Nose picking


Nose-picking is the act of extracting nasal mucus with one’s finger (rhinotillexis).

Rhinotillexomani, refers to nose picking that becomes a repetitive behavior or obsessive–compulsive disorder.

Ingestion of the extracted mucus is called mucophagy.

Nasal mucophagy may provide a natural boost to the immune system, as the mucus contains antiseptic enzymes that kill or weaken many of the bacteria that become entangled in it.

Nose-picking is almost universal, with people picking their nose on average about four times a day.

The mucosa of the nasal cavity constantly produces a wet mucus that removes dust and pathogens from the air.

The nasal cilia that line the cavity work to move the mucus toward the throat, where it can be swallowed.

If the mucus is not liquid enough to be removed by the cilia, it may dry and stick to the nostril.

Mucus close to the nostril opening has a propensity for drying out.

Dried mucus causes a sensation of irritation that leads to the effort to dislodge the itch by picking

The urge to remove excess dried mucus include impaired breathing through the nose, that the mucus may be visible to others in the nostril openings.

In many cultures nose-picking is felt to be a private act like defecation, urination, flatulence, and burping.

The nose and its environs, including the dried secretions removed contain many microorganisms.

Therefore, it is important that hands used to remove mucus are washed promptly, because there is risk of introducing microorganisms to other parts of the body when a person is contagious with a cold, flu or other virus.

Picking one’s nose with dirty fingers or fingernails may increase risks of infection.

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