Every time you get congested or have a running nose, you think about the good times – when you breathed easy and you’re face wasn’t half coated in mucus.
But your desperation bids to rid yourself of the snotty situation might be doing you more harm than good.
University of Queensland Medicine lecturer, David King writes for The Conversation: “The three most common reasons for extra mucus or snot are common cold, sinusitis (infection or inflammation of the sinuses) and hay fever. Each of these conditions cause the lining in the nose to swell up, and to produce extra mucus to flush away infection, irritants or allergens.”
“There are a few examples in the medical literature of people blowing so hard they generated pressures high enough to cause serious damage…injuries included fractures of the base of the eye socket: air forced into the tissue between the two lobes of the lung; sever headache from air forced inside the skull: and rupture of the oesophagus.”
So how do you safely remove the gross, gooey affliction?
“If you have mucus in the nose, it is probably best to get it out, so blow gently or by clearing one nostril at a time. Use of appropriate treatments can lessen the need to blow, and the force required to clear your nose,” advises King.
But if you want to avoid the itchy dryness at the base of your nostrils, there are other options apart from tissues. Decongestants and antihistamines can help reduce both congestion and the amount of slime floating around in your passages.
King also recommends a saline nose spray or you can get decongestants that contain oxymetazoline and phenylephrine – blood constrictors – often found in cold and flu tablets.
If your symptoms do persist longer than usual, then it’s time to consult your general practitioner.