I need help with my boogers.
February 9, 2011 2:14 PM   Subscribe

I need help with my boogers, please.

Hi. I'm extremely boogery.* Always have been. Is there anything I can do to reduce the amount of boogers I produce? (Maybe my booger problems are completely average, and it's just that the subject is taboo? Either way, I need to know.)

What are your tips and tricks for dealing with boogers and/or stemming booger production?

I'm a closet nose-picker (don't worry, kids, always in the bathroom where I can dispose of them properly and clean my hands). I have to be, to deal with the boogers. Is the nose-picking exacerbating my problem? When I come home from a day of work or somewhere else where I can't get away for many hours, my nostrils are stabby and booger-laden (and de-boogering them is such a releif), so it doesn't seem like fewer produce if I'm not there to harvest them, so to speak.

I have tried trimming my nose hairs very short. I have tried letting my nose hairs run free. I don't notice any change.

I have seasonal allergies (fall and spring) which actually relieve some the booger problems (my nose is runnier, making the boogers more fluid and easy to blow out with a tissue). Aside from that, I don't notice that the boogers are any better or worse with the weather or time of year.

It's never occurred to me to ask a doctor about this, since I pretty much only go to the doctor when I'm sick, and either my sinuses are screwed up anyway or there are other concerns, distracting me from the small but daily problem that is my booger production. But I could go to a doctor if that's my best option. Is this something that is actually indicative of a real problem (or solvable), or would I get the ol' that's-just-silly doctor chuckle?

*TMI: For a sense of the scale of this problem, when I get home at the end of a workday there's probably enough boogerage clinging to the walls of my nostrils to create a roughly 4-5mm ball. (If one were to do something so crass...) That seems like a whole lot to me, but maybe not?

And while this might seem like a silly question (booger is a silly word, let's face it), I assure you that I am completely, 100% serious and would really like some help.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Sinus irrigation.
posted by dfriedman at 2:16 PM on February 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yep, irrigation. I find the NeilMed rinse bottle and the Nasaline irrigator a lot easier to use than neti pots; your mileage may vary.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:18 PM on February 9, 2011 [4 favorites]

Do you live in a dry climate? Perhaps a humidifier would help. I find that I have hard noticeable boogers when it's dry. If I have the humidifier on, or if it's humid out, I probably still produce the same amount of boogers, but they don't harden, I just blow my nose, and they're much less noticeable.
posted by katypickle at 2:29 PM on February 9, 2011

Oh man, you need Mucinex D. That stuff changed my life. It's spendy, so consider trying out the store brand version, and be sure to get the stuff sold over the counter (it's easy: just wait in line at the pharmacy, then say "Can I buy store-brand Mucinex D?"). However, it makes everything flow better for me.

On a safety note, my doctor told me there are no negative consequences to taking it every day. Take that, nose pain!
posted by samthemander at 2:30 PM on February 9, 2011

TMI: For a sense of the scale of this problem, when I get home at the end of a workday there's probably enough boogerage clinging to the walls of my nostrils to create a roughly 4-5mm ball. (If one were to do something so crass...) That seems like a whole lot to me, but maybe not?

That doesn't sound like that much to me, honestly.
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:33 PM on February 9, 2011

Do you blow your nose outside of the allergy season? It helps with excess snot that hasn't dried yet.

Steam/hot water helps a lot with loosening things too. If you don't feel comfortable washing your face in the work bathroom, a sneaky workaround is to get some hot tea, hold it up near your face while you drink it, and then head into the bathroom with a tissue and SNRRGGHFFFH.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:36 PM on February 9, 2011

I think that the regular nose-picking may indeed be making your problem worse.

As a child, I went through a phase of picking my nose like a nose-picking machine. Then one dark day my older half-sister, who I barely knew at the time, spotted me going at it in a particularly undignified way, and looked so appalled and disgusted that I knew I could never, ever do it again. Certainly not because I wanted to stop. For a while, my nose felt all full and heavy and overgrown. I was constantly restraining myself from taking serious action. But, it wasn't very long at all before that feeling went away. I don't know if my nose just chilled out once I stopped bothering it, or if I just got used to the sensation of having stuff up there. But I haven't put a finger up my nose in many years. The thrill is really gone. I hope that you too can get to that place. Best of luck to you.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 2:39 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

thirding nasal irrigation. I now only need to do it weekly for the benefits to stay with me. The NeilMed bottles are good, though avoid getting on their company mailing list.

I guarantee the first time you try nasal irrigation you will utterly gross yourself out. But it will be worth it.
posted by scruss at 3:03 PM on February 9, 2011

I clean my nose while in the shower, and don't need to use anything else than my hands and water. I cup my hands to hold as much water as they can, and then I suck it in through my nose (being EXTREMELY careful so as not to get the water further in than my nose cavity). I do that two or three times and then just pick out any remaining stuff and that's it, clean nose for the day!

On allergy season I do that again later in the day in the bathroom sink.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 5:06 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seems like a simple saline nasal spray might do the trick. Easy, painless, loosens things up for neat, productive nose-blowing. I do this pretty much every morning during the winter and it makes a world of difference.
posted by kirst27 at 5:32 PM on February 9, 2011

Neti Pot.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 6:47 PM on February 9, 2011

I clean my nose while in the shower, and don't need to use anything else than my hands and water.

If you decide to do this, for the sake of everyone else who has to use the bathtub, please think about rinsing the tub out after you`re done. Just saying.

I have a similar problem with being gungy during the winter, which is usually extremely dry. A humidifier at the side of the bed running throughout each night really helps me.
posted by LN at 7:01 PM on February 9, 2011

That doesn't sound like a terribly unusual amount of boogers. I mean, I just checked a ruler to get a feeling for 4-5mm and was a little surprised. But not "OMG CALL 911" surprised, you know?

Boogers are definitely related to humidity. Think about it: a booger is just dried snot. If it doesn't dry up, then you can (as you note) blow your nose and fix the problem throughout the day.

And so my question to you is: how's your overall hydration? Do you drink water? Do you drink ENOUGH water?

In general, I scoff at the "dehydration brigade." Their claims have little scientific basis. (Fopr example, no one knows how much water you should be drinking. The "eight 8oz glasses" rule of thumb was invented whole cloth by a military pamphlet writer during WWII.)

However, it is true that we need SOME water. If you're one of those people who only drinks coffee or soda, or if you live in a very dry climate, try adding some water to your routine. Drink 2 or 3 extra glasses a day for the next few days, and see if that helps.

(It's why you're supposed to drink fluids when you get sick, after all - it fluidizes the mucus so it's easier for your body to purge it.)
posted by ErikaB at 7:10 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Upping the humidity in your house should help. I would add a whole house humidifier, some house plants, or both.

Nasal irrigation should help some too. This might have been a one-off thing but the first couple of times I did it my allergies were really bad the next day. My guess is that I dislodged some allergens...or something. After that though, it has been great.

You can also make your own saline with some salt and baking soda (which is basically what is in the little packets that come with those kits). Using saline is way easier than straight water. A saline solution that is somewhat close to body temp will actually feel kind of nice while straight water can irritate some of the membranes up there.

You google-fu should get you plenty of recipes for saline.

You should probably also win an award for the most use of the word "booger" in a mefi post.
posted by VTX at 10:19 AM on February 10, 2011

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