There's a lot of snot oozing out of people's nostrils this time of year, but did you know we produce half a cup a day just when we are healthy, and unwittingly swallow almost all of it? PBS Digital Studios has published two "gross science" videos on YouTube about snot, and the takeaway is that, as gross as it is, snot is also crucial to helping us stay healthy. In fact, the presenter goes so far as to call it "truly terrific stuff."
Among the tidbits: mucus is 95% water, while crusty boogers are just dehydrated versions. Mucus forms all over our bodies, even in our genitals, to keep delicate body tissue moist and trap invading particles that might do us harm. Our bodies produce more mucus to flush out those pathogens and also send in little immune cell armies to wage battle. And congestion isn't actually from an enormous buildup of snot, but rather nasal inflammation blocking those airways. If your snot is green, your body is in full-on bacteria slaughter mode, reports Gizmodo, while red means blood, so stop blowing and picking your nose for a bit. (Like snot, ear wax is beneficial.)