You're blowing it! Every time you shoot snot into a tissue when you're sick, you're generating loads of "intranasal pressure" that pushes oozy fluid into the sinus pockets located below your eyes, reveals research from the University of Virginia.
Forcing mucous back into your sinuses creates pressure, messes with nasal ventilation and drainage, and could lead to infections, the study authors say. So instead of actively trying to force all that junk out of your sick nose, you're better off just wiping away the snot as it runs out, the study suggests.
Here are seven more health flubs you didn't realize you were making.
|You hold in your farts|
Suppressing gas may increase the pressure in your colon, which pushes out the walls of that section of your large intestine, creating sacs called "diverticula," shows a study from New Zealand. These sacs can lead to abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea. If one of them bursts--a condition called diverticulitis that's common among middle-aged and senior adults--fever, pain, or colon obstructions can develop, the study authors say.
|You pop your zits|
A pimple is basically a little pocket of dirt and bacteria that your skin has wisely sequestered away from the surrounding pores. But if you pop it, you'll usually end up pushing some of that gunk back into your skin, which leads to more pimples, explains Marc Glashofer, M.D., of the American Academy of Dermatology. It's better to just let the pimple do its thing and rupture on its own--or at least wait until the sucker is really ready to burst, when just the tiniest bit of light pressure on either side of it will force out the disgusting contents, Dr. Glashofer says.
|You don't pee the moment nature calls|
When you hold in urine, the pain or discomfort you feel is the result of a pressure buildup in your bladder, kidneys, and the tubes that connect those organs to your penis--all of which could experience infections as a result of your failure to piss, according to resources from Columbia University's Health System.
|You sit for "number 2"|
For hundreds of thousands of years, your ancestors squatted to relieve themselves, and human anatomy hasn't adapted to the toilet, studies suggest.
When you squat--as opposed to sitting--your knees end up a few inches above your butt, which straightens your anal canal for strain-free defecating, shows a study from Japan. The researchers suggest the curvature of your anal canal when sitting on a toilet leads to higher rates of constipation, hemorrhoids, and other crapping-related health issues.
|You pluck your nose hairs|
First of all, those hairs are there for a reason. They keep contaminants and harmful microorganisms from being sucked up into your brain and respiratory system, shows a study from Turkey. Trimming the tips to keep them from dangling below your nostrils is no big deal, Dr. Glashofer says. But pluck them out, and you create a tear in the skin inside your nose, which is susceptible to infection from all those same microorganisms caught in the surrounding hairs. ]
|You pick your nose|
Like plucking hairs, picking too frequently--or too enthusiastically--could lead to cuts or irritations, as well as infections, Dr. Glashofer explains. Tears of the "nasal septum" separating the nostrils are also common among guys who nose-mine for 30 minutes or more a day, shows a study from Wisconsin's Dean Foundation.
|You rub your eyes|
Rubbing your peepers creates tremendous pressure that can lead to nerve damage, corneal tears, or even a detached retina, explains Charles McMonnies, M.Sc., a professor of vision science at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Your eyes are especially susceptible to pressure-related injuries when you first wake up in the morning and after you remove your contacts, McMonnies adds or even a detached retina.