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International Nose Picking Day

Chances are high that you have celebrated this holiday on more days than just today. Studies show that almost everyone picks their nose. It has been found that those who pick their nose do so about four times a day. 91 percent of respondents from a 1995 survey said they pick their nose. With so much company, there should be no shame in celebrating today.

The technical term for nose picking is rhinotillexis. This comes from the Greek word "rhino," which means nose, and "tillexis," which means the habit of picking. Nose pickers use their fingers to extract dried nasal mucus, commonly known as boogers. Mucous membranes produce wet mucus to help remove dust and pathogens as someone breathes. Cilia move the mucus towards the throat, where it is swallowed, but not all mucus makes it there. Some dries after being exposed to air. This causes irritation, causing people to pick their nose. People also pick their nose because the mucus may be hindering their ability to breathe, or because they are worried that the mucus may be visible to others.

Nose picking is somewhat taboo in most cultures. When watching people pick their nose, most people have mixed feelings of disgust and amusement. Sometimes the eating of mucus, called mucophagy, follows the picking. An even greater amount of disgust and amusement is associated with this act.

There are some medical risks associated with nose picking. Nasal infections are possible, and risks are increased when a picker has dirty fingers. It is extremely rare, but these infections could spread to the brain. Nosebleeds are also a risk from nose picking. If a picker has a cold, flu, or another virus, it may easily be spread if they don't wash their hands after picking. Another rare occurrence is the perforation of the nasal septum. This would most likely be caused by rhinotillexomania, which is extreme nose picking. Most nose-picking doesn't rise to this level. One thing that isn't affected by nose picking is the sense of smell, as the olfactory nerves are farther up the nose, and aren't reached when picking.

How to Observe International Nose Picking Day

Depending on how you interpret the day, today could be a day to pick your nose as much as possible, or a day to focus on not picking on it, and to raise awareness about the dangers of nose picking. If you do end up picking your nose today, you may choose to do it without shame. If someone is giving you a look of disgust as you are picking your nose, make sure to tell them it is International Nose Picking Day. Perhaps they will join in on the fun, and begin picking their nose as well. You could also spend the day sharing stories with friends of times you have seen people pick their nose in public.

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