Dr. Gellner: Kids pick their noses. It's gross, but it's normal as well. What can you do if you have a nose-picker in your house? I'm Dr. Cindy Gellner, and we'll talk about that on today's Scope.
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Dr. Gellner: Nose-picking appears to be a habit that, although it usually begins in childhood, may actually linger into adulthood. If you find that hard to believe, consider that a study of adults in the 1990s found that 91% pick their noses regularly, and about 8% of them reported to eat what they pick. Parents are often horrified when they see their child pick their noses, or eating the boogers, or wiping the snot on anything nearby like their sleeves or your pants. It's socially unacceptable and unsanitary. I know, I'm a parent.
While you may not be able to stop your child's finger from digging for gold in their nostrils, you can teach them to be more discrete and to put their boogers in a Kleenex by the time they're ready for kindergarten. Nose-picking can also cause nosebleeds and introduce cold viruses directly to where they will end up having symptoms. Frequent nose-picking can even cause sores that will irritate their noses, and their fingers will go up their noses even more.
Kids also think gross things are cool. So if you tell your child, "That's nasty," they might actually do it more because it gets a rise out of you. If the nose-picking starts causing a lot of problems, such as nosebleeds or skin infections, talk to your pediatrician about things you can do.
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