Your nose is essential for conditioning the air you breathe and serves as the first line of defense against dust, pollution, bacteria, viruses and more. The presence of these substances in your nasal passages can trigger infections, disease and illness.
Proper nasal hygiene involves keeping your nasal passages clean, clear and moisturized, enhancing your nose’s ability to function and reducing congestion that can disrupt breathing or cause irritation. However, the nose is one of the most overlooked body parts in daily hygiene routines, according to a survey of 2,000 adults conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Xlear, with 54% of respondents saying they’ve never considered the role their noses may play in their overall health, and more than one-quarter (29%) admitting they ignore cleaning their sniffers.
“Keeping the nose clean is important because essentially all respiratory problems begin there,” said Dr. Lon Jones, D.O., certified osteopathic family physician and expert for Xlear, a leading manufacturer of xylitol-based products in North America. “With its connections to the ears, sinuses, eyes and lungs, it acts as a nidus, a nest from which bacteria and viruses spread to other parts of the body.”
Consider these tips to improve nasal hygiene and keep upper airway passages clear.
Practice Good Hygiene: Simple practices like covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, avoiding touching your face and washing your hands regularly can help reduce the amount of bacteria that enter your body through your nose.
Wash Your Nose: To help fight germs related to bacteria that cause allergies and viruses, rinse your sinuses daily with a solution such as Xlear, the makers of which also created National Wash Your Nose Day. Featuring the power of xylitol, a natural ingredient that does not allow bacteria to adhere to nasal airway tissue, the natural sinus care system not only cleanses but can help people of all ages with fighting congestion; opening airways; blocking debris, allergens and viruses; and pulling moisture to hydrate dry, irritated nasal tissue.
“By nose washing daily with xylitol, we support our nasal defenses in their attempts to flush away threats, resulting in reduced problems and a proactive approach to promote nasal health and hygiene,” Jones said.
Keep Your Sinuses Moist: Drinking plenty of water is good for overall health and helps keep your nasal passages moist and mucus flowing properly. Another step you can take is using a humidifier in your home, especially in the bedroom, to help maintain moisture. Remember to regularly clean the humidifier or it could have the opposite effect.
Avoid Pollutants: Exposure to pollutants and allergens may result in swelling or congestion in the upper airway. Whenever possible, you should avoid cigarette smoke, cleaning products, hairspray and other materials that give off unnatural fumes. Also beware of dust, mold, pet dander and pollen, which are common allergens that can cause sinus problems for many.
Be Kind to Your Nose: When blowing your nose, gently blow one nostril at a time as forceful blowing can irritate the nasal passages and propel bacteria back up into your sinuses. Also avoid removing nose hairs, or do so carefully, as they naturally help filter dirt and debris.