Picking Your Nose Leads to Higher Risk of COVID-19

A study published Aug. 2 in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One found that nose-picking among healthcare workers is associated with an increased likelihood of contracting a SARS-CoV-2 infection, which causes COVID.

To conduct the study, researchers analyzed rates of COVID-19 infection among staff at Amsterdam UMC from March 2020 through October 2020, then in 2021, surveyed participants to see whether they picked their noses. Other behaviors, such as nail biting, or physical attributes like having a beard, were also asked about.

More men, 90% of them, reported picking their noses often than women (83%). Of the professionals asked, doctors were the most frequent nose pickers, with 100% of residents and 91% of specialists saying they do. The study showed those who picked their nose had a 17.3% chance of getting the SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to those who refrained, who had a 5.9% chance.


Scientists in the Netherlands say research has previously found healthcare workers who had direct contact with Covid patients were more likely to catch Covid than those who did not.

“Explicit recommendations against nose-picking should be included in the same Sars-CoV-2 infection prevention guidelines,” they wrote.


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