Dr Marcells Explains How to Blow Your Nose
Do you know what a ruptured oesophagus and severe headache have in common? They have both been attributed to blowing your nose. Overly aggressive blowing has also been linked to perforated ear drums and even a fractured eye socket! “These occurrences are extremely rare, but they do underscore the importance of treating your nose properly,” says facial plastic surgeon Dr George Marcells. “A variety of problems can develop if you’re not mindful.”
Dr Marcells’ specialty is fixing noses, but in this article, he’s going to offer his expert advice on how to keep your nose from becoming injured in the first place.
Mucus Is Your Friend, Up to a Point
Ordinarily, mucus is a good thing. It’s the protective blanket that keeps your nasal tissues from drying out. It’s also like flypaper, trapping dust, bacteria, and other substances from entering your breathing system. It even contains antibodies and enzymes that identify and kill unwanted substances in your nose.
Mucus is only a bad thing when there’s too much of it. Where does all that mucus come from? A mucus-blocked or runny nose can stem from a variety of causes:
- Common cold
- Sinus infection (sinusitis)
- Hay fever
That’s when the problems begin.
Too Much of a Good Thing
When it’s irritated, the lining of your nose swells up and produces more mucus than usual to help flush away irritants, infections, and allergens. The combination of narrowed nasal passages and a double dose of mucus can make breathing difficult. That’s where a good blow comes in.
At the beginning of colds, blowing your nose regularly eases congestion by removing some of the excess mucus. This is especially true when you have an allergy or sinusitis. “These conditions cause nasal mucus to become especially sticky, thick, and harder to clear,” says Dr Marcells. “Keeping mucus in may contribute to a cycle of irritation that can prolong a stuffed nose for weeks or even longer.”
This poses the question, “How do I blow my nose properly to get rid of mucus?”
Alternatives to Nose Blowing
Not everyone wants to grab a tissue to deal with a mucus-y nose. Rather than risk a red, raw nose, some people choose:
- Decongestants – “These medications cause the blood vessels in the lining of the nose to narrow,” explains Dr Marcells. “The reduced blood flow reduces swelling and congestion.” They are not a good choice for reducing thick mucus due to a sinus infection or allergy and have the potential to elevate blood pressure.
- Antihistamines – “These medications block substances in the nose that are triggered by the presence of allergens and swell in response,” explains Dr Marcells. The downside is they often cause drowsiness and dry mouth.
- Nasal Irrigation – Nasal irrigation can be performed with a neti pot that allows you to pour a saline solution into your nostril. Another option is a bulb syringe or squeeze bottle. All are available over the counter. “It’s important to be mindful when using this solution,” says Dr Marcells. “Overdoing it can wash away your noses protective substances and leave your more vulnerable to illness.”
4 Steps to Blowing Your Nose Like the Pros
Research comparing the nasal pressure generated from sneezing, coughing and nose blowing found blowing your nose to:
- Rupture small blood vessels
- Develop nosebleeds
- Push nasal mucus into sinuses
To prevent injuring your nose, Dr Marcells recommends you follow these simple steps:
- Put a tissue over your nose and hold it there to help prevent the spread of germs.
- Press your finger against one nostril to close it off .
- Blow gently into your tissue with as little force as possible.
- Repeat with the other nostril.
“You should also remember to wipe up any excess mucus on the outside of your nose gently and use a moisturiser to prevent dry skin,” says Dr Marcells. “Also remember to put your used tissue in a bin so as not to spread germs.”
If you have any questions regarding your nose, Dr Marcells has the answers. You can talk to him about rhinoplasty, face lift surgery, and a wide range of non-invasive cosmetic medicine alternatives, too. Please contact us today and make an appointment to visit us at our practice in Bondi Junction.
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Meet Dr Marcells
MBBS (Syd), FRACS (ORL-HNS)
Past President – Australasian Academy of Facial Plastic Surgeons
Dr George Marcells is known for excellence in facial plastic surgery and is considered a true master of rhinoplasty. He performs advanced surgical techniques to restore balance and harmony to the face and can also resolve functional issues such as breathing difficulties.