What exactly is a "booger"????
Well . . . it's actually just a piece of dried nasal mucus.
That seems harmless enough . . . right???
They start out inside the nose as mucus, which is mostly water combined with protein, salt and a few chemicals. Mucus is produced by tissues not just in the nose, but in the mouth, sinuses, throat and gastrointestinal tract.
And with this . . . allergies and sinus infections can increase the amount of mucus in the nose. If you're sick with a sinus infection or head cold, you may develop more boogers because the body is producing excess mucus.
Another issue can be a dry environment that irritates the nasal passages. This can also lead to excess mucus development and these pieces may be particularly dry and sharp.
So we all know, a runny or stuffed-up nose can be so annoying, but extra mucus actually "helps" the body to stay healthy by protecting it from viruses and bacteria.
You see . . . The stickiness from mucus, traps foreign particles which can then be swept away out of the body.
This mucus also contains special proteins and antibodies that actually fight off the germs.
So even though a runny nose is a pain in the shorts . . . it's actually doing its job and protecting us from harm.
And guess what . . . on an average day when your nose "isn't" running . . . the body produces 1 to 1.5 liters of mucus per day. That's kind of mind blowing, isn't it??
So where does it all go???
Well . . . the majority of it is swallowed and we don't even know it.
Okay . . . so what else do we need to know???
Well . . . the healthiest type of mucus is watery and clear.
WHITE - means a cold is coming and the mucus is getting thicker and white blood cells are now accumulating.
GREEN or YELLOW - means you have an infection brewing and the color comes from a protein released from the inflammatory cells. This is a toxic substances that "kills" the germs. So even though we are told at this point to take antibiotics to stop the green boogers . . . we actually don't need the antibiotics because the body's defenses are just doing their job.
RED or PINK - this is most likely from a broken blood vessel in the nose or throat from being sick or coughing a lot. BUT . . . it can also be a sign of cancer . . . so best to consult with your own healthcare provider if it continues.
BROWN or BLACK - this too is an infection that can be a cause from smoking or being around smoke. This type of mucus can also be a sign of chronic lung disease. The color comes from a mix of blood and inflammation in the lungs.
Okay . . . with that being said . . . white, green or yellow mucus should clear up on its own. Any other color consult your physician, please . . .
Okay . . . so one more delicate issue . . .
What about the over 90% of adults that pick their nose or the one that ends up eating those boogers???
This is an issue . . . you see . . . boogers trap invading viruses and bacteria before they can enter the body. And unless the fingers are thoroughly washed after . . . bacteria or viruses can still get into the body via eyes or mouth. And if eaten. . . the bacteria or virus is surely able to affect the immune system negatively.
So wash your hands for a healthier you.
As always, feel free to contact me here