’s onions. But the next day, I hate a fresh tomato and bacon sandwich and started itching… Tonight, I ate a fresh tomato sandwich but I peeled the tomato and I haven’t had one itch! So, I’m back to still trying to figure out which it is, the onion or the tomato… But, like I said, it isn’t a very bad itch and doesn’t last long so I really don’t have much to worry about. Thanks again!
In my family, (from mother’s side – also her sisters, and some of my cousins) my daughter and one of my sons- we all have what we call “the chicken itch”. We will have itchy skin- from hands to itchy face, soles of the feet-after eating chicken – it lasts for an hour or so. I thought it may be due to additives put in the chicken- but I have experienced this with game fowl, pheasant and quail my husband has hunted and I have prepared at home- no additives. Some family members do not eat chicken because of this, but most of us eat it and deal with the consequences. The white meat is worse than the dark meat. I have also had the itching from very lean white pork and salmon.
“However, after decades of in-depth research it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that MSG is safe to eat.”
I stopped reading after I saw this. I love how you failed to include a source. What research? What decades? And more importantly who’s research? Obviously not your own. How much is the food industry paying you to write that?
It’s sad to see the medical community still turning out the same westernized drug pushing bought and paid true ‘Hypocritical Oath’ doctors that we see today and sadly it seems you’re no different.
Before you say I come from a place of not knowing I’ve worked along side your kind for many a years.
When will the medical community change from the business of drugging and treating to prevention and curing. My guess is never unfortunately, way too much money involved.
The reason why you didn’t give much thought to dietary habits prior to your wife’s condition is because as you yourself stated, It’s really not part of your job. When was the last time you questioned a patient about his dietary habits, specifically things like processed foods, MSG, High Fructose, and other Excitoxins? My guess is never and I’d wager quite heavily on it!
Facts about the dangers of MSG, easily available by doing a simple google search, so ignorance is not an excuse.
MSG — monosodium glutamate — a chemical that has been associated with reproductive disorders, migraine headaches, permanent damage to the endocrine system, brain cell death, leading to obesity and other serious disorders.
More info. can be found on this link with cited sources from actual unbiased research…
Bottom line, MSG is a real food allergy for many people. I’ve known plenty of friends and family members first hand that have had severe allergic reactions to the ingestion of MSG.
Why don’t more doctors like the one who wrote this article warn you about it? Because of this other simple fact…
“People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food.” – Wendell Berry
Pay no attention to scientific articles published in peer reviewed journals. Google as truth litmus test? If “facts” that conform to one’s bias turn up in a Google search, then they must be true – according to “your kind.”
Any time I eat something greasy, I notice my nose itches fiercely–it dawned on me one day that this was the cause when I saw my dog rubbing her face on the carpet after giving her a couple of bites of fish baked with some butter. I rarely give her “treats” like this and know she was being affected the same way. I finally washed my face with soap and the itching stopped.
everytime my nose itch, i apply cold compress.. and it actually works 🙂
My daughter gets an itchy nose when she reads to me. She is 9 it’s ears old and I don’t know if this is a habit or if something is causing it to itch. Any ideas? Thanks, Karen
I have been searching for so long for some sort of explanation! This makes complete sense. My nose itches horribly after I eat most of the time–ESPECIALLY if I eat fast food or anything with a substantial amount of salt. It is bothersome, I thought that I may have been touching my face while eating causing the reaction, but after observing for the past few weeks that’s definitely not what it is. The Thanksgiving ham probably was the culprit this past holiday! Thank you for looking for into depth with this, interested to see where this takes you!
Wow thanks so much for finding this out. You are amazing!
I’ve had itchy nose syndrome for years and have always wondered why. I’d be glad to be a participant in a study if there ever is one. Now that I see some of the possible causes, I’m going to pay closer attention to what I’ve eaten when it starts. Over the years I’ve developed other odd itches, including initial sun sensitivity which results in hives and an irritating and persistent lower leg deep itch. I’ve gone to dermatologists and tried every cream there is to no avail. What is it that I’m reacting to?
Appreciate your thoughts and insights, Dr. Stu, and your attempts to solve your wife’s nose issues. You sound like a nice guy. Now if you could just solve mine.
I just ate dried fish and a dozen of quail eggs, now i got itchy nose.
yes!! itchy nose post meal syndrome solved! i have been wondering about this for years.. i could never really pin it down to any particular food/drink. it is not terribly disruptive, just curious and a little annoying. i had a tofu stir fry with peanut sauce tonight, and my nose started feeling twitchy. i am so glad i found this blog! mystery solved!
Thank you for the info I can somehow explain why my nose gets itchy after eating. I often experience this before after eating dinner. And when I’m already asleep, the itchy nose syndrome happens. It is so annoying that rubbing it cant remove the itchyness. I can still remeber some few instances that it happened to me, one was after eating shawarma (persian food) with rice and another common scenario is after eating french fries. I really wanna find the reason because after I ate lunch today I experienced it again. I ate grilled chicken with soy sauce. I think that common among the food that gets my nose itchy is that they are all oily. The only thing that somehow relieves me is squeezing my nose until some oil on it come out( it is quite gross because it is as if having facial where you remove white heads).
my complaint is when i’m out in the cold my nose constantly itch’s inside and out. I don’t have the problem any other time. Its really embarrassing because i end up looking like rudolf lol
I’m having itchy nose every time i use soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, catsup, gravy with my food. Same thing happens when i eat spicy food and chips with cheese powders or even salty food. It’s very itchy and it lasts for like 30minutes to an hour. It even happens while i am still eating. It’s so irritating but ofcourse who can eat without the sauces? What could be the reason behind this?
All kinds of gravy or instant only?
This issue is new to me. While eating just now I did happen to notice the sensation of fluids being pushed up through the roof of my mouth. I think chewing and swallowing creates a pressure that is pushing saliva mixed with foods up into the nasal cavity causing a histamine reaction. Could also explain why my ears sometimes ache when I eat dairy or sugar, it’s making it’s way through my sinuses. I wonder if this always happens but sinus/histamine issues develop with certain individuals.
Hi Christine, there seem to be many many odd symptoms that are apparently triggered by foods. Bear in mind that histamine is only an (untested) theory and if any symptoms are troubling or getting worse, general advice would be to see a medical practitioner to rule out any serious conditions.
thought provoking article! I seem to get an itchy nose whenever I eat non-organic onion. That triggers it every time. If I eat organic onion, I don’t seem to get an itchy nose most of the time. There have been now 2 cases where I’ve bought organic onions (or in the case of today’s, no pesticides but not certified organic – from a local farmers market) and either they lied or there’s more to this equation because my nose started itching like crazy 5 minutes into my curried veggies this eve. Now that I’ve had my fill, my nose has almost entirely stopped itching after just a few minutes (<5) post-meal.
Hi Wendy – could it be the variety of onion, rather than whether it is organic or not? It would be worthwhile trying to get identical onion varieties from organic/ non-organic sources and testing them. Better yet, get someone to blindfold you so you don’t know which is which. Let me know how it goes 🙂
Just went onto the internet to see if I could find out what causes an itchy nose. Was itching like crazy today. Guess what I had last nite? Pizza and Sangria. Had more pizza for lunch today, and the itching started close to dinnertime. Now I know. Thanks so much!
I’m glad I found this article after I finally got annoyed(enough to take time to google it) by the pesky itch I get often….
I hadn’t put together the fact that I just ate, and on top of that some of it was cheese.
This is good to know.
Thanks for feeding our curious minds!!!
can’t wait to share!
I’m glad I found the solution. But, how do I cure this “Itchy Nose”. I just realized that the foods you listed were the ones I ate.
Right. Now I’m going back to my local restaurant and am going to order nothing, but just be there for a while and see if it happens. If its environmental, I’ll let you know. I get itchy nose every time I eat there, and never anytime else.
I love the way you can find answers to such random questions on t’internet!
For the umpteenth time my five yr old has complained of a madly itchy nose following a tomato-based dinner, so I decided to find out if anyone else suffered such an odd affliction. Now I know! So what now? Is it cruel or even dangerous to continue feeding him such family stables as spaghetti Bolognese? Will it ever go away? Should I have a bottle of antihistamine on hand after tomatoey meals?
Loved the blog, by the way. Will be reading more. I find this kinda stuff fascinating. Thanks!
I wouldn’t advise an antihistamine. This is a (my) purely untested theory. Generally the best way to find out whether something is causing a symptom is to try not eating specific food/ingredient and see whether it goes away.
Good luck in your search!
I get an itchy nose when I get too warm. It’s desperately annoying in summer and the only way I have found to get rid of it is to cool my body down until I’m quite cold then it eases and doesn’t come back till I get too warm again. I’m traditionally quite a cold person and I think it has more to do with not very good temperature regulation. When I’m hot I’m too hot and when I’m cold I’m too cold!
I was lying on my bed with the i-Pad. It so happened that the i-Pad fell on top of nose. It hurt me.
From that time onwards, I am feeling my nose itchy, the itchiness a person receives when he/ she is about to sneeze.
Why does this occur?
I often get an itchy nose, eyes (sometimes they water), and itchy face after preparing the food for my family and before I even begin eating?? Then once I begin to ingest the meal all of the symptoms get much worse. Tonight, for example, we had pizza I baked at home, and a salad I prepared. The salad had onions, tomatoes, carrots, romaine, and Kalamata olives. I was so itchy I almost couldn’t finish my meal. Any idea why I would start itching prior to ingesting the food?? If so please email me. Thank You.
This all makes so much sense. I decided to look up itchy nose cause I’ve been sitting here scratching my nose for the last half hour and it’s not the first time that’s happened. Interestingly enough, I just ate some pizza… Wondering if something similar may be causing interesting symptoms in my cousin. Every time she eats, she gets really cold. Even in summer, she will bring a jacket to a restaurant because she knows she’s going to get really cold when she starts eating.
Thank you! Finally I know why the nose itches when I drink wine!
Thank you for a well researched and thought provoking article, especially like that you detail references to articles at the end. I’m still not convinced MSG is ok to eat, its nothing to do with allergies and more to do with how eating “take away food” amounts of it is meant to mess with your body clock, circadian rhythms. I know the study below is in rats, but was wondering if you had done any research into/or had further details about the negative effects of MSG in this context. http://www.ijnpnd.com/article.asp?issn=2231-0738;year=2012;volume=2;issue=3;spage=251;epage=257;aulast=Kumaravel
Many thanks again for your lovely blog and your excellent research skills.
Superb article – I was just googling the subject as I noticed I always get an itchy nose eating raw strawberries and raw peas – I was assuming it was the chemicals they spray them with but you raise some very interesting other theories. Very amusingly written too 🙂
Yes, the itching nose phenomenon seems to be set off by all sorts (as the wealth of comments shows!). Sadly little actual research into the issue – so who really knows!?
I love the way you’re investigating things like that though, merely at a comment from your wife or for similar reasons. There are loads of things, especially medical, which we wonder about but no-one seems to get around to answering those type of questions, only the totally serious complaints get investigated. Keep up the brilliant work!
I am so so glad to be reading this. Since I can remember my nose have itched when even near food – but only sometimes thought. About 1 out of ten times. And sometimes (especially in restaurants) it itches so much people actually start staring at me because my whole face gets red from scratching then I just leave ='( haha. BUT I also get super itchy when I sit on some types of wood. I actually have to get up and stand. So the worst was the other day I was in an Asian restaurant and I couldn’t sit because my butt/legs got so itchy, my nose was itching and after I ate I got so sick from the food. Maybe I have an acute case?? #cantdeal. But thanks for the info!!
THANK YOU!!!! I feel like I finally found an answer to my mystery. I am so happy your wife challenged you.
Great post about a mysterious symptom. I’d like to add something about histamine intolerance. It is possible to have delayed reactions and the reaction may not happen each and ever time an offending substance is encountered or ingested. As far as my personal research goes, this is what I’ve learned. Think of a person with histamine intolerance as having an empty drinking glass which holds their histamine. Each time they eat something with histamine it goes into that “glass.” The body might be able to break down some of it, but the excess remains in the glass. They take in more and the glass continues to fill. If their glass is not full when they ingest the food high in histamines on that given day, they might not react. However, if the taken in more histmamine and overfill their personal “glass” then they will react in their own unique way. This is further complicated if the person has other allergies or other bodily issues which cause histamine production. So it isn’t just what the histamine intolerant person eats that fills their glass, but everything they encounter in life. On days when fighting seasonal allergies the glass might get filled much faster and the body may be far less able to break down what is taken in.
Hope this helps. My doc believes I am histamine intolerant. It is a bear to grasp the finer points. The summary is: you can react on one day and not another due to histamine levels in the body. You can react with a delayed reaction if you weren’t quite overfilled with histamine at the time you ate the food but your body later created additional histamine for another reason (ie more food with histamine or allergies or illness.)
Thanks for sharing your experiences LM!
hey…thnx but u did not really solved my problem or gave a suitable answer to it whatever foods u said are causing the itchy nose are far away from my diet . well…..I guess its due to cold drinks or milk products cauz I feel the itching motsly when I consume them if u can tell whether I am right or wrong I would b really thankfull
I occasionally get a really really itchy nose after eating. It tends to be when I’m eating out but I do sometimes get it at home. I never thought there could be an actual behind it – always thought it was just a coincidence but now you have highlighted the foods most likely to cause it I’ll be keeping an eye on what I’ve eaten when it happens! Thanks!
This happens to my mother and I VERY often when we eat food! Can it be genetic since my mom gets this itchy nose as well? Hmm! Thanks for the insight.
I’ve been having that problem more and more lately! It seems to happen when I have dairy products. I now order my Starbucks with soy rather than milk. We usually only use non-dairy products in my household because my son has dairy and gluten allergies that we discovered last year through igg blood testing. So we use coconut oil, coconut or almond milk, etc. Point being, since my husband and I have basically eliminated dairy (except for cheese for us), whenever I have dip, I react. We were in Florida a few weeks ago and I had the same itchy nose reaction to bang bang shrimp. We bought benadryl cream and tablets. It’s becoming more frequent for me and I look like Rudolph when I’ve consumed one of the assailants!
I have occasional itching of the tip of my nose but is not food related. The last time it happened I was in the car and hadn’t eaten since the night before? What could that be?
I get it when I eat popcorn as well, it might be the butter or salt that causes it. It always happens on the tip of the nose and is hard to avoid. I try to wash the area with cold water, but that doesn’t always work. Perhaps because of the popcorn oil or salt being on the fingers even after washing off, and touching the affected area with it. The more you touch your skin, the worse the itching becomes.
I figure it’s my blood though and perhaps a rush of niacin, which is a chemical in your blood, that you often get from many foods and is important for blood flow. If you ingest too much niacin, then your blood will rush close to your skin and you will itch like no tomorrow. If you have ever drank 5 Hr Energy before, like a full bottle, it will tell you somewhere on the bottle that you may feel itchy after some time passes. This is called a niacin rush or niacin flush.
So along with Histamine, Niacin is another mineral that will cause itching if you ingest too much.
Thanks for commenting – I’ll add popcorn to the list!
interesting reading….I have read all of the above comments and can only relate to one person…the person who said he had an itchy nose after he drank water. I am the same. My nose has been itching for on and off five years now….I have tried to aliminate most things but two weeks ago after waiting up and now eating or drinking anything at all apart from brushing my teeth, I wondered if it could be the water….I went from using tap water to buying bottled water…I now avoid tap water for washing, cooking and drinking….my nose has stopped itching….after I shower then it does itch and makes me sneeze a bit but that soon wares off…definately drinking tap water is a problem to me and now I am wondering if it is the chemicals or minerals in tap water that is the cause…..I am allergic to Nickel but wonder if there is nickel in the water……
Thanks for your comment. No doubt there are a variety of senstitivities that may cause itchy noses and other symptoms. I’ll add tap water to the poll and hopefully we can gauge how common this problem is!
not had an itchy nose once since switching to bottled water…..feeling so much happier…
My dad and I both have sneezing fits after eating, particularly if it’s a large meal or I drink a lot of liquid quickly. Often starts with an itchy nose. I asked my dr about it once and he explained that some people have a sensitive Vagus nerve which is connected to the stomach and can get triggered when stomach expands quickly. This not specific foods but volume of foods.
Thanks for sharing – what you describe is called Snatiation!
I have read your blog with interest. My 6 year old son complains all the time of itchy nose when eating and I was researching to try to see if it is related to his older brother’s curious nasal condition. His 9 year old borther does not complain of itch but does sneeze after drinking. He does this 50% of the time and often three sneezes in a row. He has done so since he first sipped water at 6 months of age (breastfed before no issues). He also often sneezes on other liquidy food items like pear, watermelon, even yogurt. We live in Australia and no Specialist ( we have been to about 20 including a Neurologist who scaned his brain) can work out what it is or why. Apparently, it has never been presented to the Chidren’s Hospital here before. One Immunologist een suggested he may be the first person in the world allergic to water! My husband is worried about his future ability to socailise in a pub 🙂 I am more worried about inhaling water or food into his lungs. Size of sips, temperature of water, and speed of gulping don’t appear to make a difference. Have you heard of this sneezing on liquids condition before and is it related somehow to his younger brother’s nose itch? Could it be genetic? His father’s name is also Stuart after all !
I think it is a chemical in the water that we have here in the area that we live….I have a known nickle allergy and I think there may be nickle somewhere either in the water or in old pipe work …..since buying bottled water I have completely been without symptoms…..long may it continue
Interesting… Thanks for adding your thoughts.
While not specifically relating to the problem of sneezing after drinking water, sneezing can occur for a variety of reasons. Here is a post about sneezing (on Guru Magazine’s website) that discusses sneezing after eating chocolate: http://gurumagazine.org/askaguru/why-do-i-sneeze-everytime-i-eat-chocolate/
I’ll have a think about sneezing and water…
Does the temperature of the water make any difference?
It doesn’t appear to. We have tried experimenting with water. Cold vs cool vs warm vs hot, still achoo. We got really desperate (when he started getting teased at school when he was 5 years old and refused to drink any, and we live in Australia where it is HOT ) so we tried tap wter, bottled water, spring water, bubbly water, Fiji water with high silicon, we even tried distilling our water to make it pure. Still no noticeable difference. We tried cups vs bottle vs sippy cups vs straw the sneezing continued. The only thing that has changed now that he is older, he often has a delayed reaction before the sneezing. So he can drink a few sips then 5 seconds later start sneezing. Previously it was sip sneeze. He seems to sneeze less when he has a cold which is curious. He has bad hayfever at the moment and seems to make his drink sneeze condition even worse. His paeditric dentist has the chocolate sneeze condition so it was great to read your link. We had to advise the dentist of my son’s condition incase he sneezed during teeth cleaning so he could ensure maximum suction! I am grateful for your time and any suggestions.
I don’t get an itchy nose after I eat, its always the same time I eat. it isn’t to a specific food either, I get it when I eat anything! its really irritating! do you know why its doing thing with every food?
Yes same deal with my younger son. During the meal and with food including chicken, pasta, pizza etc (but not liquid). Would love to know if this is connected to my older son’s condition where he sneezes when he drinks.
Wow this was such an interesting article to read! After eating lollies I have noticed my nose gets extremely itchy while I’m eating them and after, it’ last for ages and nothing soothes it.
By ‘lollies’ do you mean ‘sweets’ or ‘candies’? (I’m guessing so, if you’re from Australia)
I’m so happy I found this article, I read all of the words!
I was just sitting with my friend after eating toast and while eating some homemade christmas cookies with her and my nose was itching like crazy. I found it always did this when I had lunch, which I’d usually have a cheese baguette for. And I figured it must be the bread that causes it because it seems like any time I have toast or a sandwich, something like this happens. So I FINALLY got around to looking it up and found this!
I feel much better informed.
So glad it’s not a real allergy, it’d be so sad if I was allergic to bread given how much I love it.
Garlic makes my nose itch.
Salt is what makea my nose itch non stop.
Added to the list
I’m a Chinese I’ve been eating rich food all my life but as age catches up (audult- 25 to 30 year old )I found that after eating I get this itchiness in the palm and feet, the older I grow the systoms became more frequent and worsen till the extend I got difficulty in breathing whilst the areas with wounds can be so itchy that I start scratching till they bleed .
After consulted a few doctors and specialist they treated my case as allery but just can’t what causes it.
When the systoms come it can be mild at times or some swell or rashes over the body but recently it escalated to swelling in the face and previous wounded areas and the pain escalated evertime.
Few findings of myself for your research
1. It seems like the attack came when I eat when I’m very hungry- empty stomach for long time
2. In the past it seems to be like when I eat chilli when hungry the attack seems more prompt but
3. It seems like it can happen anytime even drinking water,
4. At 40 year old now the attack is more frequent and now it seems like when I’m feeling weak due to tiredness or fatigue.im relative healthy and used to exercise quite regularly in the past.
I’m now 40 year old in the past it was itch that started during my teenager age 20-25 year old 25 onwards it swell 30 onwards the attack will scare anyone as the whole face, tongue.nose, in the ears, neck swelling is so obviously big.
The doctors here in my country (Singapore) could not find the cause and dignosed as allery of food ( unknown )
The attack usually lasted 2-3 hours longest
There’s some photos of the systoms that can be forward to u
Sorry forgot inputting that I had sensitive nose all my life so I don’t really take that into consideration will look into this area then feedback
Hi Wayne, thanks for sharing your story. It sounds pretty horrendous. Hope that you find something to ease symptoms,
Black pepper seems to be a consistant trigger, but sometimes it happens when I eat different foods, which I can eat another time and nothing happens. Maybe it’s certain combinations rather than 1 ingredient?
My nose insanely itches after I eat anything FRIED! My 1st memory of this was when I was about 5 while I was eating fries. I’m 40 now & it still happens. Every single time. I rarely eat any FRIED foods(usually only once a month, lol). I still don’t no why this is happening.
My itchy nose comes from vodka – and it lasts for days afterwards. i drink vodka with a splash of juice (usually pineapple or POM blueberry, and seltzer (club soda). The itching drives me nuts, makes me crunch my nose up all day/night…yeah I know, stop drinking vodka………
added to the list!
I have noticed that I tend to get an itchy nose when eat food cooked in vegetable oil but only sometimes- am wondering whether it’s a particular type of vegetable oil but haven’t figured out which one yet as don’t use oil at home and only get an itchy nose when I eat out. Would that be histamine related as well?
No, oil doesn’t contain histamine!
I always get an itchy nose when eating MSG. It lasts quite a while after eating but starts within minutes aftee having the first few bites.
It’s not something I expect to happen as I forget about it every time and then my boyfriend points out to me that I can’t stop rubbing my nose.
Both annoying and funny at the same time!
Hi Morgan, what makes you think it’s MSG?
I only ever get it after eating in Asian restaurants.
The only thing that would be different there than the foods I normally cook at home are additives.
One day I didn’t get it after eating in an Asian restaurant and my boyfriend said they once told him they never use MSG.
If you want to find out for certain whether or not MSG causes your symptoms, buy some (Asian food stores often stock it, or you can buy it online) and get someone to make you two plates of food – one with, one without MSG. Providing you don’t know which is which, you should be able to find out whether MSG causes your itchy nose or not. Curries often use dozens of ingredients and so you can use this technique to help narrow down what the cause may be – it could be a specific spice, for example. Many people blame MSG, but the science says it probably isn’t (see article).
Will you try it? Look forward to hear how it goes!
Fried chicken is my itchy nose food! No other chicken recipe causes the annoying itching!
What sort of fried chicken? That with a coating or plain fried chicken (e.g. in a pan – not deep fried)? Or both?
Any time I eat any kind of pasta I receive an itchy nose as well. Usually so itchy as if I just took a prescription pain medication where your nose is severally itchy and it doesn’t matter how much you scratch it, it just won’t stop itching. I also sometimes feel loopy after eating as well.
I thought it had something to do with being satisfied. Like a euphoric reaction. Not sure. I don’t know of any foods that I am allergic too. But I could be I guess
It’s not the food. It’s eating. I get an itchy nose every time I eat. I don’t have any food alergies that I know of.
What of you don’t eat and it itch . My Nose is itchin right now . It gets to the point where I get a comb or sharp object and itch it . I’m curious what causes it . I don’t got allergies I don’t think . It comes out of no where .
This is brilliant. It wasn’t until reading this that I realised it was due to eating – I’d always thought it was down to heat/humidity as it seems to happen when I am in a bar or restaurant that is a bit stuffy, but now realise it’s down to the food. It never happens for me when I cook for myself but always when I am eating out. Starts on my nose and gets increasingly bad then spreads to the rest of my face and head too and remains for a few hours before dying away. The itchiness on my nose is so bad it gets to the point where all I am doing is scratching it until I leave the table.
Any form of pork, ham, bacon (pig in short) well cooked, medium, barbecued, pulled, you name it, I eat it and if I’ve had it 2days say consecutively then that’s it my nose itches and itches till it goes red and it’s embarrassing… As if I’ve got fleas or something… I avoid it as much as I can but its a meat I do like to enjoy now and again as a treat…
My twin sister & I both get itchy noses when we dine in restaurants. It doesn’t happen all the time, though. In fact, I may get the problem when she does not. Funny thing is that if we eat the same foods at home, we don’t have a problem. I am leaning toward either the pepper shaker on the restaurant tables or just the different smells of the various foods that arrive at the table. We are usually dining with others. I feel so foolish rubbing my nose raw. Five minutes after I leave the restaurant, the feeling goes away. I am baffled.
Gloria I agree, this only happens when eating out. That’s why I wonder if it’s a temperature thing (hot room, cold drinks) or a combination of temperature and certain foods. Does anyone else get this at home too?
Same here … can’t even hold a conversation because I am too busy losing my mind~
My nose is red n itches always n the area around my nose is red. I’m allergic to a lot of foods. Fruits n veggies, tree nuts. I also have asthma.
My nose itches like crazy when I eat cilantro.
Hi Sharon, The leaves or the seeds – or both?
What about having a crazy itchy nose and you haven’t eaten anything? Even after using a Neti Pot to clear out possible allergens, it’s still crazy itchy. The only thing is to take extra Benadryl and hope it works. Eventually. There’s also the hot hairdryer trick; switch the itch to pain, then stop, pain/itch stops.
With regard to itchy palms; I had that once. It turned out to be the first symptom of a severe allergic reaction to an antibiotic. FYI: you can get an antibiotic reaction up to one month AFTER taking them (for me it took a few days).
My nose itches terribly after eating onions or green peppers. I have noticed it when they’re cooked mostly, but it’s awful! I had a reaction to Morphine after my C Section and almost scratched my nose off my face. It’s not hardly that bad, but it’s close!
I get itchy nose of i eat any sweet alone in my breakfast it irritates me a lot.
Strangely enough, the ONLY food that gives me a severe nose itch is one specific brand of crisps: Walkers Sensations. I wonder what they put in them.
Hi EQ: here you go: http://www.sensationscrisps.co.uk/access/ingredients.html !
Thanks EQ, what flavour(s)?
Hi! I think it was the sweet chili ones. Anyway, I came back to post because I think I have narrowed down the cause of my nose itch allergy: it seems to be paprika.
Hi, I have so far read your list of items on your survey, but I can’t to see the food that causes my nose to itchy.. eg anything made with flour, peanuts, flavourings, perservatives (I have a few more but can’t remember them at the moment)
Hi MW, can you try to narrow it down? Is it all types of peanuts? (Salted/Roasted). Have you tried different kinds of flour – just on its own, make into a paste with water, for example?
Eggplant. Just ate it for lunch, and now juuuust the tip of the nose, on the outside, feels like a mosquito bite that won’t go away. Not the first time either. But I love my eggplant too much to give it up. Arghhh.
Hi Philologue, has it happened since?
Why yes it has – it’s eggplant season where I live (Algeria), and every time I eat them, sure enough, my nose or something itches. 😛
Even raw eggplant? (I’ve added it to the list, by the way)
Mmm never tried it raw, always cooked. Though I think it does tend to be a stronger reaction if it’s not cooked as long.
I get an itchy nose after eating peannuts, especially after I haven’t had them for a while.
A few days ago I had a Chinese takeaway and a glass of white wine. First time I’d had the itchy nose at home rather than in a restaurant! Anyone else get it from these things? I need to start narrowing down what it could be from the Chinese food.
Soy sauce perhaps, Duck86?
Thanks for your comment. Please see comments and article content above about MSG. 🙂
I get it from bread
all kinds of bread?
My nose always itches after eating anything with hot peppers, Tabasco sauce, and recently black pepper has caused it also. Feel like clawing at my nostrils!
My nose itches when I eat pineapple and edamame.
I’ve noticed that i get an itchy nose when i eat something that is fried in old oil or reused oil. A few examples, Fried Egg rolls from a local deli, Pie crust on greek yoghurt, fried chicken.
Had itchy nose after combination of a cortado (espresso with equal parts milk) and a pale ale soon after.
I get an unbearably itchy nose when I drink certain Belgium whites. It gets so bad that my nose bleeds. Oktoberfest style beer is the worst, followed by Blue Moon and Shock Top. I can tolerate Hefeweisen beers.
Thank you for solving this mystery for me. I am also Celiac diagnosed. I had hoped the itchy nose would go away with the gluten free diet. But I had not given up the histamine foods. I don’t think I will either. But I can at least wipe my itchy nose with understanding. Perhaps I will eventually make different choices. Or not. Thanks. This is fun.
For my case, i have problem with man made vinegar and some unidentified food that i eat. Which cause my nose to itch. I dont have problem eating the food that you list out such as pizza, cheese and any seafood. So, for my case does it happen due to histamine or other chemical reaction? Thank you so much if you could answer my question.
Thanks for your comment. The article above is only a hypothesis that needs further testing. If will not explain all instances of itchy nose, and it seems not to explain your nose-itching issue. It’s worth trying to exclude things from your diet to see what it is specifically that sets off the symptoms.
Stress makes the tip of my nose itchy and if im stressed and ive eaten wheat products its crazy itchy!
I thought I was the only one. I get an itchy nose while eating which is embarrassing as I think I look weird itching my nose, especially in public. It seems it is related to more pungent foods, and I’ve always had a very sensitive sense of smell. I am prone to having sensitive skin also with mild rosacea which is made worse by the usual culprits, too much sun, dehydration, alcohol, fried and spicy foods. Interesting that the taste buds seem to do this. Maybe it’s a form of synesthesia, but I don’t know in what form.
I get an itchy nose drinking wine some times. This morning I got it eating my oatmeal with raisins and almond milk. That’s a first.
I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE -concerned itchy nose man
My nose itches if I eat nuts; mostly peanuts, cashews, walnuts, pecans.
Hi Try this Every day if you can.
1 Small Tea spoon Margosa powder with Half a Glass Hot water (Empty Stomach) Try this for 3 months and see the majic.Itching will vanish from whole body.
Anything with sugar!!
I experience an itchy nose whenever I eat chips and salsa at Mexican restaurants-ALWAYS…I have tried just eating the salsa and no itching. I never get an itchy nose at home when I eat homemade chips and salsa….always been a mystery, until now…..I think the culprit is soy oil…just found out I am allergic to soy oil and most restaurants fry everything in soy oil…
I get an itchy nose during eating and at all meals – I always thought it was a byproduct of chewing and that the vibration of my teeth was causing my itchy nose!
Fries give me an itchy nose
My nose itches after and while I eat cashews!!
I just got an itchy nose, right at the tip. I was eating Doritos nacho cheese.
I get the itchy nose when i eat foods with sage
Greasy food makes my nose itch and it is a reliable way to know if the food is fatty.
My nose is itchy every time I eat something buttery. Popcorn, toast, buttered rice, etc. I think it gets itchy with other greasy food, too, but it is consistently itchy with butter. I thought this was normal until like a year ago when I brought it up to my boyfriend and found out that his nose does not, in fact, itch after eating any particular thing.
Coriander but only if it’s dry.
French fries… I was just eating it and the itch is just crazy!
I think it is the salt or something… Cuz it also happens MORE with popcorn… U’d see me in the cinems as the guy who has his hand constantly touching his nose🙈🙈
Finally! My itchy nose has bugged me for so long, it’s so nice to finally figure out why it was happening. My trigger seems to be very salty foods. Chex mix, sunflower seeds, popcorn, and most recently: fast food fries. Within a minute of eating, the itching usually starts and doesn’t go away until at least an hour after I stop.
I have a theory that it is soy oil … I bet every one of those items is cooked in it 😉
I have similar issues and unfortunately not every time either, so it is really difficult to pin down. I’ve had issues with my nose for a long time. For example, singing would stuff it up or sometimes drinking water is enough to close it up a bit. My nose is generally getting stuffier slowly over time if I don’t take steroid sprays regularly, until I eat something that really sets off an attack. The longer I went between using steroids, the higher the chances of an attack. Eating Doritos would set off my sinuses, for example, and other chips too, in particular the vinegar ones, but I’m currently considering that it is the actually scratching in my mouth or throat when I eat these, that might be the issue and not what it is there, as I also have this with popcorn. Potentially hot food, too. The steroid nose sprays help but as soon as I stop taking them my nose slowly gets stuffy again. Wine, prosecco and beer sets it off, too.So that rather speaks for histamines, but not sure about the scratchy food then. Does anyone have any ideas?
I tend to get a horrible itch on my nose and the skin around it after eating greasy foods, mostly fried chicken, bacon, french fries and potato chips. I am forty-five years old and have done this as long as I can remember. My mother does as well. I found this article after getting up at 11:30 at night to take diphenhydramine to get some relief after eating BLT’s for dinner at 8:00. Since I was up I decided to Google the problem to see if I was weird or something. I guess I’m not. That at least is a relief. Now if only the diphenhydramine would relief this maddening itch.
Apples. Every time!
thank you Dr. Stu. i have a severe itch from the upper lip area to my nose after eating ice cream. i didnt see it mentioned here. it is always after eating ice cream. i can eat cold foods no problem. please help. its driving me crazy. ps dont say stop eating ice cream. thank you so much. your wife should read your blogs.
Hi Denise! That’s interesting. It sounds like it is something different, related to the cold temperature of the food. Does it happen with other cold things?
If this research is still going: Oranges. My allergist told me tomatoes and oranges are cross triggers like that of grass, which is what I am actually allergic to. Also, it may not be just a food thing, I live in an older apartment. Dust and other things easily accumulate. Maybe I should dust daily. Thank you for all to your efforts! 🙂
That’s interesting as I’m very sensitive to dust too and always end up sneezing whenever I clean. Any other itchy nose sufferers get this?
My nose itching occurs everytime I’m snacking on sunflower seeds. EVERYTIME.
My nose itches while I’m eating artichokes. Usually it’s pretty minor but today it was an insatiable itch.
I get an itchy nose after eating cooked carrots and sumac spice.
Occasionally my nose itches after eating sweet potatoes!
I only get an itchy nose when eating in restaurants or when eating restaurant leftovers I’ve brought home in a doggy bag which makes me suspect msg or another chemical I don’t use at home. I enjoy spices and use many different spices in home cooking without itching so Ivery ruled most of them out.
I also get an itchy nose and itchy jaw line when I get warm or facial flushes. Usually when there’s a change in temperature.
MSG is my itchy nose culprit.
face paint makes my noise itch
A few weeks ago I had exactly the same dinner two days in a row, just bread with some vegan ‘meat’ slices and some kind of spread (I forget what exactly, but it was the same each time) but the first day I had no itch and the second day my nose itched so bad that I scratched some of the skin off it. I wonder if there’s something that increases in concentration as the food gets older, or if it’s just to do with some other random difference in my body, the environment, or my eating movements at the time. Going by the weird list of foods and drinks (even water!) that trigger this in different people, it can’t be something too specific to the food itself!
Interesting, i can see how this would be true! I’m going to try and narrow down which foods cause my reaction! Thank-you!
my nose itches at least once a week, mainly after eating industrial sauces made of tomato, or some spices, mainly in pizzas (I always thought it was the spices in the pizza, because I’ve always loved cheese, but now that ýou discovered cheese has histamine it must be the cheese), and most recently Christmas chocolate bread (chocotonne in Brazil) which is what made me finally google it and find this post.
My symptoms are very mild, it’s just the itch, but it’s a very serious itch sometimes, almost unbearable, and when I’m at home I always apply some topizal promethazine on the tip of my nose and it always works. But I thought it was food allergy to tomato or some industrial substances.
Now I think I have histamine intolerance, because the itch started only 3 years ago, and I’ve always eaten the same things that give me itchy nose today and I never felt anything until a day in a pizza restaurant 3 years ago. From then on, some pizzas would always give me itchy nose and the list of foods kept increasing.
I think it’s like lactose intolerance, some people as they get older start producing less enzyme for genetic reasons, so I guess it’s the same with histaminase.
Thank you so much for posting about this! I am a medical student myself and I loved the “Post-Meal Nose Itching Syndrome was not something we covered in medical school!” part lol it’s so true for everything! And I hope your wife realizes how cool your blog is!
I got bad itchy nose after eating bell peppers, mcdonalds breakfast burritos, cheese nips, and ranch dip…..all at different times. Not sure if there’s a common ingredient in all these. It gets so bad my nose swells a bit and gets red. The itching is neither on the inside or the outside but rather feels as if it’s under the skin. Benadryl is the only thing that takes it away.
Here is what I used to massively take away the itchiness. Rub on some SSKI (saturated solution of potassium iodide). It may sting at first, and for the next couple of times after that, but the relief is enormous. I am now practically itch free. My nose first started to itch some two years ago. It was so itchy I practically scratched it raw. Then a curious thing happened. I got a cold and the itchiness vanished. After a bit of investigating I discovered the cause was my wife’s hair coloring. I must have been breathing in the toxic fumes and the cold prevented this from happening, and hence the itchiness stopped. She immediately stopped using the product and I got a lot better. But I still had the itchiness although not as bad. I then tried SSKI and I discovered it worked for me, it is cheap and easily available. It comes with precautions and may not work for everybody so use this at your own discretion.
Here is what I used to massively take away the itchiness. Rub on some SSKI (saturated solution of potassium iodide). It may sting at first, and for the next couple of times after that, but the relief is enormous. I am now practically itch free. My nose first started to itch some two years ago. It was so itchy I practically scratched it raw. Then a curious thing happened. I got a cold and the itchiness vanished. After a bit of investigating I discovered the cause was my wife’s hair coloring. I must have been breathing in the toxic fumes and the cold prevented this from happening, and hence the itchiness stopped. She immediately stopped using the product and I got a lot better. But I still had the itchiness although not as bad. I then tried SSKI and I discovered it worked for me, it is cheap and easily available. It comes with precautions and may not work for everybody so use this at your own discretion.
I get the nose itch -so intense on the top edge of my right nare that I rub it raw and end up with a scab – from iceberg lettuce at restaurants. I suspect it’s an anti-browning agent they spray on the lettuce.
Oh wow!! I have searched high and low and nothing else made sense to me till now. It’s funny, I’ve had this for some time but have not pinned down the why and when it occurs. But i’m sat here, half a bottle of red wine through and I thought, let me finally try and find something on Google, as my nose has been itching me since the second(or first) glass. However, I did not, for a second thought it might be the wine. I just recall it happening at times after eating in a restaurant(where I’d also have a few glasses) or when I’m at the pub(beer). I can’t say whether I’m “intolerant” but I can say that it happens almost all the time. I’ve just not heard of many cases of people being allergic to wine or beer so discounted that idea but as you suggested, it’s that histamine thingy contained within that’s causing havoc. Good to know…but I lurve a nice glass of red ;(. Thanks so much for this article – you’re a genius and deserve that novel peace prize!!!
My two year old grand daughter rubs her nose constantly while she’s eating. It isn’t specific to any one food. It is all foods. This is interesting information. Thank you for sharing!
I read that itching nose can be cause be parasite. — And 90% of all wheat derived cause itching too, caused by GMO that must be ban. You can read the history of wheat and about his life, on his book: Wheat Belly, William Davis (Dr.)
Sorry, I wanna say it can be caused by parasite.
I have started wearing a surgical mask when I’m prepping food and washing dishes. It helps somewhat. My nose starts itching first (inside and out), then the skin around my nose, then my chin, cheeks, forehead, eyes, ears, and scalp. I have to leave the kitchen and it will calm down. Also applying some Flonase topically to my nose helps. I do have a very elevated serum IgE and a plethora of allergic reactions to animals, insects, food, dust mites, molds, grass and trees. Also have chronic idiopathic urticaria along with food allergy hives, pressure and temperature hives, and anaphylaxis. Hard to tell apart. Also vasomotor and gustatory rhinitis. I use Atrovent which helps with my bizarre runny nose. Now I can eat zesty, spicy food, go out in the wind and cold, go to the grocery store, etc. without chronic drip, drip, drip. Will save me a fortune in tissue paper! Lol!
I feel my itchy nose/face is related to my allergies and IgE. But I can’t live in a bubble!
barbeque chips, and other flavored chips
Recent full dentures have basically left me unable to eat anything for weeks. Sooo..,, wanting to practically schatch off my nose last night Sooo itchy. Doesn’t have to do w food allergy. What else?? Not the first time.
In addition to some of the foods listed above, Orange Cruch (that yummy, toxic mix of chemicals)
Every time that I try catfish, I get a slight itch on the tip of my nose that lasts less than 30 minutes. There are no other symptoms and I do not get this effect from any other food, including other fish and seafood.
Itchy nose here after eating peanuts. Never fails.
sometimes when I go to have a favorite mexican food and a margarita my nose becomes insanely itchy. To the point I rub the skin off. It normally last about and hour then time for poor nose to heal. I have drank Margaritas from this place many time and not every time does it happen? The other day had steak tacos and a little rice salsa on them and before the meal was done I was going nuts. now I will watch what and where next time it happens.
Hope you’re still responding to comments on this blog…since I was a teenager I have had severe “itchy nose” after eating most meals. I am now 62 years old and with a lot of trial and error, determined it usually occurs after eating any “grease” that turns solid after it cools…butter, bacon grease, fat from chicken, ham, beef or pork, or anything with partially hydrogenated soybean oil. I try to stay away from these types of fats, but not always possible. My doctor and an acupuncturist have laughed out loud at me when describing this, both saying they have never heard of it. First, would solid fats contain high amounts of histamine? Also, appears worse in hot summer months or a hot room. As someone else stated, cold will stop the itch and a commercial product called China Gel helps. Life gets tough when you don’t have China Gel in a restaurant.
And thanks for helping me feel like I’m not the Lone Ranger! Your wife is very fortunate. 🙂
I do not get a rash but I do get a very itchy nose every time I eat candy with lots of sugar in it like M&Ms and Boston baked beans and such. No clue as to why.
My moderate nose itch seems to happen anytime I eat sunflower seeds. I’ve begun to think it has to do with the salt on the shell. I’ve had an allergy panel done before & am only allergic to dust & cockroach poo (eww). Anyway, I have the same effect when I come in contact with dust & happen to touch my nose with dirty hands. My outer nose skin will itch until I scratch it raw. I’ve found that that only way to relieve the itching it if I wash my nose w/ soap & water or wipe it with a wipe. Any idea what the reason could be? Am I allergic to salt in some way, although salt on other food doesn’t cause any symptoms.
Basil. Touching fresh basil. I don’t even have to eat it.
Coffee makes my nose itch!!
Coffee makes my nose itch! Right inside after my first few sips. Causes a sensation like I’m about to sneeze.
I am South African and grew up learning that an itchy nose is a sign of intestinal worms.
It seems that a lot of people here have allergic reactions to food. In my case I cannot pinpoint the problem. I have tried SSKI with some success and lately I have used a small amount of ordinary butter. It is cheap and a small bit goes a long way. It took a month to work. So you will have to be persistent. In my case it has not cured the problem but it sure helps in taking away the itchiness.
I usually get a very itchy nose when I’m eating Chinese barbecue spare ribs. The sad thing is that I like them so much I don’t want to stop eating them, they are so tasty!
I have come to found that through my whole life my nose gets intensely itchy after eating anything greasy. To the point that I look like Rudolph on a daily basis. Most people think I’m crazy, when I tell them sorry i had something greasy so now my nose will itch for the rest of the day. The itching also sometimes radiates to my cheeks as well. I am dying to figure this out and see if there is anything I can do besides stay away from food that have any grease in them, which most foods do. I love meat and cheeses. However I have never experienced an itchy nose after drinking red wine.
Every time I eat anything at all I get an itchy nose and it starts to run. My Dad and his sister also have to blow their nose whenever they eat anything.Is it somehow related to saliva production? Or something else that happens every time we eat? It is very annoying and can be a bit embarrassing. Thanks!
I usually get an itchy nose whenever I eat oily food. Do i have an allergy on oily foods?
I occassionaly get itchy nose after i eat oily foods such as fried chicken or french fries and oily crust pizzas. Its so itchy that i had to rub it using a hard towel to satisfy myself from the itchiness. Thanks a lot for all the information. Its a great help!😃
This explains my ichy nose, I could never understand why it was different types of food.I’m going to keep a check for histimine foods.
I get an annoying itchy nose (and face/head) after eating movie popcorn, and certain fried foods! I still can’t explain it without feeling silly!!
Very interesting, found your blog while using google search to find out why my nose always itches when I have take away or restaurant food mostly Thai food, it’s getting such a problem now that I dread going out for a meal with my partner, because it ruins my evening constantly irritated by nose itch, I don’t get a runny nose or anything just constant unbearable itch, I wondered if it was something IV touched like a spring roll or something then touched my nose, so I decided to eat them using a fork and it still happed, thought maybe it’s the pepper in the meal? I can’t seem to find a poll you mentioned to take part but would have liked too, really wanted to know why it happens and what I can do to prevent it. Thanks for the info
I think you should add pepper to the list, it’s in a lot of foods
I have recently come to realize that I have issues with histamine foods at times. I have seasonal allergies so this is especially true when it is springtime and I am naturally more sensitive. This spring was horrible so I looked into the histamine thing. I was having an allergy attack that no medicine was helping with after drinking red wine the night before. I also read that fermented foods have a lot of histamines and I had previously been trying to eat a lot of them. I decided to stay away from high histamine foods and drinks for a time. The results were astounding! After just two days of no alcohol or high histamine foods, my allergies were gone and I wasn’t even having to take any allergy medicines! This was after two weeks of suffering on medications! I also try to stay away from dairy during allergy season. Honey is ok before the season, but not during because it is high in them also. I hope this helps someone looking for answers.
Tank you so much for figuring this out! The tip of my nose 👃🏻 Itches like CRAZY!!!! I thought it was a gluten sensitivity because it would happen after eating pizza 🍕 and seemingly other random foods.
I get itchy nose after eating pumpkin seeds.
ame as Sharon mentioned, My nose also gets crazy itchy when I eat cilantro
Same as Sharon mentioned, My nose also gets crazy itchy when I eat cilantro
My nose itches really bad when I eat anything containing pepper and also spicy foods. It’s super annoying and lasts ages!
Since I was a child (and I am now 72) I get a nose itch whenever I eat roast lamb, lamb chops, lamb’s liver or lamb’s kidneys. No other meat nor, indeed, any other food has this effect. Eating delicious lamb does not make me ill and I suffer from no other symptoms, just a ridiculously itchy nose!