Don’t boo the boogers: Your nasal and respiratory health could benefit from them

You might say ‘ewww’ at the very mention of boogers, but they are essential for your health. Here’s all that you need to know!
Boogers can be good! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Geetika Sachdev Published: 26 Sep 2021, 15:00 pm IST
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School days are special, but they also bring up the most awkward memories. Don’t they? Remember those times, when your peers dug their noses, and removed slimy-looking stuff. Of course, you made fun of them (and vice-versa). We might have become more civil as grown-ups and definitely conscious of our hygiene, but that doesn’t STOP us from making those terrible faces at the very mention of boogers.

Nose hygiene is important! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Well, don’t ‘boo’ them, because they are there for a reason. Rolling your eyes? We understand, but wait till you read this piece. 

Before we get to the how’s and why’s of boogers, it’s time to understand what they really are.

What are boogers, and why do we have them?

You might not believe this, but boogers are actually pieces of dried mucus that are trapped in your nose. Here’s how they work — the air that passes through your nostrils dries up the fluid secretions that are left trapped in the hair of the nose. 

Call us absolutely crazy, but let us tell you that these boogers keep you healthy. That’s because the dust, dirt, and other unwanted stuff gets trapped in your nose itself, and does not reach the lungs. That’s also why you may see boogers being white, yellow, or even greenish in colour. Don’t let the colour scare you, because this is perfectly normal! In fact, sometimes, it can also be black, and that merely means you’ve been exposed to pollution!

If not for boogers, all the unwanted stuff would reach our airway and make us so sick!

Is there anything else you should know about boogers?

Although the formation of boogers is normal, they can be produced in excess amounts if you are sick, according to the National Health Institutes. That’s largely because the mucus membranes that line your nose get inflamed, and that means more mucus! Makes sense, doesn’t it?

For God’s sake, don’t pick your boogers

Of course, it’s quite tempting to pick your boogers, but resist the urge. That’s because if there are bacteria on your fingers, they will enter your nose, and cause infections, says the US National Library of Medicine. Say, for instance, you touched the table and then forgot to wash your hands. The dirt and bacteria will automatically enter your system if you pick your nose. 

Moreover, it works in the reverse way too! If you put your fingers inside your nose, there’s a high chance of transmitting viruses and bacteria from your boogers to other surfaces. 

Also Read: Don’t take your runny nose lightly! It could be your body’s cry for help against allergies

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A clean nose makes you smell and breathe better. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Does your nose feel full of boogers? Should you do something?

There are certain health issues like sinusitis or even allergies that can make your nose feel super clogged. In case that’s what you are going through, try and use a saline rinse. It will help to eliminate any of the stuff that’s causing trouble in your nostrils. You can buy one or make your own saline rinse, as suggested by The 

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. 

Here’s what you need to make the saline rinse:

  • Pickling or canning salt that contains no iodine or preservatives
  • Baking soda
  • 1 cup of lukewarm distilled or boiled water

1. In a clean container, mix three teaspoons of iodide-free salt with one teaspoon of baking soda and store this in an airtight container.
2. Add one teaspoon of the mixture to one cup of lukewarm distilled or boiled water.
3. Use this as a saline rinse. 

You could also use a nasal decongestant to get rid of mucus and boogers, in case the saline rinse doesn’t help. But make sure you do not go beyond three or four days!

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About the Author

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town. ...Read More

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