We might not pay might attention to them, except when they’re blocked, but noses are highly developed filtration systems.

Noses filter and clean the air we breathe before it travels to our lungs.

Adults breathe in approximately 18,000 to 20,000 litres of air through their nose daily. They are our early warning system by alerting us to the presence of airborne irritants or allergens.

Lined by blood vessels, the nasal passages also help warm and humidify the air as it’s breathed in. If you’ve suffered an injury to your nose, you’ll know from the profuse bleeding just how richly supplied with blood vessels the nasal lining really is.

The tissue lining the nose is called a mucus membrane, because it produces mucus. This mucous membrane is also covered by tiny hairs called cilia which play an important role in that they move mucus from the front of the nose to the throat from where it is then swallowed. On this journey mucus traps particles, viruses and bacteria and keeps them from entering the lungs. If the nose gets dry or mucus gets too sticky, then it makes it difficult for these cilia to carry out their job.

And when something causes us to sneeze, droplets are expelled at up to 100 miles/160kms per hour – so it’s always a good idea to consider other people in your sneezing range when you feel one coming on!

Sources:

The American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery

ENT Kent. Medical services for adults and children with ear, nose and throat conditions.