New Health Advisor

Where Do Boogers Come from?

Jan 28, 2016

Talking about boogers or "dried nasal mucus" may seem gross, but you may not know that those slimy or crusty little balls can tell a lot about your health. They are not there without a reason; in fact, they have a role to play and help protect some of your most important organs in the body.

Where Do Boogers Come from?

Dried nasal mucus or a booger is actually a combination of dirt, mucus, and other debris that you inhale while breathing. If you do not develop these boogers in your nose, that dirt will go straight into your lungs and cause several problems. The moment dirt and debris enter your nose, it secrets mucus that attaches itself to those tiny particles of dust.

There are tiny hairs in your nose called cilia, which cover those little balls of mucus and debris. This ensures that they do not enter your lungs. Then the cilia push those blobs out to the front of your nose. When they dry out, they become boogers. You may also notice an increase in phlegm when you catch a cold. Similarly, there may be a mixture of bacteria, dead tissue, and white blood cells coming out of your nose when you have a bacterial infection.

Now that you know the answer to where do boogers come from, you may have already understood that it is not a good idea to eat them. You need to keep an eye on your children and ensure that they do not do it either. It is gross and may cause problems because they are full of germs.

What Is the Function of Mucus?

According to the American Academic of Otolaryngology, you inhale about 18,000 to 20,000 liters of air every day. With that air, you are also breathing in dirt, pollen, dead skin cells, and dust. Your nose produces about a liter of mucus per day to keep that debris out of your lungs.

That mucus comes from mucus membranes that are inside of your nose and sinuses. The mucus traps germs and keeps them from entering your body. If they do enter your body, you will get sick. This is usually when your body starts producing excess mucus to help wash away the germs – this explains why you have a runny nose when you get sick. The stickiness of mucus comes from salt and chemicals.

While it seems that spit and snot are the same, they are not. Snot comes from mucus membranes whereas spit comes from salivary glands in your mouth. The presence of snot or boogers is vital to the health of your lungs and nose. They help your nose do its job of warming up the air to body temperature before it enters your lungs – and of course, your nose also works as a filter to keep debris out.

What Your Boogers Can Tell You

Since you have known that where do boogers come from and exactly what they do, you may still be wondering what your boogers can tell about your overall health. The shape, size, and color of boogers may change from time to time, and this change tells about your health. For instance:

  • Clear: If you notice clear mucus, you are normal. It consists of water, antibodies, and proteins with dissolved salts. Your nose keeps producing it all the time, but most of it flows down your throat into your stomach.
  • White: If you notice white mucus, it usually means you have swollen, inflamed tissues in your nose. This congestion affects the flow of mucus and robs it off moisture. It may as well be a sign of a nasal infection or cold.
  • Yellow: This usually indicates your infection is in progressing. It usually happens when infection-fighting white cells try to clear the microbial infection and enter the mucosal tide when exhausted. This gives your mucus an ochre tinge.
  • Green: Your green mucus tells you that your immune system is putting up a great fight against infections. The green color is due to dead white cells and other wastage. You may want to see a doctor if it continues for another few days because it could be due to sinusitis.
  • Red or Pink: This may indicate broken nasal tissue. This happens when they become irritated or dry. This may also be the result of you sticking something up there.
  • Brown: It is usually due to snuff, dirt, or paprika, but it may also indicate blood.
  • Black: This usually indicates a serious function infection, especially when you do not use illegal drugs. Fungal infections usually hit people with compromised immune systems.

Should You Wipe Your Boogers?

Now it is clear where do boogers come from and what do they do in your body, you may also want to know if you should leave them or wipe them. Many people say that you can always use your fingers to get rid of those boogers. This is not the right thing to do actually. Picking your nose is gross, and it can also damage the tissue inside your nose. You may even experience bleeding, especially if you have long fingernails. If you really want to get rid of those boogers, simply blow your nose.