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Your nose

nose; nasal; hairs; septum; adenoids; taste; smell; nostril; sneeze; germs ;


What to know about noses

nose playing guitarYour nose sits in the middle of your face. If you try to look at the end of it, you go cross-eyed.

The only time you get to see it is in the mirror, and even then you can't really see it well from the side.

However you probably already know some things about noses.

  • We mostly breathe through our noses.
  • We smell things through our noses.
  • Our sense of smell helps us to recognise tastes.
  • The two holes in your nose are called nostrils.
  • The end of your nose can be wiggled around with your finger.
  • Some people's noses can wiggle around by themselves!
  • If you get a bang on the end of your nose it really hurts and sometimes bleeds.

 Here are some other things you might not know:

  • Between the nostrils there is a wall of very thin bone and cartilage, called the septum.
  • A nose bleed can occur when blood vessels in the septum break. This can be caused by colds, dry air, exercise, pollen, bumping your nose, or picking your nose. (If you get a lot of nose bleeds, see a doctor - especially if they won't stop easily.)
  • Behind your nose is a space called the nasal cavity.

nose looking for a tissue

Did you know that a sneeze can travel at up to 160 kms an hour!

Just think how fast and how far germs can travel from one sneeze!

Grab a tissue quickly, before you spread the germs around!


How noses work

  • You breathe air in through your nostrils. As the air comes in it is filtered by lots of little hairs just inside the nostrils, to remove any dust. They are called nasal hairs.
  • The inside of the nose is a bit wet and slippery at all times. This is so that the air can have moisture added to it before it goes down into your lungs. Your nose also warms the air that you breathe in.
  • The slippery stuff in your nose is called mucus [say mew-kus] - actually, lots of kids may call mucus 'snot'.
  • sneezingThe warm moist air that you breathe in carries oxygen down into your lungs, and is then breathed back out through the nose (or mouth), carrying carbon dioxide that your body is getting rid of.
  • If you breathe in something that irritates the little hairs, they might make you shoot it straight back out again. We call this ……… sneezing.
    (I knew that you would know that!)
  • At the back of the nose are lumps of tissue, called the adenoids, which work very much like the tonsils. They help fight any infection when germs get in and that's why they get swollen up some times when you get a cold.

Professional noses

For some people, the nose is very important indeed.

smellingSome people have very sensitive noses, and can be found doing very unusual jobs.

There are people who are employed to use their ‘noses' in the winemaking and perfume industries. Some people's noses can recognise thousands of different perfumes, herbs, spices and flowers.

Other people are employed to sniff out fumes and odours around factories to see how much pollution is being caused.

Of course, dogs have an even better sense of smell, and their noses are used in all sorts of ways to help humans. There are rescue dogs, drug-sniffing dogs and tracking dogs. These dogs all have a very keen sense of smell.

noses in training All these noses have to be trained to do their very important jobs!

Famous noses

In the story of Pinocchio, the wooden boy had a nose which grew longer every time he told a lie. Wouldn't it be great if that happened in real life? We would all know who to trust!

Cleopatra, the famous Egyptian queen, was known for her great beauty AND her big nose!

Cyrano De Bergerac, a character in the book and film of that name, was famous for the size of his nose.

Tycho Brahe, a famous astronomer from Denmark, had an unusual nose – the end of it was made of gold. He lost the real end of his nose in a sword fight. a golden nose

There are some famous actors and actresses who have also been known as ‘The Nose', but we are too kind to mention their names. You shouldn't call attention to someone's appearance and embarrass them should you?

We know that it's the character of a person that's important, not how they look.

Dr Kim says

Dr Kim
If you have a cold, try to stay away from others so that they don't catch it from you.
Cover your nose when you sneeze, so that the germs don't fly every where. If you don't have a tissue, use your hand, but then wash your hand before you touch anything else.

It's a good idea to use tissues to blow your nose, and then put them in a bin or flush them down the toilet. If you stick them up your sleeve or drop them anywhere, germs can spread when other people have to pick them up."

Make sure you put sun screen on your nose before going out in the sun. Because it sticks out from your face it can easily catch the sun, even when you are wearing a hat.

What kids say about noses

My dad always said, "Keep your nose clean!" when I was going out.
He meant – stay out of trouble.

The Nose Scale

We have a few sayings that are about noses. How many do you know?

"Don't be nosey!" Matt

"Keep your nose out of it." Brittany

"She's always got her nose in a book." Rachelle

"He's always poking his nose into other people's business." Simon

"The journalist had a nose for a good story." Caitlin

"Don't pick your nose or your face will cave in". Dad

Can you think of any more?

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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