Picking your nose is worse than you think


Come on, you know you do it.

We all pick our noses, whether you’re in the trusty company of your spouse or simply sneaking along when you think no one is watching. .

The social stigma against nose picking is widespread. But should we really do that? What should we do with the booger?

We are scientists who have studied environmental contaminants in our homes, workplaces and gardens. So when you’ve satisfactorily stuck your finger in the sniffer, you’ve got some insight into what’s actually being sabotaged.

Nose picking is a natural habit. Children who have not yet learned social norms notice early on that the fit between their index fingers and nostrils is pretty good. But there’s more to it than just runny noses.

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During approximately 22,000 respiratory cycles per day, the mucus that forms the booger forms an important biological filter, trapping dust and allergens before they can enter the airways. Once in the airways, it can cause inflammation, asthma, and other long-term lung problems.

Cells in the nasal cavity called goblet cells (so named for their cup-like appearance) produce mucus to trap viruses, bacteria, and dust, including potentially harmful substances such as lead, asbestos, and pollen. increase.

Nasal mucus and its antibodies and enzymes are the body’s first line of immune defense against infection.

The nasal cavity also has its own microbiome. Sometimes these natural populations can be disturbed, leading to various conditions such as rhinitis. are fighting

Dust, microbes, and allergens entrained in the mucus are ultimately ingested as that mucus drips down the throat.

This is not usually a problem, but can exacerbate environmental exposure to some contaminants.

For example, lead, a neurotoxin found in house dust and garden soil, enters children most efficiently through ingestion and digestion.

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Therefore, sniffing or eating boogers instead of blowing them off can exacerbate certain ecotoxic exposures.

What does science say about the dangers of booger mining?

Staphylococcus aureus (Staphylococcus aureussometimes abbreviated as Staphylococcus aureus) is a bacterium that causes a variety of mild to severe infections. Studies show that it is often found in the nose (which is called the nasal cavity).

One study found that nose picking was associated with Staphylococcus aureus That is, the role of nose picking in nose carry may be causative in some cases.Overcoming Nose Picking Habits May Help Staphylococcus aureus decolonization strategy.

Nose picking may also be associated with an increased risk of infection with Staphylococcus aureus to the wound, which poses a more serious risk.

Antibiotics may not work against Staphylococcus aureus. One paper notes that the increase in antibiotic resistance has led to a need for healthcare providers to assess their patients’ nose-picking habits and educate them on effective ways to prevent finger-to-nose practice.

Nose picking can also be a vector for infection Streptococcus pneumoniaeis a common cause of pneumonia, among other infections.

In other words, sticking your finger up your nose is a great way to pack more bacteria into your body or spread it around with your nosed finger.

There is also the risk of the inside of the nostrils being gouged or scratched, allowing pathogens to enter the body. Compulsive nose picking leading to self-harm is called rhinotilexomania.

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Well, I chose. So?

Some people eat them (the technical term is mucophagy, which means “mucus feeding”). , and all of the aforementioned environmental pollutants.

Others wipe them with the nearest item. This is a small gift that someone else will discover later. Terrible and a great way to spread germs.

Some people who are more hygienic use a tissue for retrieval and later throw it in the trash or toilet.

If you really have to pick your nose, it’s probably one of the worst options. Wash your hands very carefully after doing so.

No advice in the world will keep you from digging

We all do that in secret, in our cars and on our napkins. To tell you the truth, I am very satisfied.

But let’s honor the tireless efforts of our amazing noses, mucus and sinuses. It’s an amazing biological adaptation.

Your snoz is working overtime to keep you healthy. Don’t make it even harder by jamming your dirty fingers in there. Don’t get frustrated – blow carefully, dispose of the tissue carefully, then wash your hands.

Mark Patrick Taylor is Principal Environmental Scientist at EPA Victoria and Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences and Human Health at Macquarie University, Sydney. Gabriel Filippelli is Chancellor Professor of Earth Sciences and Executive Director of the Institute for Environmental Resilience at Indiana University. Michael Gillings is Professor of Molecular Evolution at Macquarie University.

This article was originally published on theconversation.com.

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