Adventures in Ethics and Science

Ask a silly question …

Ah, Spring! The time of year when children wear sandals and then admonish their siblings not to pick their toes on the way to pot-luck dinners.

Yesterday’s toe picking prompted me to tweet a question that was mostly facetious:

If a child sequentially picks toes and nose, is there a risk of getting athlete’s nostril?

But on Twitter, no silly question goes unanswered. So Bora replied:

I think so. The fungus just needs a decent amount transferred and sufficient time to set up shop elsewhere in the body.

Interesting. Also, potentially painful!

And of course, one of my Facebook friends took it a step further:

And doing the reverse is a leading cause of cold feet.

The power of social media.


  1. #1 Ahcuah
    April 26, 2009

    And then there’s the old joke: If your feet smell and your nose runs, maybe you were built upside down.

    Actually, I doubt that it would be too easy to get athlete’s nose. Athlete’s foot thrives on the feet because shoes provide the warm, dark, moist environment that the fungus prefers. Athlete’s foot is a shod population’s disease; it is pretty much unknown in populations that go barefoot all the time. I suspect that the nose, even if a bit warm and moist, gets ventilated way too well for the fungus to do its thing.

  2. #2 Coturnix
    April 26, 2009

    It will settle in the crotch, though!

  3. #3 llewelly
    April 27, 2009

    It will settle in the crotch, though!

    Athlete’s crotch is a clothed population’s disease; it is pretty much unknown in populations that go naked all the time.

  4. #4 Tinkering Theorist
    April 27, 2009

    I am very susceptible to athelete’s foot, but I have never gotten it in my nose. The first time I got it, it was between my fingers. As a child, I didn’t know what it was and apparently I was putting my hand on my mouth a lot–I think I was biting on my finger because it itched so much–and it spread to my lip. I bet if I would have frequently held the infected area next to my inner nose, it would have spread there, too, but I don’t see that being a common issue. . .

New comments have been disabled.