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Wash your hands. Wash your face. Wash your… nose? That’s right!

Washing out the nose hasn’t always been a very common practice for everyone–but it should be. Most people don’t realize how many germs, allergens and other icky invisibles can be present inside the nose just from the daily living of life. 

But Wash Your Nose Day is about to change all of that! 

History of Wash Your Nose Day 

Wash Your Nose Day came about in order to make the average person more aware that washing their nose is actually an important part of a regular hygiene routine. Inspired by Xlear, a creator of natural, xylitol-based sinus and oral care products, Wash Your Nose Day is aimed toward educating the public about the fact that nose washing is as essential for the health as hand washing is. 

Since the nose is connected to the ears, eyes and lungs, it acts as a sort of ‘nest’ for various viruses and bacteria that can enter through the nose and spread to other parts of the body. This can cause irritation, due to allergens, or even infections from the bacteria or viruses that live in the back of the nose. 

Practicing daily nose washing helps to support the body’s defences as the nasal passages work to rid themselves of irritants. This proactive approach helps to reduce health problems and even avoid illnesses such as cold, flu, allergies and other infections that tend to originate within the sinus cavities.

Because of this, Wash Your Nose Day was established to help the public understand this necessary part of hygiene and learn how to protect themselves. 

Fun Facts About Noses 

When participating in Wash Your Nose Day, these fun facts about the nose might be a lighthearted way to approach the day:

  • The region of the brain that is responsible for processing smell is 50% larger in women than in men. 
  • Around 80% of what is tasted in the mouth is influenced by smell. 
  • Humans have approximately 12 million smell (olfactory) receptors. Bloodhounds have around 4 billion! 
  • Smell is unique among the 5 senses: it is the only one that is directly connected to the area of the brain that processes memories and emotions.

How to Celebrate Wash Your Nose Day 

It’s a unique day to celebrate–but anyone with a nose can certainly do it! Try these ideas for giving heed to this interesting day: 

Learn About Nose Washing 

Of course, the first step in honoring this day is to take a bit of time to understand more about the reasons behind the day. Getting to know these facts might help provide motivation for beginning to practice nose washing as a habit: 

  • The top site of infection (whether bacterial or viral) in the human body is the upper airway, which is accessed through the nose. 
  • Approximately 80% of primary care doctor visits are made due to upper respiratory issues. (That’s a lot of breathing struggles!) 
  • Nose washing has the power to reduce the amount of exposure to bacteria, viruses, allergens and even pollutants, all of which can negatively impact a person’s health. 
  • A nasal spray that includes the ingredient xylitol, is effective in blocking adhesions of viruses and bacteria. 
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the US recommends a nasal wash treatment for removing allergens, decreasing the risk of bacterial or viral infections and reducing swelling to allow for better breathing through the nose. 

Get Professional Advice 

For those who aren’t sure if nose washing is right for them, it might be a good idea to speak with the family doctor about ways to keep the sinuses functioning well. In particular, ask about the benefits of using xylitol to support nasal health. 

Learn How to Wash Your Nose

Just like learning to brush your teeth properly, learning how to perform a nasal wash treatment might take a bit of instruction or practice. 

  • Use distilled or sterilized water for a nasal wash. Only use tap water that has been boiled for 1 minute (to remove impurities) and then cooled. 
  • Make a saline solution using non-iodized salt, water and a pinch of baking soda. Or use a pre-made bottle of nasal wash that is made from saline (may also contain xylitol). 
  • If you’re making the solution at home, place it in a sinus rinse kit bottle, neti pot or bulb syringe. 
  • Adults should lean far over the sink with their head down. Pour or squeeze the solution into one nostril. The solution should come out of the other nostril (some of it may also come out through the mouth). 
  • Repeat the procedure on the other nostril. 

A video guideline on how to perform a nasal wash can be found here: https://www.nationaljewish.org/conditions/medications/asthma-medications/alternative/nasal-wash-treatment 

Indulge in Some Nose-Oriented Entertainment

Sure, it’s a serious topic since it has to do with staying healthy, but that doesn’t mean Wash Your Nose Day can’t be fun, too! Try out these nose-centric films that might create inspiration for that inaugural try at nose washing: 

  • Roxanne (1987). This American romantic comedy is a modern day retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac, a famous 1897 verse play written by Edmond Rostand. But don’t let the fact that it’s an old story make it seem dull. This adaptation by Steve Martin is filled with hijinx and humor, centering around a man with an unusually large nose who is in love with a woman named Roxanne. 
  • Pinocchio (1940). An early Disney animated version of this classic Italian fairy tale based on the 1883 novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio. This musical fantasy film tells the story of Gepetto, who builds a wooden puppet. The puppet (Pinocchio) comes to life and when he struggles with truthfulness, his nose tends to grow longer. 
  • Cyrano (1990). Based on the same story as Roxanne, but closer to the original, this French comedy-drama recounts the story of a large-nosed poet who is in love with his cousin, Roxanne. The film stars Gérard Depardieu, who was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of the romantic, historical character. 

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