By Okeoghene Oghenekaro
An Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT|) specialist,Enema Amodu on Thursday warned Nigerians against picking their noses with a finger as the act could cause inflammation of the nose.
Amodu gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Nose-picking is the act of extracting nasal mucus with one’s finger. Medically, this is referred to as rhinotillexis.
He also advised mothers to desist from the habit of sucking mucus from the nostrils of their children.
“Some people have this habit of picking the nose too frequently. Adults and even children do it and that’s not good.
“Sometimes when you have mucous dried up in the nose it could attach so adhesively to the skin in the nose and when you pull it out it can provoke bleeding. So it is not good to pick your nose.
“And to mothers, who have this tendency of sucking out catarrh from the child’s nose trying to clear the child’s nose, I say that is not a good thing to do.
“Whatever comes out (of the nose) just wipe it nicely with tissue paper or whatever you have that is meant for that.
“It is also advisable that you do not poke tissue into the nose because it has the same effect like you are trying to pick your nose (with the finger).
“You don’t poke things into your nose; you do not poke cotton buds into the nostrils of newborn babies.
“These are other ways of provoking inflammation and sometimes even sinusitis.
“There are some tissues in the nostrils – the erectile tissues – which perform the function of optimizing the air that goes into the nose and into the lungs eventually.
“They could be the ones responsible for the obstruction.
“So if you think its catarrh and you blow so hard it can actually provoke bleeding too.
“So blowing of the nose too hard is not advisable. If something trips out just wipe it gently or blow the nose gently.’’
According to the specialist, because the nose is the body’s primary organ of smell and also functions as part of the body’s respiratory system, it should be properly taken care of.
“When you sneeze, you have secretions like catarrh coming out of the nose and sometimes you get a blocked or stuffy nose. That is one way the nose tells you something is wrong.
“Or if you are exposed to things in the air that you are allergic to and you have these symptom too often, it means that your nose is trying to tell you something,’’ he said.
The doctor, therefore, said that avoiding things that cause irritation was one way of caring for the nose.
Amodu said that having frequent bouts of catarrh could be a sign of a more severe condition.
“Sometimes when you have frequent bouts of catarrh or nose bleeding or catarrh mixed with blood occurring in children, that can pass as severe inflammation.
“But in adults above 40 to 50 years old, you should have a doctor look at you because some very serious conditions can come as ordinary catarrh.
“So it is not enough to say catarrh is my usual illness; you should have a doctor check it out because it can actually be something worse like cancer,’’ Amodu said.
The doctor also advised people to avoid inhaling strong chemicals and odorant such as insecticides and fragrances as they have the capacity to damage the nerve responsible for receiving smell in the nose.
He also advised the public to ensure that their rooms are always properly ventilated after using insecticides to guard against infection while sleeping.
“When you inhale this strong odorants it can actually burn the nerve and sometimes it is irreversible.
“Insecticides can irritate the nose and affect the olfactory nerve if it they are very strong,’’ he stated.