Why do we have a nose? and a real example of science at work.

What do you think the nose is used for?

We use our nose:

To smell – did you know that the olfactory organ helps us smell odours?

To breathe – did you know that 15,000 litres of air are filtered every day.

To speak – the nose forms a resonating cavity for the voice and amplifies and makes sounds audible.

When we breathe the nose performs a crucial role as it filters, moistens and warms the air we inhale.

There are three turbinate bones on both sides of the nose which are lined with blood vessels, cilia and mucous to trap impurities such as pollutants and bacteria as well as moisten and warm the air.  The nose is cleaning and warming up the air we breathe before it reaches our lungs.

We have looked at the process of filtering before, when we filtered toys, and when we cleaned up water. The nose filters the air a little differently.

Inside the nose are millions of very tiny hairs called cilia. The hairs move as air is breathed in, trapping particles. Underneath the hairs are glands and goblet cells which produce mucus. This traps the particles, which are carried on the moving cilia to the back of the nose where they are swallowed together with the mucus. That sounds a bit gross doesn’t it? but is necessary to keep our lungs healthy.

This mechanism is very important in protecting us from harmful effects of pollutants and pathogens in the air we breathe. If the nose cilia stop working for some reason, mucous becomes trapped and the hairs stop beating, potentially leading to blocked noses and sinuses.

Coughing and sneezing doesn’t always clear the nose suffiently especially in young children. Nasal sprays such as Sterimar can help clear the nose. Sterimar works by flushing out the nose and is made of 100% natural ingredients. The spray is made from sea water taken from the Brittany Coast which is then filtered to such an extent that all the pollutants and pathogens are filtered out leaving just pure sterile saline solution. Can you image how small the filters must be?

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