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What Exactly Should Be Done When You Feel the Urge to Blow Your Nose??

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What Exactly Should Be Done When You Feel the Urge to Blow Your Nose??

1 min read


Every one of us blows our nose. But does it really serve the intended purpose? Here, we discuss how blowing one's nose can be harmful when already suffering from sinusitis.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At August 22, 2015
Reviewed AtAugust 1, 2023

Contrary to normal beliefs, blowing one's nose is not helpful at all times. Of course it does help remove some secretions and alleviate nasal stuffiness, but when done during sinusitis and rhinitis it causes more harm than help. Let us see how is this true.

Entire nasal cavity is lined by cells (the mucosa) which are covered on top by mucus fluid (nasal secretions). These cells have cilia (long projections) which beat in a single direction and propel the secretions towards the nasopharynx (back of nose). From the nasopharynx, the secretions fall backwards and downwards into the throat.

Paranasal sinuses are air filled cavities in the surrounding bones that open into the nasal cavity. These sinuses open via ostia, which are small holes (small in relation to the size of sinuses). These sinuses are also lined by mucosa and covered by mucus. Here, the mucus flows from inside the sinus to outside (nasal cavity) through the particular ostium. The sinuses are ventilated through the same ostia when you exhale air (during breathing out).

  • When you blow your nose, the intranasal pressure increases manifold and the secretions go back into the sinuses. When this occurs in the setting of rhinitis or sinusitis, it introduces nasal fluid containing viruses, bacteria, and inflammatory mediators into the sinuses.
  • Blowing-generated increased pressures cause decrease in viscosity of mucus. This makes the mucus susceptible to bubble formation. Such bubble formation does not occur normally.

One might then ask, so the same should happen during coughing and sneezing. Surprisingly, no. Coughing and sneezing are protective reflexes and the rise in intranasal pressures during these two are only a tenth of the rise during nose blowing. Consequently, coughing and sneezing neither cause bubble formation nor backflow of mucus into the sinuses.

So, what exactly should be done during rhinitis or sinusitis when you feel the urge to blow your nose ?? Try HAWKING. Hawking is clearing the throat by forcing up the phlegm. If it is too congested, put few drops of decongestant nasal spray and rest for 10 minutes. Thereafter do steam inhalation and hawk and spit out the secretions which come to throat. But remember not to hawk very frequently, that those near you might wonder if something is wrong with you :)

Consult an ENT otolaryngologist online for queries regarding sinusitis --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/ENT-Otolaryngologist

Frequently Asked Questions


What Can Be Done to Stop Blowing the Nose?

To prevent continuously blowing the nose, one should take steps to treat the runny nose like:
- Steam inhalation.
- Nasal sprays.
- Allergy medications.
- Hot teas.


What Makes Me Feel to Keep Blowing My Nose?

The urge to blow the nose continuously arises from a runny nose caused by allergies, infections, or nasal polyps.


What Is Better-Blowing the Nose or Letting It Drain?

If there is a presence of mucus in the nose, it is better to blow it out with gentle force, whereas, in case of repetitive urges to blow the nose, comprehensive treatment must be implemented.


Is It Possible for Sinuses to Worsen by Blowing the Nose?

Blowing the nose can worsen the feeling of congestion due to pressure build-up within the nostrils, which may shoot up the mucus into the sinuses instead of ejection through the nose.


What Are the Steps to Massage the Sinuses to Drain?

To clear the sinuses by massage, one has to follow a technique entailed as follows:
- Place the fingers over the nasal bridge.
- Apply firm pressure for 15 seconds between the nasal bone and the corner of the eye.
- Massage downward along the nasal side bridge.
- Repeat the strokes for about 30 seconds.


How Can Someone Relieve Sinus Pressure?

To relieve the built-up nasal pressure, one can follow some methods:
- Using a humidifier or vaporizer.
- Hot showers.
- Neti pot.
- Place a warm towel on the face.
- OTC (over the counter) decongestants.
- Pharmacotherapy.


What Can Be Done to Unblock the Nose in Three Minutes?

To unclog the nose, one can employ sinus massage to relieve congestion. The massage may be continued for longer than 30 seconds to clear the nasal pressure and clog.


Is It Possible to Cure Sinus Infections by Nose Blowing?

Nose blowing can relieve some sinus pressure and provide comfort, but it cannot clear the bacterial or viral infection of the sinuses. The infections require medical attention.


What Is the Sleep Position to Relieve Sinus Pressure?

When the sinuses are clogged, the patient should sleep with the head propped up position. This position naturally drains the sinuses by gravity.


What Are the Signs of an Improving Cold?

Certain signs point to an improving cold like:
- Improved smelling ability.
- Runny nose (clogging is relieved).
- The color of the snot becomes clearer.
- Feeling energetic.


How to Cure Sinusitis Without Antibiotics?

To cure sinuses without the usage of antibiotics, some of the home remedies can be applied like:
- Inhaling warm vapors.
- Warm compressions.
- Sufficient hydration.
- Saline nasal irrigation.
- Neti pot.


Does Blowing the Nose Improve the Cold?

Blowing the nose regularly prevents mucus build-up and provides some comfort. Over time, the cold improves as the mucus drains out.


What Does Clear Discharge From the Nose Signify?

A change in the color of the snot to a clear color signifies improving cold. Whereas a clear runny nose signifies inflammation of the nasal tissue.


Does Blowing the Nose Damage the Nose?

Blowing the nose too hard can cause minor and major damage to the nose and other craniofacial structures. Forceful nose blowing may cause rupture of minor blood vessels leading to nose bleed. Rarely, major damages from hard nose blowing can be seen like vertigo, eustachian tube blowout, barotrauma, permanent hearing and balance loss, and even orbital blowout.


What Is the Reason for Just One Nostril Getting Blocked?

It is due to a physiologic process called the nasal cycle. The body deliberately directs the airflow more through one nostril than the other, as constant airflow through both nostrils can dry and damage the nasal lining. During a cold, dilation of the blood vessels and increased mucus production leads to congestion, and that side feels more blocked during the “off phase” of the nasal cycle.
Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Shyam Kalyan. N
Dr. Shyam Kalyan. N

Otolaryngology (E.N.T)


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