In WTF News: Eating Boogers Is Probably Good For Kids' Immune Systems

by Joelle Wisler
Originally Published: 
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We’ve all been a bit horrified when it happens. To our kids, to other peoples’ kids, to random truck drivers at stoplights who have no idea we are watching them. Digging for gold, picking a winner. Do you have a miner’s license? That’s right, the disgusting habit of picking out the gunk from your nostrils and grossing out anyone who happens to catch you doing it.

Kids are experts at nose-picking, and they think that snot is almost as hilarious to talk about as butts and farts. Seriously, if I say the word “booger” to my 5-year-old, she will immediately erupt into peals of laughter. This is science. I always wonder why kids think bodily functions are so hilarious and then I walk by a sign advertising “salty nuts,” and I realize that I shouldn’t really be judging anyone on their juvenile sense of humor.

I am a person who can handle a lot of what the body dishes out. I went to physical therapy school and worked on cadavers in anatomy. I’ve interned on burn units. I’ve done wound care in hospitals. I’ve observed countless surgeries without one faint or queasy moment.

But boogers are my kryptonite.

I’ve literally gagged at the sight of my children dining on the crusty remnants of their nasal passages. Gagged and then wanted to burn my eyes out with bleach and put mittens on them until they are 20.

I’m also typically a calm mother. I don’t get too excited when one of my children comes in from outdoors bleeding. I don’t shout or scream or turn purple with rage very often.

But boogers turn me into Mommy Dearest. For real. The slimy, gooey, wrongness has my head turning around in circles and my kids looking at me like I’m a creature from their nightmares. I become irrationally grossed-out, and I realize it when it’s happening and…I still don’t care.

So I’ve always played the “You are going to make yourself sick” card whenever I catch one of the heathens chowing down on the golden goods. But am I right? Because while it’s certainly revolting to see your child with their finger knuckle-deep in their schnoz, or see the snail-trail evidence on their pillows, is it actually bad for them? Will it make them sick? Or just me?

Turns out, of course it doesn’t make them sick. We know this because kids have been eating boogers, and living to tell the tale, since the dawn of freaking time.

But what may surprise you? It’s actually good for them, because children are as strange as they are lovable. According to a study done by the American Society of Microbiology eating boogers is healthy for all of us and, well, I’d rather not know some information. The study focused on mucus and found that it had a positive impact on preventing cavities. What?

A lung specialist in Austria, Prof. Friedrich Bischinger, also states that “eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of strengthening the body’s immune system. Medically it makes great sense and is a perfectly natural thing to do.” Clearly, um, Dr. Bischinger is clearly a booger eater.

So there you go. I’ll have to come up with another reason why my kids shouldn’t be prodding around in their snouts. I guess kids’ immune systems are developing so anything in their world that includes germs is good for them. I’d just much rather shoo them out to play in the dirt than watch them pull slime from their nose holes, thank you very much.

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