Picking your nose may not seem like a big deal to many people, but scientific evidence has now suggested otherwise.
Experts have said the act can actually be dangerous and have damaging consequences.
According to new research published in the European Respiratory Journal, picking your nose could spread a dangerous bacteria that causes pneumonia.
Pneumonia is described by the NHS as swelling of the tissue in one or both lungs.
The study was carried out by researchers from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and highlights how the bacterial infection is not just as airborne virus, as well as how important it is to keep hands clean.
As part of the research, 40 adult volunteers wee assigned into four groups and exposed to certain bacteria using different hand to nose methods.
Two groups were exposed to the bacteria in water while the other two were exceed to air dried bacteria.
The results showed the study participants were just as likely to get the bacteria in their noses whether they were exposed to it using dry or wet sails.
Researchers also noted the same amount of transmission if participants poked, picked or rubbed their noses.
Lead researcher Dr Victoria Connor, a clinical research fellow at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Royal Liverpool Hospital, said: “Pneumococcal infection is a major cause of death around the world, and it is estimated that is is responsible for 1.3million deaths in children under five years annually.
“The elderly and people with other causes of impaired immunity, such as chronic illness, are also at an increased risk of pneumococcal infections.”
The researchers concluded that good hand hygiene, as well as cleaning children’s toys and surfaces, would reduce the risk of infections like pneumonia spreading.
Symptoms of pneumonia may vary depending on the person’s age or any other medical problems they have.
The symptoms of the condition, according to Bupa, include:
- A cough – this may be dry, especially in young children and the elderly, or you may cough up sputum which can be green/yellow, rust-colorer or even bloodstained
- A fever
- Breathlessness or faster breathing
- Pain in your chest, which is worse when you take a deep breath
- Shivering and sweating
- Loss of appetite
- Confusion and unsteadiness, especially if you’re over 65
- Muscle aches and pains
The health organisation further advises: “Your symptoms may come on gradually, but sometimes the symptoms of pneumonia start suddenly and rapidly get worse.
“It’s worth remembering that symptoms of pneumonia vary most in the very young and the very old.
“An older person with pneumonia may jut seem generally unwell, off their food and perhaps unable to get about as they normally would. They may also be confused an more prone to falls.
“A young child with pneumonia may be restless and irritable, perhaps with abdominal (tummy) pain.”
It should be understood that these symptoms aren’t always caused by pneumonia.