By Rudy Callum
We’re all familiar with the classic loogey. Winter colds give us the most intimate experience with our body’s mucus-building capacity. But, what is snot? And, more particularly, what are boogers? Snot and boogers are made of sugars and protein. (You can actually make your own faux mucus, but we won’t go there.)
In fact, mucus is ubiquitous – it’s found everywhere in nature. Anything that has a tube-like structure probably has a mucus membrance, and that membrane manufactures mucus to keeps things lubed and flowing.
Snot is not nearly as gross as you might think when you understand how neat it is. It’s slimy and choking, and green, yellow or white; wet and sticky, and can be soft and gelatinous or hard and crusty.
Snot and boogers begin with each breath. Each time you inhale, the itsy-bitsy hairs that line your nose trap dirt bits, dust, and germs – not unlike a sea anenome in the ocean. This slimy human lube flushes out these trace materials. Since it’s kind of damp in your nose (being a dark, enclosed space), the air becomes wet. Then, the moistened air is also heated up, because the blood flowing in nose lining radiates heat.
This process is supposed to create a germ-free environment; however, some germs slip by the border patrol, enter your respiratory system, and before you know it, they are growing in your nose, throat, and lungs.
It is the start of a cold, and thickend mucus is one of the first signs that it is working overtime on your behalf. While this snot might be a surprise nasal guest, all that’s really happening is that your mucus membranes are swelling to create more mucus in order to slimily escort germs away. The extra mucus blocks your air passages, creating a clogged nose and cough.
This is “snot”. It’s just a lot of mucosal slime, some might even say mucus on steroids. Boogers might be classified as something else altogether. They are dried up pieces of snot along with dirty nose debris. Loogey for loogey and hork for hork, boogers are generally agreed to be way more disgusting than mucus.
In spite of its name, its appearance, its putrid taste, and even its bad reputation, mucus, snot and boogers are your friends, and they rarely get the respect they deserve for playing point for your respiratory system. Make today a snot friendly day, and the next time you see that guy in the car next to you picking his nose, give him the two thumbs up! (ThinkQuest)