Most parents just think nose picking is a bit disgusting and even a bit embarrassing, especially if your little ones decide to do it in a public place, but it could actually be deadly.

Picking your nose could spread a dangerous bacteria which causes pneumonia, new research warns.

The study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, shows that the transmission of pneumonia can occur through contact between the nose and hands when exposed to the bacteria.

Researchers found that the bacteria spreads at the same rate whether dry or wet, or whether people pick or even just rub their noses.

Pneumonia is a major cause of death around the world and is estimated to be responsible for 1.3 million deaths in children under five years of age.

Researchers have shared some simple advice that may prevent the spread of the deadly bacteria.

“For parents, as this research shows that hands are likely to spread pneumococcus, this may be important when children are in contact with elderly relatives or relatives with reduced immune systems,” said lead researcher Dr Victoria Connor, a clinical research fellow at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Royal Liverpool Hospital.

“In these situations, ensuring good hand hygiene and cleaning of toys or surfaces would likely reduce transmission, and reduce the risk of developing pneumococcal infection such as pneumonia.”

A different study shared previously claimed people who pick their noses may actually be healthier. Read more on that here.

Share your comments below.


  • There’s pros and cons for everything these days.

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  • I reckon just wash your hands a lot and frequently

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  • Interesting, but in all honesty there’s no way to control it completely – I know when I was young I used to pick mine in secret. In all honesty though bacteria are everywhere and we are constantly exposed I think exposure to a certain degree helps to build a healthy immune system.

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  • I think most parents try to discourage it!

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  • Well certainly it is important to ensure we have good hygiene.

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  • A confusing read – I’m not quite sure about this one.

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  • Yeah, I’m a bit confused. Is it good or bad — depending on the study you’re referring to. Not an ideal habit for anyone, but clearly people do it.

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  • A few months ago they said the bacteria prevented tooth decay and strengthened immune systems. Wish they would make up their minds.

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  • Haha of course is going to spread germs, it’s like little kids sneezing all over things!

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  • Meedee and Ellen I too saw an article saying it was healthy as. You do need germs to build a good immune system.

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  • More scaremongering. How much of the population have this bacteria lurking in their nasal passages? The research is incomplete without looking at how much of the population even have the bacteria to begin with, how many actually pick their noses, and how many possible cases of infection occured as a result.

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  • Not long ago I read an article that stated the opposite, that nose picking actually boosts the immune system ?! I even saw it on a tv program.

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  • I think it depends who you talk to. A few years back there was a European Doctor that said that it was actually good for building up your own immunity to pick your nose and then eat it. LOL

    oh here we are….found an article about it…

    https://www.mensjournal.com/adventure/science-says-booger-eating-and-nose-picking-healthy/

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  • This is the first I’ve heard.

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  • I have to confess I have been guilty of that nasty habit. I broke my nose and bent the septum. One side wouldn’t clear when I blew it, it was blocked causing restricted breathing and I was desperate.

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