Why Picking Your Nose Is Not Just Rough – It’s Dangerous In The Age Of Coronavirus – CBS Baltimore

(CNN) – We teach children not to do that. This is unhygienic. It’s simple to see.

However, let’s really be. Most of us choose the nose – about 91% according to the only (small and old) study that has apparently ever been done on the subject, which perhaps reveals how little even scientists want to think about it. However, if you look around the world, it is not uncommon to see someone with a finger in the nose, discreet or not so much, like Queen Elizabeth.

Jokes aside, nose plucking is deadly serious.

Not only do people spread their own bacteria and viruses on everything they touch after a bit of gold digging, but also “carry your germs from your fingertips into your nose, which is exactly the opposite of what you want,” specialist in Infectious diseases said Dr. Paul Pottinger, a professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.

This means that from your nose plucking session you can spread coronavirus to others, and that you are more likely to bring the virus with others such as flu or rhinovirus (colds) directly into your body.

How the coronavirus enters your body

The nose is one of the three ways viruses can enter the body – the other two being the mouth and eyes. The nose has a number of defense systems to keep pathogens out, including hair in front of the nostrils to block larger particles and the mucous membrane.

That moist lining of the nose has microscopic tiny glands that can secrete mucus into the airway in response to foreign invaders. It includes large items such as pollen and dirt and dust, as well as microscopic items that include bacteria and viruses, ”said Pottinger.

Some mucus is a good and healthy thing, which keeps most intruders out. But as it dries up, along with whatever it catches, it turns into what most of us boogers call (scientists call them crusts). If you feel one in your nose, it’s easy to pick it up without thinking.

What many people do not realize is how fine the skin can be inside the nose. Nasal plucking can cause small cuts in the delicate epithelial linings in the nasal cavity, did molecular virologist Cedric Buckley, formerly an associate professor of biology at Jackson State University in Mississippi, who now does STEM curriculum development.

“Once the barrier is broken, you are in a capillary bed, which becomes the channel for viral particle infection,” explained Buckley, who also serves in the City of Jackson Covid-19 Task Force. This violation increases your chances of transmitting germs on your hands into your bloodstream.

Break habit

Nasal plucking is something that – more than ever during a pandemic – should be avoided. But habits can be hard to break, especially the ones you do without thinking.

The nose pluck, such as nail biting, skin plucking, lip chewing and hair pulling, is considered by mental health professionals to be a ‘body-oriented repetitive behavior’. These are ‘actions aimed at the human body and often focus on the care or removal of body parts’, according to Dr Elias Aboujaoude, clinical professor of psychiatry at Stanford University in California and director of the clinic for obsessive-compulsive disorder disturbance. there.

Aboujaoude said by email that these behaviors can be a clinical disorder if it damages or significantly harms someone’s personal or professional life. For many of us, however, these are just bad habits and not disorders.

Habit reversal therapy, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, is a tool that psychiatrists use to help people with body-oriented repetitive behaviors. This treatment “raises awareness of the behavior and its consequences, and trains the individual to replace nosebleeds with a ‘competitive response,'” Aboujaoude said. This means doing something less harmful and more socially acceptable with your hands, such as making a fist and holding it or hitting a tension ball.

This is where wearing mask can be especially helpful. In addition to the effectiveness of masks in reducing the transmission of airborne particles that can contain coronavirus, it can also help reduce nose plucking by physically blocking the normal or unconscious finger-to-nose action.

“If they’re eager to stop sniffing, boy, what a wonderful opportunity to seize this moment in human history where everyone is supposed to cover their face,” Pottinger said.

Best practices for nose health

If you notice that your nose is not such a habit, it is only a reaction to an uncomfortable or stuffy nose, you should have it examined by your doctor or at a local clinic. Your problem may have less to do with the nasal congestion and more to do with another problem that needs to be addressed.

“You may have an abnormal septum, you may have nasal inflammation, you may be prone to seasonal or chronic allergies, where your nasal membranes are constantly swollen,” Buckley said.

The best way to get rid of bows is to blow your nose into a tissue and then wash your hands, instead of plucking out the crusts.

Neti pots or salt sprays are another option. ‘Remember, the bow is just a dried out piece of mucus. “If you hydrate the mucus again, you have to be able to blow it out or let it come out on its own,” Pottinger said.

However, he said that everyone should get their own bottle – no part, not even with intimate partners. It should be kept clean and the tip should be wiped regularly so that germs are not transmitted from use to use in the nose. And if you use a neti pot, Pottinger said, use sterilized water. Humidifiers to keep indoor air hydrated can also help reduce crusting.

Prevent Covid – and odor loss

Taking care of your nasal health, which definitely includes not picking your nose, reduces the risk of catching your coronavirus – and passing it on.

In collaboration with patients who contracted it, Pottinger said a sometimes long-lasting side effect of the viral infection is anosmia, or losing the sense of smell, which also affects the taste problem.

For patients experiencing this condition, “they are very, very depressed, discouraged and discouraged because they can no longer taste their food. Now I am hopeful that some of the people will get their sense of smell back, some do. For some, it is a long recovery, ‘he said in an email. “If you want to eat food and taste good things, make sure you do not catch COVID-19.”

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