Dr Baba Ahmed, a public health physician with National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) has advised the public against nose-picking as such habit could predispose one to upper respiratory tract infection.
Ahmed told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that the respiratory tract has cilia which could filter germs to prevent the growth of organisms.
Cilia are hair-like structures found in the respiratory tract where they help to move bacteria and mucous away from the lungs.
He said that burning of waste close to the house, dust; cold or very hot air can injure the nose and could cause organisms’ growth in the upper respiratory tracts.
Ahmed said that social habits like smoking could cause the lining of the upper respiratory tract to be prone to infection.
He said that a change in temperature could also distort the normal function of the pressure in the humidity of the nasal canal.
``The respiratory tract is a system of two wings collection of tubes of various sizes which starts from the openings of the nose deep into the lungs.
``Naturally, the respiratory tracts just like any other opening in the body have protective layers around it. For the respiratory tract, it has a lining that covers it; secreting certain substances.
``Again it has cilia; hair-like structures so that it can trap out things; so if the condition is not conducive for the trapped, it will react.
``Most of the reactions are protective mechanism to prevent penetration of certain organisms because the positioning of the upper respiratory tract makes it prone to injury,” Ahmed explained.
He said that the upper respiratory tract shares communication within and outside the body; hence it could be prone to infection because of the openings at the tracts.
``This means for one to breathe in air, it must pass through the openings which are modified to serve different purposes such as filtering and warming the air.
According to Ahmed, upper respiratory tract infections can be caused by bacteria, fungi and other parasitic agents.
He noted that upper respiratory tract infections were characterized with catarrh or nasal congestion and cough, saying ``if there is a bacterial infection, fever may occur.”
Ahmed said that in the air, there were many organisms which could not be seen with the eyes and could pass into the body through the upper respiratory tract.
He called for proper personal hygiene, saying ``people need to take care of themselves because no one can decide on what to inhale at any given time.’’