Achoo! Sniffle! Parenting often feels like a battle against colds and runny noses, especially as the temperatures drop. While we may be all too familiar with our kiddos’ boogers, how much do we really know about snot? Where does snot come from and what is it meant for? Why do we sneeze? When we learn the science behind it, snot isn’t as bad as it seems (unless it’s not yours). Remember, everything that our body does or makes has a purpose, so let’s take a closer look at snot and why we sneeze.
Where Does Snot Come From?
Why Does Your Body Produce Snot?
Colds and allergic reactions are what cause our bodies to produce mucus, or what we call snot. But where does snot come from? A virus, such as the common cold, can prompt your body to release histamines which can inflame your mucous membranes and release mucus. Allergens and irritants, like pollen and smoke, can also inflame your mucous membranes causing an excess amount of snot.
What Does Snot Do?
As much as it’s a nuisance, mucus is a good thing. It defends our bodies from infection by making it more difficult for bacteria and viruses to settle in your nose. Mucus also gets rid of what’s causing the inflammation in your body. When your nose is running, it’s removing foreign materials from your nasal passage to keep you healthy.
Why Do We Sneeze?
When the mucous membranes in your nose are irritated by mucus or foreign particles, like dust and pollen, a sneeze alert is sent to the brain. The brain then sends a message to muscles in your abdomen, throat, chest, and diaphragm to push air out through the nose. Essentially, the purpose of a sneeze is to clear out any dirt, viruses, pollen, bacteria, and any other irritants from your nasal passage.