Your nose is probably not the first body part that you think of when you hear the words “self-care;” however, looking after this vital organ is essential to overall health and wellbeing. Did you know that your nose contains your breath? Along with your mouth, your nose is the pathway of air entering and exiting your lungs. Let’s explore some more of the critical jobs that your nose has for keeping you healthy and a few things you NEVER want to do to this vital organ.
Your nose is a bodyguard for your lungs
Go ahead, take a deep breath through your nose. As you do this, think about the fact that you are breathing in millions of tiny particles of oxygen, along with dust, pollution, smoke, allergens, small bugs, viruses, and things we can’t even imagine. Your nose does the hard job of cleaning this air. On the surface of the nasal tissues, there are small cells with hair-like appendages known as cilia. Cilia trap destructive debris so that it does not get into the lungs – this is a good thing because our lungs couldn’t handle all the mess we breathe in. The debris trapped by the cilia sits in the mucous, is pushed into our throat, and we swallow it. This is because our stomach does a way better job dealing with the mess. Now how do you feel about your nose?
There’s more. Your nose also humidifies the air you breathe, which is good because the lungs can’t tolerate dry air. Just as your lungs don’t like dry or dirty air, they also don’t like air that is too cold or too hot. As air passes through the nose, it is cooled or heated to the temperature of your body.
There even are more wonders of the nose, such as how it protects us through smell and how it plays an integral role in emotions, memories, and identification. Your nose also helps you find a mate and shapes the sound of your voice. In short…your nose deserves great respect.
Don’t do this to your nose
Because you must respect your nose, here are five things that you don’t ever want to do to this vital organ.
Stick anything up there
Although it may seem obvious not to stick anything up your nose, it is always good to be reminded of this. Introducing anything foreign into your nasal cavity can lead to an infection. This includes vapor rubs (no matter how good they smell) and even nose sprays and misters.
Picking your nose, no matter how tempting it may seem, is a big no, no! Natural and healthy bacteria live inside your nose, and when you stick your fingers up there, you introduce all sorts of new bacteria. If too much foreign bacteria is introduced, it can take over the good bacteria and cause serious health issues.
Expose it to dry or very humid air
A home that is too moist – above 45 percent humidity – may hurt your nose. There is an increased risk of mold and fungi growing and attacking your sinus at this humidity level. On the other hand, a home that is too dry can cause itching, scabbing, bleeding, and soreness. The best level of humidity to keep your home is between 30 and 45 percent. If necessary, use a humidifier to help keep your home moist enough or a dehumidifier if it is too moist. This is especially important in your bedroom.
Expose it to cigarette smoke
Smoking of all types is terrible for the nasal cavity. The moment that you inhale tobacco smoke, it irritates the entire upper airway. This can cause chronic sinusitis, decreased sense of smell and taste, and an increased risk of nose and sinus cancer. Even secondhand smoke can cause issues with snoring, ear infections, and respiratory problems.
Forget to clean it
Although sticking foreign objects up your nose is a bad idea, regularly cleaning your sniffer is a good idea. Use a neti pot or a clean rubber syringe to squirt saline into your nose to give it a good cleaning out. Do this once a week, more if you are congested.
Expose it to allergens
Carpets and fibrous materials can fill your home with allergens that can harm nasal and respiratory health. Pet dander can also be a huge issue. Eliminate carpet if possible and use a high-quality air purifier to keep indoor air clean and pet dander to a minimum.
Ireesponisbily pierce it
While nose piercing is popular, it can also be dangerous. If tools are not sterile, you could end up with a colossal infection inside your nose. Always choose a reputable person to pierce and follow all instructions for cleaning and aftercare.
Remember, your nose is like a bodyguard for your lungs and the rest of your body. Keep this point of entry happy, and your body will thank you.
-Susan Patterson, CBHC and Master Gardener