Got a Cold? Don't Blow It!

Forget the box of tissues when you have a cold. Experts warn against blowing your nose when you're sick.

For most of us, it's a reflex: When we're congested and our noses are stuffed up, we reach for a tissue and blow.

But medical experts say that blowing your nose when battling a cold or flu is a habit we should try to break.

According to an article in the New York Times, researchers have found that blowing your nose slows drainage and propels mucus - along with all those unwanted infectious germs - back into the sinus cavities.

Researchers at the University of Virginia studied several cold and flu behaviors and their impact on our bodies. Turns out that coughing and sneezing are relatively harmless, and don't put any undue stress on the nasal cavities.

But blowing one's nose is not quite as benign.

The researchers  found that nose blowing causes a tremendous spike in pressure on the nasal cavities, which reverses the flow of our mucus, and propels it back into the sinuses. Experts say that that this sends viruses and bacteria right back into our systems, and even opens the door to further infection.

So what are we supposed to do? An ear, nose and throat expert cited in the aforementioned article suggests that the best way to alleviate congestion is to blow one nostril at a time. That, and decongestants, are the recommended methods to handle congestion.

Personally, I'm a big fan of neti pots. They're are very strange at first, but if I'm supposed to avoid Kleenex the next time a cold strikes, then a neti pot may be the only way to get some much-needed relief.  

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