We’re scientists who study environmental pollutants – in our homes, our workplaces, our gardens – so when your finger is satisfactorily inserted into your sniffer, we’re on the lookout for what you’re really stuck with There is some understanding.
Picking your nose is a natural habit—children who haven’t learned social norms realize very early on that their index finger and nostril work very well together. But there’s more to it than just snot.
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During about 22,000 breathing cycles per day, the mucus that forms booger forms an important biological filter, trapping dust and allergens before they enter our airways, where they can lead to inflammation, asthma and other long-term lung problems.
Cells in the nasal cavity called goblet cells (named for their goblet-like appearance) produce mucus to trap viruses, bacteria and dust containing potentially harmful substances such as lead, asbestos and pollen.
Nasal mucus and its antibodies and enzymes are the body’s front-line immune defense system against infection.
The nasal cavity also has its own microbiome. Sometimes these natural populations can be disturbed, leading to various diseases such as rhinitis. But overall, our nose microbes help repel invaders, fighting them on the slimy battlefield.
When mucus drips down your throat, the dust, microbes, and allergens trapped in the mucus are eventually ingested.
This is usually not a problem, but it can exacerbate environmental exposure to certain pollutants.
For example, lead—a neurotoxin commonly found in house dust and garden soil—enters children most efficiently through ingestion and digestion.
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So, if you smell or eat boogers instead of blowing them out, you may be exacerbating specific environmental toxic exposures.
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Staphylococcus aureus (Staphylococcus aureussometimes shortened to Staphylococcus aureus) is a bacterium that can cause a variety of mild to severe infections. Research shows that it often occurs in the nose (this is called the nasal cavity).
One study found that nose picking is associated with Staphylococcus aureus The nose bridge, which means that in some cases the role of nose picking in the nose bridge may be causal.Overcoming the habit of picking your nose may help Staphylococcus aureus Decolonization strategy.
Picking your nose may also be associated with an increased risk of S. aureus spreading to wounds, which can lead to more serious risks.
Sometimes antibiotics don’t work against Staphylococcus aureus. Growing antibiotic resistance requires healthcare providers to assess patients’ nose-picking habits and educate them on effective ways to prevent finger-to-nose behavior, a paper notes.
Nose picking may also be spread Streptococcus pneumoniaeamong other infections is a common cause of pneumonia.
In other words, sticking your fingers into your nose is a great way to allow bacteria to enter your body further, or to spread them into your environment with your runny fingers.
There is also a risk of gouging and abrasions inside the nostrils, which allow pathogenic bacteria to enter your body. Compulsive nose picking to the point of self-harm is known as rhinnotillexomania.
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Well, I chose. How to do?
Some people eat them (the technical term is mucophagy, which means “mucus feeding”). In addition to sucking boogers being disgusting, this means ingesting all that inhaled mucus combined with bacteria, toxic metals, and the environmental pollutants discussed earlier.
Others rub them on the nearest item, a small gift that others will discover later. Nausea, a great way to spread germs.
Some of the more hygienic people use paper towels to retrieve them, which are then discarded in the trash or toilet.
If you really have to pick your nose, that’s probably one of the worst options. Just be sure to wash your hands with extra care after blowing or picking your nose, as infectious viruses can remain on your hands and fingers before the mucus is completely dry.
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Secretly, in the car or on a napkin, we all do it. To be honest, it’s very satisfying.
But let’s respect the tireless efforts of our extraordinary nose, mucus and sinus cavities – such amazing biological adaptations – and remember that they are working hard to protect you.
Your snotter is working overtime to keep you healthy, so don’t stick your dirty fingers on it and make it harder. Don’t be a grub – blow carefully, handle paper towels carefully, and wash your hands.
Mark Patrick Taylor is Chief Environmental Scientist at EPA Victoria and Emeritus Professor of Environmental Science and Human Health at Macquarie University, Sydney. Gabriel Filippelli is the Chancellor’s Professor of Geosciences 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 in theconversation.com.