How to blow your nose

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Hull City v Arsenal - KC StadiumWe all do it and most of us have never asked ourselves if we are doing it correctly.

Well, if you look at the science it seems most of us have it wrong. Strangely, it seems footballers can teach us something here; you’ll often see them doing the one-finger-one-nostril salute.

Here’s a test for you: if your nose-blowing is accompanied by a honking sound then you are almost certainly doing it the wrong way and you may be doing yourself harm, particularly if you suffer from regular bronchial infections.

I’ve found two scientific trials of nose-blowing, and they both conclude much the same thing:

Very high pressures are generated in the nasal cavities when both nostrils are blown at the same time. This could aggravate bronchial infections.

So blowing both nostrils at the same time is bad news. I’ve included links to the research papers (below), but if you think about it in terms of simple physics the reason is rather obvious:

  1. The mucous in your nose contains bacteria.
  2. If you close both nostrils while blowing, the mucous is more likely to go deeper into the nasal cavities than onto the tissue.
  3. Bacteria way up in your nasal cavities is bad news.

So what’s the correct way to blow your nose, I hear you ask.

The answer is to use the footballer’s technique, but do it a bit more discretely. Blow only one nostril at a time. If you do it correctly, all you’ll hear is a rush of air, not a honk.

Here’s a video showing you how:


How to Blow Your Nose — powered by ehow

If you want to test this method, the shower is a great place to get it right. You’ll be amazed at how easy and effective it is. Plus, you won’t find your ears blocking up as much from the enourmous pressure of the two-nostril method.

Research Papers

Pressures generated during nose blowing in patients with nasal complaints and normal test subjects. Clement P, Chovanova H. SourceDepartment of ENT, H&N Surg, Free University Hospital Brussels (AZ-VUB), Laarbeeklaan 101, 1090 Brussels, Belgium.
Nose blowing propels nasal fluid into the paranasal sinuses. Gwaltney JM Jr, Hendley JO, Phillips CD, Bass CR, Mygind N, Winther B. Department of Internal Medicine, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.

 

 

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