The Real Reason to Not Pick Your Nose

Everyone knows that picking your nose is gross and will give you a bad image among the people who catch you in the act.  Although this seems to be an everyday activity for most, it is something that should be stopped.  A survey conducted by James Jefferson and Trent Thompson found that over 90% of the people who took part in the survey claimed to pick their nose daily.  In most cases, this is a private practice.  Another study showed that many adolescents stated they pick their noses multiple times in one day (Griffiths).  141608-142617

Rhinotillexomania is a disorder that occurs when nose picking becomes exaggerated.  Most people do not suffer from this, but there are extreme cases where this can occur and people become obsessive about picking their nose.  This can be dangerous because it can encourage excessive nose bleeds.  Another issue is when people tend to pick their nose and eat what they just extracted from their nose.  The scientific term for this is mucophagy.

imageIn addition to the gross factor, there are many other reasons why picking your nose is something you should quit now.  It is actually quite a major health concern which, when you think about it, makes a lot of sense.  First, by picking your nose, you can actually cause a nose bleed to start. There are many arteries that are located in the nose.  When you scratch those arteries it can cause intense bleeding and start a nose bleed.  This is a very common thing that happens to younger kids.

Secondly, the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus often resides in the naval cavity.  While picking your nose, you cause the walls of your nose to get scratched.  Even if you don’t realize it, those scratches cause your nose to bleed, even the slightest bit.  When scratches occur, it is often very easy for the staph infection to enter the blood since your nose will be bleeding slightly.  Many studies have been conducted see who has Staphylococcus aureus present in their nasal passage.  There has been no published explanation for why many carry this bacterium in the nose, but multiple studies have been performed.  Staphylococcus aureus can also be carried on a person’s hand, so when said person goes to pick their nose, staphylococcus is all over the place and increases the likelihood of receiving a bacterial infection due to it being present on both the hand and in the nasal passage.

In a particular study published by Cambridge University, there were participants that were ear, nose, and throat (ENT) patients and also, volunteers who were reported to be healthy.  All those who agreed to participate in this study filled out a survey describing their behavior with their nose.  In other words, they explained if they picked their nose and how often a day they picked their nose.  Then the ENT patients were screened to look for signs of S. aureus in their nasal passage.  The results were then broken up into the ENT participants and those who volunteered.  The ENT results showed that those who picked their nose were more prone to be carrying Staphylococcus aureus than those who reported to not pick their nose.  In terms of the volunteers, there seemed to be a positive correlation with those who reported picking their noses quite a lot and the amount of S. aureus in their nose.  I find this study very interesting because it proves that nose picking is bad for a person’s health.  The correlation between nose picking and the bacteria residing in one’s nose is significant and seems to have been proven positive (Wertheim).

So what does Staphylococcus aureus cause?  Staph infections typically cause growths such as boils or abscess.  It can also cause diseases such as food poisoning, toxic shock syndrome, or cellulitis.  Staph infections can be treated with a variety of antibiotics, depending, of course, what type of infection one has.  But instead of worrying about antibiotics, avoid the infection all together by quitting picking you your nose.blnhy9kigaal4bh


Allan, Patrick. “Why You Probably Shouldn’t Pick Your Nose.” Lifehacker. N.p., 22 Aug. 2016. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.

Griffiths, Mark D. “Snot My Fault.” Psychology Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.

Picking, Stop. “Nose Picking (Rhinotillexomania).” Dermatillomania Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.

Stöppler, MD Melissa Conrad. “Staph Infection Symptoms, Causes, Pictures & Treatment.” MedicineNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.

Wertheim, Heiman F. L., Menno Van Kleef, Margreet C. Vos, Alewijn Ott, Henri A. Verbrugh, and Wytske Fokkens. “Nose Picking and Nasal Carriage of Staphylococcus Aureus.” Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 27.8 (2006): 863-67. Web.


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