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Low Risk

Also known as:

Mucous Snot

Young girl picking her nose for boogers
Possible Symptoms
  • Nose bleeds
  • Possible spreading of viruses and bacteria
What to Do
  1. Wipe or rinse out mouth.
  2. Give a serving size of water to drink.
  3. Call 1-800-222-1222 for additional instructions.

Additional Information

Quick Facts:

Does the mucous in your nose serve a function?

Thinking of boogers is YUCK, but they exist for a reason. So, where do boogers come from? The inside lining of the nose and sinuses has a liquid coating (mucous) covering the delicate tissue to help keep the nose and sinuses moist. If there is not enough mucous, the lining becomes dried out, leading to irritation and sometimes nosebleeds.

Are boogers and mucous the same thing?

In addition to keeping the lining moist, the nose serves as a filter for the respiratory tract. The liquid mucous helps to trap undesired particles from the air we breathe from getting deeper into the sinuses, and it also helps to warm the air we breathe before getting deeper into the lungs. The liquid mucous travels up and out of the body with the help of microscopic hairs (cilia), the mucous that ends up in the nose dries out and will become a “booger” where it will be blown out, or picked out, and sometimes eaten.

Is eating boogers bad for you?

Nose picking and eating boogers is socially unacceptable, but people wonder if it is bad for you. There is no direct evidence of harm caused, but because people (especially children) are not likely to wash their hands afterward, there is a risk of spreading bacteria and viruses. There is also a chance for scratches to occur to the thin and delicate mucous membranes, which can lead to nosebleeds and possible infections from the scratches. If you have concerns about your child and frequent nose-picking, this should be discussed with a pediatrician. If you have questions about poison exposures, call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. We are open all day, every day for poisoning emergencies and questions. 

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