Nose-blowing is the act of expelling nasal mucus by exhaling forcefully through the nose. This is usually done into a facial tissue or handkerchief, facial tissues being more hygienic as they are disposed of after each use.
The tissue is held gently against the nose. Prior to nose blowing, a deep inhale through the mouth provides the air required to eject the nasal mucus. Exhaling hard through both nostrils at once will effectively eject the mucus. The process may need to be repeated several times to sufficiently clear the entire nose.
While nose-blowing helps to alleviate symptoms of the common cold and hayfever, the blowing of a nose, when it is done excessively or incorrectly, may bring potential health effects. Nose-blowing generates high pressure in the nostrils. When this pressure is added to a dry nose, it could rupture blood vessels inside the nose, resulting in a nosebleed.
In a 2000 study, doctors squirted dense liquid dye, which could be seen on x-rays, into the noses of several adult volunteers. The volunteers were induced to sneeze, cough, and blow their noses. It was found that the typical pressure of nose-blowing was 1.3 pounds per square inch, ten times greater than that generated by sneezing or coughing. CT scans showed that nose blowing sent much of the dye into the paranasal sinuses rather than expelling it out the nose. The doctors suspected that nose-blowing may increase the risk of sinus infections by sending bacteria-filled mucus into the sinuses.
Nose-blowing becomes a breach of etiquette if it is done directly in front of someone at a dining table. When nose-blowing needs to take place at the table, the person doing it should turn away from everybody else and especially away from food on the table. If the nose-blowing session is going to be short, then it could be done at the table, but if the nose is too stuffed and the resulting nose-blowing session will be long and loud, then it is strongly advised to go to the restroom/washroom.
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