What to do with your snot, according to science


Reading time: 4 min Come on, admit it you do. Whether in the company of someone or in secret, when we think no one is watching, we all turn our noses in. And so do primates. The social stigma surrounding nose cleaning is widespread. But do we really have to… and where do we move? As scientists who have investigated environmental pollutants (in our homes, workplaces, gardens), we have a clear idea of ​​what you’re actually handling when you slide your finger up your nostril. So here’s what you need to know before you act: A necessary biological filter Nose picking is a completely natural habit: children, who have not yet learned social norms, quickly realize that compatibility between a finger and a nostril is pretty good. But there’s a lot more to it than snot. During the approximately 22,000 daily breathing cycles, mucus-forming mucus acts as an essential biological filter to capture dust and allergens before they enter our airways, where they can cause inflammation, asthma and other long-term lung problems Cells in the nasal passages, called goblet cells (because of their cup shape), produce mucus to trap viruses, bacteria, and dust that contain potentially dangerous substances such as lead, asbestos, and pollen. linen Nasal mucus and its antibodies and enzymes are the first line of the immune system against infections. The nasal cavity also has its own microbiome. Sometimes these natural populations can become disturbed, leading to various conditions, such as rhinitis. But in general, the microbes in our noses help fend off invaders, fighting them on a battlefield of mucus. Overcoming the nose-picking habit could thus facilitate Staphylococcus aureus decolonization strategies. Trapped dust, germs and allergens end up being ingested as the mucus drains down your throat. And while this isn’t usually a problem, it can exacerbate environmental exposure to certain pollutants. For example, lead, a neurotoxin found in house dust and garden soil, enters children’s bodies more effectively through ingestion and digestion. If you sniff or eat mucus instead of expelling it, you run the risk of amplifying your exposure to certain toxic elements present in your environment. . or serious Studies show that it is often found in the nose (this is called nasal carriage) and one of them found that nose picking is associated with nasal carriage of S. aureus. Overcoming the nose-picking habit could thus facilitate strategies to decolonize S. aureus, which may also be associated with an increased risk of transmission of Staphylococcus aureus to wounds, where it presents a more serious risk. Especially since antibiotics do not always work in the fight against this bacteria. A paper has shown that, therefore, the growing resistance to antibiotics requires professionals to assess their patients’ nose-picking habits and educate them on effective ways to prevent this practice. It could also be a vector for transmission of Streptococcus pneumoniae, a common cause of pneumonia (among other infections). In other words, sticking your finger in your nose is a great way to introduce germs further into your body, or spread them around with your questionably clean finger. it is also to run the risk of causing injuries and abrasions inside the nostrils, which can allow pathogenic bacteria to invade your body. mucus? Some people eat it (the technical term is mucophagia, which means “eat snot”). Besides the fact that eating mucus looks gross, it’s like ingesting all the germs in the mucus, those toxic metals, and those environmental pollutants we talked about above. Others wipe their dirty fingers on the object closest to them, leaving a small gift. be discovered by another person. It’s disgusting…but mostly it’s a good way to spread germs. Some, more hygienic and more respectable, use a handkerchief to collect everything, before throwing it in the bin or the toilet. This is probably one of the least bad options, if you must remove your nose at all costs . Just be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after blowing or picking your nose, because until the mucus has dried completely, infectious viruses can remain on your hands and fingers, secretly, in the car or on napkins… The truth is that we all indulge in this practice. And it has to be said: it’s really satisfying. But let’s pay tribute to the tireless work of our remarkable noses, mucus and sinus cavities, to these amazing biological adaptations. And let’s not forget that they are working hard to protect us. Your nose is working overtime to keep you healthy, so don’t make it harder by sticking dirty fingers in it. Don’t play sports. Blow quietly, dispose of the tissue carefully, and wash your hands immediately afterwards. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
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