Blowing a runny nose is so easy that a child could do it -- or is it? In 2000, researchers at the University of Virginia published a study that detailed the CT scans they performed on people as they blew their noses. According to the findings, a good, hearty blow creates tremendous pressure in the nasal cavities, which actually propels mucus back into the sinuses, rather than clearing the cavities [source: O'Connor]. It's possible that this process deposits viruses or bacteria into the sinuses, which could cause infection [source: O'Connor]. To avoid creating so much pressure, blow one nostril at a time, gently.
Moisturizing Your Nose
There's a saying in sports that the best offense is a good defense. The same holds true for moisturizing your skin. Don't wait until you get a cold, complete with a nose rubbed raw, to show your nasal area a little TLC. Throughout the winter, you should drink lots of water, wear a moisturizer complete with SPF and wear a scarf that covers your face when you're heading outside.
Once a cold does strike, double up on the water so that your skin can be moisturized from within. To protect the moisture on the skin's surface, don't settle for anything less than lotion-infused tissues to blow your nose. That means no toilet paper, no paper towels. Too often, cold sufferers only reach for the good tissues once their nose is chapped, but as soon as you feel the urge to blow, stock up on the good stuff.
Though it may seem like a long steamy shower will open your nasal passages and nip that cold in the bud, it will only damage your skin once you step into the cool air [source: Lerche Davis]. Instead, use lukewarm water when you wash and use a saline nasal spray to moisturize your mucus membranes. You may find a vaporizer or a humidifier eases that chapped, painful feeling, but be mindful of health and safety concerns. A vaporizer could cause burns, and a humidifier must be regularly cleaned so that bacteria and mold don't form and cause further respiratory ills.
Of course, you should always use a moisturizer, but you may want to use more if you have a cold, as it's your best bet for relieving skin irritation thanks to frequent nose blowing. Look for a humectant moisturizer, which will draw moisture to the skin's surface and heal any redness or rawness. Petroleum jelly will work in a pinch, but don't use it too frequently on the skin right under your nose. Though it's rare, putting petroleum jelly in that location could lead to lipid pneumonia if you inhale the jelly into your lungs [source: Gibson]. A simple water-based moisturizer will work just fine.
For more on finding a good moisturizer and for other tips on taking care of your skin through all seasons, see the links on the next page.