Follow Your Nose
Better Nutrition|March 2021
When it comes to avoiding viruses and other contagions, keeping your nose clean may be just as important as washing your hands.
By Lisa Turner

Over the past year, we’ve all learned the drill for protecting ourselves and others from viral infections: wear a mask, take supplements to support immunity, practice social distancing, and wash your hands as often as possible. But another layer of safe, effective protection could be right under your nose.

New research suggests that nasal hygiene plays a significant role in preventing infection, and nasal sprays with specific active ingredients may reduce the risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, and other viral invaders. Rather than mitigating symptoms or lessening severity, nasal sprays work prophylactically, helping to prevent infection altogether.

The nasal mucosa—the thin tissue lining the cavity of the nose—is the first barrier against inhaled substances, including foreign particles, allergens, bacteria, and viruses. In the case of SARS-CoV-2, research suggests that the nose is not only the entry site, but also the main target of the virus. The virus tends to become firmly established first in the nasal cavity, before progressing into the airway and lungs. And the nose has a higher viral load of SARS-CoV-2 than anywhere else in the body after infection.

Research Highlights

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