Rx NURSE KRIS: Time to “Pick” Another Habit

Nose picking.  You do it.  I do it.  Everyone has been caught doing it at one time or another (remember Seinfeld?)– and then there’s the 5-year-old who does it.

When you, me or Seinfeld does it, there’s an itch.  When kids do it– they’re snacking (ewww, I know!  Let’s blame it on their wacky Square Pegicity!)

Gross?  Yes.
Bad for them?  No, not really.

The danger doesn’t lie so much in what kids might be putting in their mouths, although there is always the risk of them eating viruses or dangerous bacteria.  The danger comes when they dig-in and damage the tissue in their nose.  Nose-picking, or as we medical folk refer to it, rhinotillexis, can cause nose bleeds or infection.  Infection can cause trouble– BIG trouble– and here’s why:

The nose is very close to the brain.
The nose and brain share the same blood supply.
If you infect the nose, it might infect the brain.


This is why the area around the nose is called the “danger triangle”.  It extends from one corner of the mouth, over the bridge of the nose, and down to the opposite corner of the mouth.  Dr. Oz even did a show on this very subject, referring to this area as The Triangle of Death.  Scary?  Well it should be. Infections here can cause vision loss, paralysis, headaches and sometimes death. Yikes! Sounds dramatic, but considering people pick their noses roughly 4-5 times an HOUR, it’s best to know the facts and play it safe.  While these types of infections aren’t common, they are possible and not worth the risk.

Dr. Oz suggests a few helpful ways to avoid infection I couldn’t have said better myself (other than that last one– don’t pierce it!)

  • Clear nasal passages with a nasal rinse and a neti pot as part of your daily morning hygiene routine
  • Gently clear crust from the nose carefully using a clean tissue and not your nail or other device
  • Avoid popping or picking at facial pimples, blackheads, cuts and scabs
  • Treat any facial infection, sore or cut immediately
  • Line your nose with a emollient jelly to make it less crusty or to relieve dryness- a main cause for nose-picking
  • Use rotary nose-hair trimmers that gently cut the hairs rather than pulling them out at the root
  • Rethink facial piercing

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2 Responses to Rx NURSE KRIS: Time to “Pick” Another Habit

  1. DSP Dixie says:

    You can pick your nose and you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose. Words to live by.

  2. DSP Nurse Kris says:

    Well, you could pick your friend’s nose…nah, that would just be weird! ;)

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