Why does water burn when it goes up our nose but not when swallowed?



Water is not a corrosive chemical nor harmful to human flesh, so why does it burn when inhaled?

In: Biology

Not a scientific explanation, but it’s most likely due to the fact that you’re nose has a different membrane and is easily rinsed away. Water is basic but it can still sting cause your nose is sensitive to all kinds of smells and that’s the only thing that should go up the nose, smells. I’d imagine it’s an evolutionary thing that you’re body is going “Hey! That’s not supposed to be there get it out!”

You body in general will dislike everything reaching the membrane in your nose.

If you just put in a finger (don’t do that) you wont reach it, water however is liquid and can reach it what causes the body to give a warning signal to your brain in order to make you stop doing whatever you are doing.

(The same way you have pain when you cut yourself)

that “burning” sensation is a fairly generic distress signal.

different membranes want different things. this includes moisture level, salt/electrolyte content, pressure, and a whole host of other factors. when those conditions are wrong, things stop working properly.

when exposed to normal water they experience a large amount of osmotic pressure (the salty stuff inside the tissue wants to balance out the water you just shoved up there) that can be damaging. the body responds to this with inflammation and telling you to stop whatever you’re doing.

you esophagus simply has different conditions that it likes. your throat needs to put up with all the food you eat, so it’s a bit less picky about things like pH and salt content. though not without limit.

for comparison, your nasal membranes tolerate dryness much better than your throat. that’s actually part of the reason you *can* breathe through your nose, and why it’s recommended during exercise and in severe cold. your nose pre-moistens the air for your throat and lungs.

Your body knows that water is harmful to your lungs, so your body is warning you not to get water into your nose, because the nose is for breathing air. You body knows that water is good for you, and that it gets in your tummy by getting water in your mouth and swallowing it.

Did this mean that people constantly feel a burning sensation when they swim ?