Blog written by: Dhrithi Bhat
Do you feel a pop in your ears when you blow your nose? Do your eyes turn red or burn after blowing your nose?
That means you are not blowing your nose properly! Yes, there is a proper way to blow your nose!
Blowing your nose or sneezing too much can cause more problems than you already have.
Most of the time, people are impatient and try to clear the congestion by blowing their nose hard. However, mucus can also enter other areas related to the nose, such as the sinuses and middle ear spaces. This can cause inflammation and cause your sinus drainage pathways to swell and trap the normal mucus your body produces.
When this happens, bacterial growth and infection are more likely. A viral infection of the nose can easily become a sinus or ear viral infection, which can be complicated by a sinus or ear "bacterial" infection. Viral infections can weaken immune defences, so normally harmless bacteria in these areas can take advantage of the situation and get out of control and cause a bacterial infection.
What happens when you don't blow your nose properly?
Blowing your nose too hard, too often, or incorrectly can result in:
- Sinusitis: Blowing your nose too hard can force mucus and bacteria back into your sinuses, causing sinus inflammation and infection known as sinusitis. This condition can cause symptoms such as facial pain, headaches, nasal congestion and runny nose.
- Ear infection: Blowing your nose too hard can cause mucus and bacteria to enter the Eustachian tube and block it, causing an ear infection. This condition can cause symptoms such as ear pain, hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness in the ears.
- Nosebleeds: Blowing your nose too hard can rupture the delicate blood vessels in your nose and cause nosebleeds. This condition can cause discomfort and embarrassment and, in some cases, requires treatment.
- Ringing in the ears: Blowing your nose too hard can put pressure on your ears and cause tinnitus. This condition can cause distraction, discomfort and, in severe cases, can affect quality of life.
- Rhinitis: Blowing too hard can irritate the nasal passages, causing inflammation of the nasal mucosa, also known as rhinitis. This condition can cause symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose and runny nose.
- Aneurysm of the brain: According to a study by the American Heart Association, blowing your nose too hard can pose serious cardiovascular risks. This action can potentially cause an aneurysm in the brain and lead to a stroke. Cerebral aneurysms result from a temporary increase in blood pressure, which may be accompanied by severe dilation.
- Broken orbit: If the punch creates enough pressure, it may even break the bottom of the eye socket. Besides being very painful, it takes a long time to heal. A broken eye socket usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to heal.
The correct way to blow your nose is to use less force when blowing your nose and keep your mouth slightly open. You can clear your nose without blowing your nose. Washing your nasal passages and sinuses with salt water is known to be one of the best ways to naturally clear nasal congestion. You can also use a saline nasal spray to help clear your nasal passages.
If you are still having trouble coping, see your doctor.
- “Sinusitis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 20 Apr. 2022, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sinusitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351661.
- “Ear Infections.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 27 Jan. 2022, https://medlineplus.gov/earinfections.html.
- “Nosebleeds.” American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, https://www.enthealth.org/conditions/nosebleeds/.
- “Tinnitus.” American Tinnitus Association, https://www.ata.org/understanding-facts/symptoms.
- “Rhinitis.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 12 Jan. 2022, https://medlineplus.gov/rhinitis.html.