Covid-19: Picking your nose could increase your chances of catching the disease

Nose-picking could increase your risk of getting Covid, a new study reveals. Here is the science behind it and how to get rid of the dangerous habit.

Picking your nose could increase your chances of catching this severe disease
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Picking your nose could increase your chances of catching this severe disease

The Dutch researchers revealed that the role of nose-picking in spreading coronavirus could be underestimated.

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Their study showed that health workers guilty of the nasty habit are more likely to get and spread Covid-19.

As the smelling organ is the main route for the disease to get into the body, nose-picking makes getting infected easier by directly introducing virus particles from the hands into the nose.

If you believe that the conclusions of the study are the reason enough to quit the gross tendency, here are some tips for how to do it.

Meanwhile, a dentist revealed a disgusting reason why you should never bite your nails.

When nose-pickers become Covid-spreaders

Healthcare workers should think twice before picking their noses, a study suggests. The reason behind it is an increased risk of Covid-19 infection.

The 2020 survey of healthcare workers at two university medical centres in the Netherlands showed that 85% of respondents admitted to picking their nose ‘at least incidentally’ monthly, weekly and daily.

Surprisingly, out of those who confessed, doctors engaged in the gross habit most, followed by support staff and nurses, while men and younger people were more likely to admit to the pattern.

Out of 219 participants, 17% of those who'd reach for the boogers tested positive for Covid compared to 6% of those who'd not.

According to researchers, as the smelling organ is the main route for coronavirus to get into the body, the habit directly introduces virus particles from the hands into the nose, potentially turning nose-pickers into Covid-spreaders.

The study concluded:

Subsequently, nose-picking healthcare workers who are infected with [coronavirus] could contaminate the work environment, potentially leading to further transmission.

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Here is how to stop picking your nose

Experts believe that the key to quitting the disgusting habit is finding alternatives to the reasons why you pick your nose.

If the air in your house is too dry, it can lead to dry nasal passages.

In this case, saline spray may help restore moisture and stop dry snot and boogers from forming.

A humidifier is another way to increase the natural moisture.

Saline nasal wash is a hygienic alternative to nose picking as it can clean your nasal passages and sinus cavities.

Drinking plenty of fluids is also important to maintain healthy balance in your body and fight the annoying dry snot.

If the nasty tendency becomes a nervous or compulsive habit, the experts recommend mindfulness meditation, which can help reduce the stress and anxiety that promotes these behaviours.

Habit-reversal training and cognitive behavioural therapy are also beneficial as they build awareness of and may interrupt the harmful tendency.

The study by Dutch researchers also saw a third of healthcare staff admitting to biting their nails. Although, this didn't make a positive Covid test any more likely.

It is believed that saliva has protective effects which make the mouth not ‘an entrance route’ for the virus.

It was also found that having a beard or wearing glasses which may obstruct wearing face masks correctly did not increase the risk of getting coronavirus.

Read more:

Can your nose-picking habit increase risk of devastating brain disease?

The serious health reasons why you should stop picking your nose

Sources used:

- BBC News: 'Nose-picking health workers more likely to get Covid, study shows'

- Medical News Today: 'What to know about nose picking'

- Healthline: 'Is It Dangerous for Me to Pick My Nose, and How Do I Stop?'

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