Your mother may have scolded you about picking your nose. And according to a new study, her advice may protect you from a serious illness.
The research shows that the pneumococcus bacteria that cause pneumonia can enter your system when you pick or rub your nose.
Pneumococcus was already known to spread through inhalation. When someone infected with it sneezes or coughs, you can breathe in the microscopic droplets they spray into the air.
This study was the first to show you can also infect yourself by transmitting pneumonia germs to your nose via your hands.1
About 1 million adults are hospitalized with pneumonia in the U.S. annually. Around 50,000 die from it.2
Dr. Victoria Connor of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine was lead researcher. She said that “pneumococcal infection is a major cause of death around the world.” She points out that “the elderly and people with other causes of impaired immunity” are at increased risk.3
The researchers wanted to see if hand-to-nose contact could potentially lead to pneumococcus infection. They randomly split 40 volunteers into four groups. Each group was exposed to pneumococcus bacteria by a different hand-to-nose method.
The “wet sniff” group had water containing the bacteria applied to their hands. They then had to sniff them.
The “dry sniff” group had the bacteria placed on their hands in dry form. They were also asked to sniff their hands.
The other two groups had to pick at and touch their noses with hands that had been exposed to either wet or dry bacteria (“wet poke” and “dry poke” groups).
The highest amounts of bacteria were found in the “wet poke” group. People in the “dry poke” group were just as likely to be infected, but not as much of the bacteria was transferred.
The research shows that “hands are likely to spread pneumococcus,” said Dr. Connor.
Slash Your Chances of Contracting Pneumonia
There are a number of effective steps you can take to avoid this serious ailment and other infectious diseases…
- Wash your hands frequently. This is standard advice for avoiding colds and the flu. Now we can add pneumonia to that list.
- Use hand sanitizers. If it’s not convenient to wash your hands, antiseptic gels can be effective. The Centers for Disease Control recommend gels that contain at least 60% alcohol. Look for a brand that contains more than that…Purell, for instance, is 70% alcohol.4
- If you’re over 65, consider getting the pneumonia vaccine. Unlike the flu shot, you need to get it only once. And it’s far more effective than the flu vaccine.5
- Keep your immune system strong. Get seven to nine hours sleep every night, eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, take zinc and vitamin D supplements, and reduce stress through meditation or yoga.
Editor’s Note: A strong immune system helps you fight off viruses and bacteria, such as the kind that cause pneumonia.
There are 31 secrets that build your immune system… And we’ve put them all together for you in our report, Bulletproof Your Immunity: Easy Ways to Protect Your Health. Get all the details HERE.