Nose Blowing - Boys Town Pediatrics
How to Blow Your Nose
Even though it’s instinctual to blow your nose when it’s clogged, it can actually do more harm than good if done incorrectly. Blowing your nose too hard can inflame the blood vessels in your nose or lead to a sinus infection. Luckily, blowing your nose correctly is simple as long as you blow gently and follow the right steps. You can also take further steps to reduce or stop your runny nose, which may eliminate the need to blow it all together.
Blowing your Nose Properly
Hold a tissue or handkerchief over your nose.Place the tissue or handkerchief over your nose and hold it there. Tissues prevent the spread of germs because you throw them away after use while handkerchiefs are more likely to spread germs, but are more environmentally friendly than tissues.
- If you have the cold, flu, or another virus, it may be beneficial to use tissues to prevent the spread of germs. If you have allergies, a handkerchief may be the better option.
- If you don’t have tissues or a handkerchief, you can use toilet paper as an alternative. Avoid blowing your nose with coarser materials like paper towels or napkins.
- If you have sensitive skin, consider purchasing tissues that have lotion in them.
Press a finger against one of your nostrils to close it off.You shouldn’t be able to breathe out of that nostril. Keep the tissue or handkerchief over your nose so that you don’t get mucus on your hands.
- It's generally polite to excuse yourself from the table when you blow your nose.
- If you're in a public situation, consider going to the bathroom or closing your office door before blowing your nose.
Blow the open nostril into the tissue or handkerchief gently.Blow with as little force as you possibly can. Blowing too hard could cause mucus to go up into your sinuses which could cause an infection and worsen your symptoms. If you blow and nothing comes out, do not blow again.
- Remember to wipe up excess mucus on the outside of your nose when you've finished blowing.
- Blowing your nose too hard could also make the blood vessels in your nose more inflamed. If nothing comes out, it means that your mucus is too thick or your nose is clogged higher up.
Repeat the process on the other nostril.Press down on your other nostril and gently blow the mucus out the nostril you held closed before. If done properly, you’ll have properly blown your nose without infecting your sinuses.
- Blowing one nostril at a time will help expel mucus easier.
- Throw away the tissue after you blow your nose so that you don't spread germs.
Squeeze the mucus out of your nose instead of blowing it.Squeeze at the center of your nose and push down towards your nostrils to push the mucus out. This is an alternative to blowing your nose that will prevent you from accidentally blowing too hard.
Wash your hands.Lather your hands with soap and rinse them thoroughly under the faucet. Then, dry them off with a towel or rag. This will prevent the spread of germs and will reduce the chance of getting other people sick.
- Antibacterial soap is no better at removing germs than traditional soap.
Loosening and Preventing Mucus
Take decongestants or antihistamines to prevent.Over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines may reduce the amount of mucus and congestion from a sinus infection or cold. These medicines usually come in pill or spray form and can be found at pharmacies.
- Antihistamines are more effective at treating symptoms of hay fever or allergies and are less effective at treating a cold or flu.
Spray a saline spray up your nose.You can purchase a saline spray over the counter at a pharmacy or department store. Hold the spray near the opening of your nostril and spray the solution into each nostril.
- Saline spray reduces mucus buildup in your nose.
Apply a warm compress over your nose to loosen mucus.Hold a washcloth under hot running water and wring it out. Press the compress over your nose and forehead for 1-2 minutes. This should reduce your congestion and potentially loosen any mucus in your nose.
Inhale steam with eucalyptus oil in it to help your sinuses drain.Boil a pot of water over your stovetop and put a couple drops of eucalyptus oil in it. Once it starts boiling, inhale the steam that comes off the water. This should reduce your congestion and make blowing your nose much easier.
- If you don't have eucalyptus, then inhaling steam may still reduce your runny or stuffy nose.
Avoid known allergens to prevent clogged sinuses.Reducing your exposure to the allergens will cut down on your runny nose and congestion so that you don’t have the urge to blow it as often. Commonly people are allergic to animal dander and pollen.
- You can ask your doctor to take an allergy test if you’re unsure if you have any allergies.
QuestionWhat should I do if my nose burns and has a rash?
Registered NurseRegistered NurseExpert AnswerThis is probably a sign that you are blowing too hard or using rough paper. Put a little vaseline on the sore part, and try switching to a softer tissue.Thanks!
QuestionHow would we apply hygienic practices to nose blowing?
Registered NurseRegistered NurseExpert AnswerThe number one way to make your nose blowing more hygienic is to do it in private, away from others. This prevents spreading airborne germs. You should also wrap your tissues in a plastic bag before throwing them away and wash your hands more often than usual. If you can't get to a sink, clean your hands with hand sanitizer.Thanks!
QuestionIs blowing your nose really hard harmful?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt can cause a sinus infection, so try to blow your nose gently.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do if my nose burns?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPut lotion on it and do not touch it. Don't wipe your nose hard with tissues because they are probably the reason why you have experienced burning. Just blow your nose and if you have to wipe it, just dab a tissue on your nose.Thanks!
QuestionWhat happens if mucus stays in the nose too long?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt will get dry so it's harder to blow out. To soften mucus for blowing, drink some hot water or have a steamy shower. You can also eat a spoon of hot sauce to clear your nose. There are no health risks to leaving mucus in the nose for a long time.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the purpose of a runny nose?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe biological purpose of a runny nose is to clear pathogens and allergens trapped in the mucus out of the nasal cavity and sinuses as a result of rhinitis or sinusitis. Mucus is considered to be part of the innate immune system and provides mechanical and chemical defenses against pathogens.Thanks!
QuestionShould I always blow my nose when it is running?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf it's not running heavily, you could just dab your nose instead of blowing. This can help prevent your nose from getting raw from too much blowing and wiping.Thanks!
QuestionHow should I blow my nose at school?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerCarry a tissue or handkerchief with you. Blow gently. If you feel you really need to blow hard, then do it in the washroom.Thanks!
QuestionWhat does it mean when snot is yellow?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWhen snot is yellow or green-ish, that is not very good. You are either sick or suffering from allergies; you want snot to be light green or clear. Try drinking more water and perhaps seeing a doctor about some allergy medicine.Thanks!
QuestionShould I close one nostril all the way or leave it open just a little bit for the pressure to equalize?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerKeep one nostril completely closed, so that all the force is focused on one nostril. This help get rid of the mucus more effectively. After you blow one nostril, switch to the other.Thanks!
I am coughing up dark green mucus with boogers. What does that mean?
Is there something else I can try?
To blow your nose, start by holding a tissue or handkerchief over your nose. Then, press your fingers against one of your nostrils to close it off. Next, gently blow out of your open nostril and into the tissue. Once all of the mucus in that nostril has come out, repeat with your other nostril. If nothing is coming out when you blow your nose, try holding a warm, damp washcloth over your nose for 2 minutes to help loosen the mucus.
Things You'll Need
Tissues or handkerchief
Decongestant or antihistamine (optional)
Warm compress (optional)
Eucalyptus oil (optional)
Sources and Citations
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