Return of the Snot Monster

It’s snotty snot season again! The time of year that lasts forever, when little noses don’t seem to have an off switch. But did you know that the gooey slimy non-stop dripping serves an important purpose?

Here are 10 fun facts to convince you that mucous (snot) is your friend.

  1. Snot keeps germs, bacteria and dirt from descending into your lungs by stopping them cold in your nose.
  2. Your nose and sinuses make about a quart of snot each day.
  3. When you’re sick with a cold or flu your snot-making machinery shifts into overdrive to keep the microbes out of your lungs where they could cause big trouble. That causes mucous, mucous everywhere, but it’s a good thing.
  4. If your kiddo is preschool age or younger, she gets an average of 8 colds a year (more than 1 every other month). That’s a lot of snot.
  5. Allergies cause the same increase in production because the body thinks the allergen (grass, pollen, whatever) is a bad guy and the immune system works overtime to destroy it.
  6. When you cry, snot volume skyrockets. Tears come out of the glands under your eyelids and drain through the tear ducts that empty into your nose. Tears mix with mucus there and your nose runs.
  7. In cold weather, tiny blood vessels inside your nostrils dilate to help warm the frigid air before it hits your lungs. The extra blood flow leads to more mucus production. You know what happens next. Snot.
  8. Antihistamines slow mucous production by blocking the cells that make it. Is this a good thing? Sometimes, (s)not always.
  9. The tiny hairs in your nose (cilia) are constantly on the move, directing mucous, trapped dirt and microbes towards the front of the nose (boogers) and down the back of the throat.
  10. Swallowed mucous is harmless. Stomach acid and enzymes in your GI tract quickly neutralize any bad actors.

 

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.


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