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Another Good Reason Not to Pick Your Nose: You Could Be Spreading Pneumonia

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

It’s flu and pneumonia season, and the health warnings are out: Wash your hands. Cover a cough. Stay home if you’re sick. And — don’t pick your nose. What? Yes, you read that right: Don’t pick your nose unless you want to help spread disease, specifically, pneumococcus bacteria that are normally spread through coughs and sneezes.

According to health24, a first-of-its-kind study has shown that pneumococcal bacteria can migrate to others via your hands after you pick your nose, and then on to others. The study was small — just 40 people — but it’s implications are serious, meaning you probably need to add don’t pick your nose and tighten up hand hygiene practices to your flu season prevention list.

This is a good reminder that hand-washing is an incredibly simple way to reduce your exposure to many kinds of disease-causing germs, whether it’s flu season or not. The key is to perform the task correctly and for the right amount of time, which is about 20 seconds. Important points are to use warm, running water with regular soap; cover all the surfaces up to your wrists; and rinse thoroughly before drying your hands, ideally with a paper towel.

Then, as the featured article suggests, beyond not picking your nose, it’s also good to make sure that the surfaces you or your children touch are kept clean as well, since bacteria and other germs can transfer from those surfaces to others, and infect them.

Another way to avoid getting sick in the first place is to keep your immune system boosted by applying a few key health strategies. Nutrition may be the most vital component in maintaining — or gaining — a healthy immune system. It makes all the difference in the way your body fights off germs, but just as importantly, plays an important role in more minute functions like helping tissues repair and rebuild themselves and how your body reclaims flagging energy.

Eating foods chock-full of vitamins A, B, D and C is an excellent way to strengthen your immune system to stay healthy all season. Ditching sugar-laden foods (that includes processed foods) and optimizing your gut health with good probiotic foods like fermented vegetables is another way.

And last, but not least, make sure to get good, quality sleep each night, as research shows restorative sleep increases your immune system in a number of ways.

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