This page has been robot translated, sorry for typos if any. Original content here.

Why do people pick their nose?

Почему люди ковыряются в носу?

Many of us pick the tunnels of the nose, but few admit it. If we are caught red-handed, we are ashamed and hurt. And as a rule, we ourselves condemn people who do it in full view of everyone. I'm talking, of course, about trying to clear my nose. Is it so bad to pick your nose? And how common or bad is it, in fact? And why does anyone come up with the taste of the nose?

The official medical term used to describe the act of picking in the nose is "rhinotillexomania . " The first scientific studies of this phenomenon were undertaken relatively recently, in 1995, by a pair of American scientists, Thompson and Jefferson. They sent the questionnaires by mail to a thousand adults in Dain County, Wisconsin. Of the 254 respondents, 91% admitted that they were picking their noses, while only 1.2% could admit that they were doing this at least once an hour. This study helped to find out that despite the existence of a cultural taboo on picking in the nose, this is a fairly common phenomenon.

The habit of young

Five years later, the doctors Chittaranyan Andrade and BS Shriari from the National Institute of Mental Health and neuroscience in Bangalore (India) decided to study the matter deeper. They reasoned as follows: many habits appear in childhood and are more common among children and adolescents than adults, so it is wiser to conduct a study of rhinotylesomania among young people. Based on the experience of Wisconsin, where not all the respondents answered, the scientists conducted research directly in school classes, where the probability of receiving answers is higher.

In general, Andrade and Shriari collected data from two hundred adolescents. Almost all of them admitted that they are picking their nose, on average, four times a day. But that's not all: 7.6% of pupils claim that they pick their nose more than 20 times every day, and about 20% believe that they have "serious problems with rhinotillia". Most of them said that they were picking at the nose to get rid of itching or cleanse their nose, but 24 pupils, which is 12%, confessed that they do it simply because they like it.

And the instrument was not only the fingers. 13 pupils were told that tweezers were used for picking, and 9 students were using pencils. And as many as nine disciples confessed that they were eating their extracted treasure. Om-Nom-nom! As the experiment shows, there were no differences in socio-economic status, picking in the nose - the only thing that unites all.

Mangle on the face

Picking in the nose is not so harmless. In some cases, it can cause serious problems, as Andrade and Shriari found out after examining the literature on medicine. In one case, surgeons could not achieve a lasting closure of the injured nasal septum, because the patient was constantly picking at the nose. In another case, a 53-year-old woman did not just drill a nasal septum with her finger, but also made a hole in the paranasal sinus.

A case of a 29-year-old man, suffering from trichotillomania (hair pulling) and rhinotillelectomy (nose picking), is described simultaneously. This case also served the appearance of the term rhinotillection. This man pulled his hair out of his nose. When he went too far, an inflammation appeared in his nose. To cure his nose, he began to treat it with a solution of manganese, which led to the appearance of purple spots on the skin. To the surprise, when due to spots the hair in the nose was no longer visible, he felt much better. Yes, walking down the street with a purple nose was preferable for a poor man, than for a "hairy" one. However, doctors were able to cure this disorder, which turned out to be one of the forms of OCD.

Threats to the nose

As a rule, picking in the nose is not a pathology (it is interesting that the habit of gnawing nails and pulling out the hair is considered obsessive-compulsive disorder, but rhinotillelectomy, as a rule, is not). But this does not mean that intensive digging is completely harmless. In 2006, a group of Dutch scientists discovered that the constant presence of a finger in the nose can cause bacteria to spread. Studying the volunteers, they found one common detail: those who admitted that they could not leave their noses alone, increased the level of pathogens, in particular, Staphylococcus aureus.

So why do we all still do this? There is no clear answer, but as recently wrote by Tom Stafford about the habit of biting his nails, which is probably the reason for the combination of satisfaction from "cleaning" and the fact that the nose is always within reach - in other words, we are picking our nose just because we can.

Or, perhaps, poking at the nose is a sign of laziness. Since the fingers are always at hand, if suddenly "zasverbilo, which can not be said about the box with paper handkerchiefs.

It's funny to believe that scientists are still trying to understand why we are doing this and what the consequences of this are. In 2001, the above-mentioned researchers from India, Andrade and Shriari, were awarded the Shnobel Prize, which "first makes everyone laugh and then think about it." At the ceremony Andrade said: "Some people stick their noses into other people's business. My business made me poke into the noses of strangers. "