Admit it, you have probably picked your nose a few times before this with your less-than-clean hands without thinking twice. After reading this article though, you may want to quit the habit because new research has shown that picking your nose can actually lead to pneumonia.
According to a group of British scientists, they proved that pneumococcus, the bacteria that cause pneumonia can actually be transmitted using your hands and nose for the first time, AFP reported. Pneumonia can be deadly if left untreated and is usually spread through airborne droplets that come from coughs and sneezes of infected individuals.
The scientists published their results in the European Respiratory Journal where they conducted a study based on a group of adult volunteers. They applied pneumococcus bacteria on these adults’ hands and asked them to choose from four tasks that they need to do, which are “wet sniff”, “dry sniff”, “wet poke”, and “dry poke”. Yes, this means picking your nose!
“This study has shown that the hands can spread this bacteria as well and objects like mobile phones or children’s toys could also be adding to the spread of this bacteria,” said Victoria Connor, a clinical research fellow at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Royal Liverpool Hospital.
This deadly disease kills about 1.3 million infants under five years old annually and although the study was done with adults, she hopes that parents of young children would take notice and hopefully reduce the risk of kids contracting the disease.
“It might not be realistic to get children to stop picking, poking and rubbing their noses. But for parents… ensuring good hand hygiene and cleaning of toys or surfaces would likely reduce transmission, and reduce the risk of developing pneumococcal infection such as pneumonia,” Victoria added.
The results from the research showed that while the bacteria was still active in their noses even with wet or dry pneumococcus samples, the total amount of bacteria transmitted in the “wet sniff” and “wet poke” groups were higher. This suggests that drying out may have killed off some of the bacteria.
Remember to always wash your hands and keep them clean!
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