Picking your nose may rank up there with spitting and burping as good old-fashioned (and repulsive) fun. But for those who know noses, that unspeakable habit does involve health risks you just can’t blow off. Not surprisingly, it all begins with your fingers–and doorknobs, and phones and all the other little things you touch every day. These objects are crawling with bacteria from the hands of every other person who has made contact with them. So if one of your fingers touches a germ-covered knob and then winds up way in your nose, you’ve just been given a bunch of bacterial hitchhikers a free ride into your body. Since the inside of your nose is dark, warm and moist, you can bet these microscopic buggers will make themselves right at home and multiply. And this, of course, can make you miserable and sick.
So what if your nails sometimes wander up your nostrils? If they’re always trimmed and polished, it shouldn’t matter, right? Well, manicured or not, fingernails can cut the interior of your nose and invite even more risk of bacterial infections. In one notable incident, a forceful young nosepicker broke a blood vessel and needed an operation to stop the bleeding.