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Why Nose Picking Isn’t Just Gross, It’s Also Bad For Your Kid’s Health

When you catch your kid with an index finger up their nostril, digging for gold, you presumably make them stop because the satisfaction of picking a winner is totally outweighed by the grossness of the nose picking. But, just for fun, here’s some health-based trivia you can include in your next diatribe: According to a new study from the Forsyth Institute, common bacteria in the nose helps prevent ear infections (among other things) in kids.

The researchers examined a harmless bacteria called Corynebacterium accolens and noticed kids who had a lot of the stuff up their nose didn’t have much of another bacteria that’s responsible for ear infections, pneumonia, and meningitis. They found that the “good” nose bacteria actually released special fatty acids that killed off the bad bacteria in the body. To put that in layman’s terms: the more boogers, the better. Unfortunately, one Canadian took this idea to a logical-but-disgusting conclusion and suggested that eating boogers has an evolutionary function because eating them might strengthen the immune system. Yes, the guy has kids; no, there’s no word how many friends those kids have.

Evolutionary imperatives for booger eating aside, Infected ear mucus is way grosser than snot and extracting it isn’t satisfying for you or your kid. So the next time they’re picking their nose, remind them that the good stuff needs to stay up there or they’re going to get an ear ache.