Ask the Experts – How Can I Get My Son To Quit Picking His Nose?

Check out our Ask the Experts Q&A series, posted the first Friday of the month, with frequently asked questions from our readers. Inquiring minds want to know!

How Can I Get My Son to Quit Picking His Nose?

Angela Dangvu, M.D.

Answer: The next time you catch your son’s finger up his nose, you can briefly explain the harmful effects of germs.  Bacteria and viruses on his fingers easily enter his body through his nose.  Also, fingers that have been in his nose are a “great” way to spread colds or the flu to others!

As parents, we know all too well that nagging doesn’t work to change a habit.  Whenever I caught my two young boys picking their noses, I immediately made them go get a tissue and wash their hands.  Having that small consequence, made it just not worth it to pick their noses.

Another helpful tip, especially if your son is prone to dry nasal passages, is to use a saline spray nightly.  The trick to making it better tolerated by young kid is to have them lean forward over the sink so that it doesn’t drip down the back of their throat.  I do this with my boys every night and it’s really helped to clean out their noses…removing any of those dry temptations!

Dr. Dangvu is a CHOC pediatrician.  As the mother of two school-aged boys, she uses her experience as a pediatrician and a parent to guide families in the care of their children. 

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