Skip to main content

Search
Safety and Wellness

What's a Booger?

|

Lee este articulo Hey, get your finger outta there! Instead of picking them out, let's learn about those little blobs. Yeah, we're talking about boogers.

To understand what boogers are, you need to know about mucus (say: myoo-kus). Mucus is the sticky, slimy stuff that's made inside your nose. If you're like lot of kids, you have another name for nose mucus: snot. Your nose and sinuses make about a quart (about 1 liter) of snot every day.

Take Our Survey!

Mucus has a pretty important job — it protects the lungs. When you breathe in air through your nose, it contains lots of tiny things, like dust, dirt, germs, and pollen. If these made it all the way to the lungs, the lungs could get irritated or infected, making it tough to breathe. Luckily, snot helps trap this stuff, keeping it in the nose and out of the lungs.

After this stuff gets stuck inside the nose, the mucus surrounds it and some of the tiny hairs inside the nose called cilia (say: sih-lee-uh). These hairs help move the mucus and the trapped stuff toward the front of the nose or the back of the throat. When the mucus, dirt, and other debris get dry and clump together, you're left with a booger.

Boogers can be squishy and slimy or tough and crumbly. Everybody gets them, so they're not a big deal. In fact, boogers are a sign that your nose is working the way it should!

If you have to get rid of boogers, your best bet is to blow 'em out of your nose and into a tissue. Picking your nose isn't a great idea because boogers contain lots of germs and because poking around in your nose can make it bleed.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: July 2012

License

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995–2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.

Should your child see a doctor?

Find out by selecting your child’s symptom or health condition in the list below:

Spring 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Cold Water Shock Can Quickly Cause Drowning
  • E-Cigs Are Addictive and Harmful
  • Bystanders Can Intervene to Stop Bullying

Download Spring 2014 (PDF)

Videos

Overcoming the Odds: A KING 5 TV Children's HealthLink Special 0:44:45Expand
12.30.13

In the spirit of the holidays, patients, parents and doctors share inspirational stories of healing and hope. From surviving heart failure and a near-death drowning to battling a flesh-eating disease, witness how the impossible became possible thanks to the care patients received at Seattle Children's Hospital.

Play Video
Miracle Season 2013 0:57:06Expand
12.11.13

Miracle Season, hosted by Steve Pool and Molly Shen, aired Dec. 8, 2013, on KOMO 4 TV. The annual holiday special celebrates the remarkable lives of Seattle Children's patients.

Play Video
Children’s Mental Health 0:00:30Expand
11.22.13

Mark Fadool, clinical director of mental health services at Odessa Brown Children's Clinic, provides early warning signs of mental health issues in kids and teens and urges us all to notice the signs and act early.

Play Video