Pick Your Nose, It's Healthy!


nose picking.jpg            You can pick your nose. You can pick your friends. BUT you CAN'T pick your friends nose. This was a joke that my parents used to tell me when I was little, and I am sure that many of you have heard the same one before too. The idea that picking your nose is bad has been instilled in all of us from the time that we started doing it. Let's face it; we all did it at one point growing up. "Get your finger out of your nose," my mom used to say to me. Picking your nose has always been thought as a negative. Whether some say it's a bad habit or it's socially unacceptable or it's just plain disgusting, the concept of nose picking has been considered "bad."

            However, some science has proven this "theory" otherwise. Among those saying that picking your nose is healthy is Professor Dr. Friedrich Bischinger, a well-recognized Austrian doctor. "With the finger you can get to places you just can't reach with a handkerchief, keeping your nose far cleaner," Dr. Bischinger explains. I believe that this statement makes total sense, and he brings up a good point. Dr. Bischinger goes on to explain how picking your nose is healthy for you. He explains how your nose is similar to a filter in which the body gets rid of bacteria. As the bacteria leaves the body, some of it stays in the nose. This bacteria is mixed with the mucus. This is when we get those dried up chunks or "boogers" in our noses.

            With this being said, how would eating bacteria that's trying to leave the body help us become healthy? When I first heard about the idea of picking your nose being healthy I thought that it could make sense. I thought of it like this. When you're sick with a cold, your body fights off the cold and it tries to get rid of the infected mucus through your throat and nose. If you ate some of the infected mucus that would help make your body become immune to the infection. It turns out, I was far off. According to Dr. Bischinger, "In terms of the immune system the nose is a filter in which a great deal of bacteria are collected, and when this mixture arrives in the intestines it works just like a medicine."

            Basically, my picking your nose and eating it, you are boosting your immune system. In return, your body becomes used to the bacteria from the mucus, thus, making you healthier. There isn't really any evidence that says that picking your nose is bad for your health, however, it's probably not the best thing to do in public. Picking your nose may help make you healthy, but are you willing to do take part in this negatively viewed activity of "picking your nose?"


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Very interesting post, I thought it was an interesting example of how some of our least-disputed social rules (like don't pick your nose) are set for abitrary/ subjective reasons like "it doesn't look polite/ nice". I think it is also a good example of how human intuition is a poor substitute for science; that is in this case it 'feels' like it would be a bad thing to eat boogers but the science seems to prove otherwise. It also reminds me of the talk in class about feacal translants and their benefits. Below is a link to a podcast about it:


A couple of questions come to mind though. Firstly, how healthy would eating one's boogers have to be, so that once proven, it would be able to change this social nor. What level of evidence does it take to break social norms?
Also I wonder what other arbitrary social norms we would be better off abandoning?

I agree that this post is interest, although a little disgusting. I personally hardly ever find myself picking my nose. I find that using a soft tissue kleenex gives my nose all of the cleaning that it deserves. I would like to raise the point that picking your nose can make your nose dirtier. Even though it has been argued by some like the Austrian doctor that it can make it cleaner, I feel like the human hand is one of the most dirtiest places of our body. Society would tend to agree with me. Hands are so dirty that we even have a Global Hand Washing Day. Although I would also argue that we pretty much have a "day" for everything these days, I seriously don't consider picking your nose to be a good habit to start.

People are creatures of habit, and if people start picking their nose because everyone else is, thinking that they have the cleanest noses in town, then odds are the world and things we touch daily are going to be a lot dirtier and full of communicable diseases. Think about it. Some people don't even wash their hands after going to the bathroom, even I am guilty of this on occasion. But do we really think people will have the initiative to wash their hands after a good nose picking session? I don't think we will, so I would advise to allow your nose to be as clean as it is, maybe do a nasal drip every once in awhile if you feel stuffy, but in no way, shape or form would I ever become one of those hideous "nose-pickers" just to keep a cleaner nose.


Going off of what Brian said about our hands being so dirty, Wouldn't picking our noses just bring new bacteria and viruses into our noses and make us more likely to get sick again? Seeing as how the majority of people who do pick their nose probably don't think of washing their hands before AND after doing so. This would lead to not only picking up new germs and putting them into your body, but also getting the germs you already have from being sick onto your hands and more easily infecting other people.

As someone for whom picking his nose was once an issue, this post really interests me. Another case of societal pressures convincing people to act against their own self-interests? I will agree that handwashing is definitely something to be taken into consideration though. It certainly would not be difficult to wash hands before and after, assuming you don't just spend entire days with your fingers up your nose.

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