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TIE (Tanzania Institute of Education)
Importance of Nose
nose is part of your respiratory system. It allows air to enter your body, then
filters debris and warms and moistens the air. Your nose gives you a sense of
smell and helps shape your appearance. Many common symptoms affect your nose,
such as a stuffy nose and nosebleed. Other symptoms may need treatment to keep
your nose functioning well.
comes into the body through the nose. As it passes over the specialized cells
of the olfactory system, the brain recognizes and identifies smells. Hairs in
the nose clean the air of foreign particles. As air moves through the nasal
passages, it is warmed and humidified before it goes into the lungs.
Here’s a look at what’s in the nose:
you inhale, air passes through two nostrils. Within, these lead to passageways,
separated by cartilage known as the septum, which are further divided up by
internal structures called turbinates. Air passes deeper and reaches the nasal
cavity, which is located inside your head above the roof of your mouth. It also
goes through the sinuses—open spaces in your cheekbones and skull above your
lungs are where the complex exchange of oxygen from the air into the blood
occurs. First, oxygen-rich air must pass through the nose, which is also your
first defense against airborne germs. In fact, it has several functions beyond
trapping germs in a sticky fluid called mucus (more on this later), including:
tiny particles before they reach the lungs.
air to body temperature before it gets to your lungs.
moisture to the air to prevent dry airways.
fairly simple, doesn’t it? But there’s much more to why these functions are so
important. Since they’re closely connected, nose health directly affects lung
health, and, in turn, the rest of your body. A stuffy, runny nose can affect
your body beyond allergies, a cold, or chest congestion. It truly is the
guardian of the lungs, as put by the American Academy of Otolaryngology. Read on
to better understand this connection.
Your Nose and Your Health
are ridge-like bony structures inside the breathing passages of the nose. Also
known as the nasal concha, the long, narrow structures divide the airway into
four passages, increasing the surface area through which air can flow. This
warms the air as it’s inhaled, heating it to temperatures up to 93°F. The
turbinates also maintain a humidity level of 98%, moistening air as it enters
the body and helping prevent dehydration as air is exhaled.1
Nose Health and the Impact on Your Lungs
stuffy nose can lead to mouth breathing, which increases the risk of developing
mouth and throat infections and chest congestion. The throat is the direct
route to the lungs. Aside from this being the main route for breathing, there
is another connection—the nasal-pulmonary reflex.
reflex is not unlike tapping your knee and having it move involuntarily. The
neural mechanism causes the lungs to close up when your nose does; if the nose
opens up, the lungs open and gain more capacity. Some athletes open their noses
with nasal strips. It’s possible this may not just enhance breathing but also
tap into a neurological response mechanism that affects lung function.
like the nasal linings, the bronchial tubes that branch into the lungs from the
trachea, or windpipe, are lined with cilia. These create wave-like motions that
transport mucus up toward the throat, rather than downward as is the case in
the nose and nasal cavity. The mucus, along with dust and germs it carries, can
then be coughed up or swallowed.
are various structures comprising the upper airways and the lungs, which are
explained in more detail by the American Lung Association.
nose and lungs are so interconnected it’s important to recognize conditions
that can affect the entire body, which can provide incentives to seek nose
congestion relief. Here is a look at a few that are directly related to nose
microscopic level, the nose plays a vital role in health, as it does on a
larger scale. The tissues lining the air passages are covered by
mucous-producing cells containing cilia, or hair-like structures that trap
particles and help move them toward the throat. Dirt particles trapped are
either eliminated through sneezing or directed toward the throat. Here, they
can be swallowed (along with mucus) and pass to the stomach instead of the
lungs, which are far more sensitive to foreign material.
the nose, the body wouldn’t be able to taste food nearly as well. What humans
call “taste” is actually a mixture of different sensations. One of the
sensations is smell. When food is eaten, the nose smells the food and sends
information to the mouth in a process called olfactory referral. This is why
those with a cold or other nose condition finds that food lacks flavor.
nose also plays a role in hearing. The nasopharynx is flanked on either side by
eustachian tubes. These tubes connect the nasopharynx to the middle ear. The
nasopharynx fills the middle ear with air, equalizing air pressure in the ear
with the atmosphere around it, which is an important part of hearing properly,
according to the American Rhinologic Society.