Health > Kids > Nose Bleeding
A big batch of cookies coming out of the oven - yum! Your gym bag full of dirty clothes that have been sitting for 3 days . A dog that's been playing in the rain - How do you smell these smells and millions more? The answer is right in front of your face: by using your nose!
Your nose is an important organ for lots of reasons. Sure, it lets you smell, but did you know it's also a big part of why you are able to taste? The nose is also the main gate to the respiratory system - this means that it's the most important player in letting you breathe. The nose is one talented guy. So let's nose around and find out why.
From the outside, the nose looks like one big part. But on the inside, the nose has two long holes called nostrils. The two nostrils are exactly the same, and they are separated by a small wall called the septum (say: sep-tum). The septum is made of cartilage (say: car-till-udge) and very thin pieces of bone. Cartilage is a flexible material that can be moved around easily. Try an experiment to check out how flexible cartilage is: push gently on the end of your nose, and see how easy it is to wiggle it around, push it up, and mush it down. That's because there are no hard bones in the way - just cartilage. Behind the part of your nose that sticks out from your face is a hole called the nasal cavity, which is set back into your skull.
Getting the Air in There
The nose is necessary: it's the main airway to your respiratory system. When you inhale air through your nostrils, the air enters your nasal cavity and travels along the top of your palate (say: pal-it). (Your palate is the wall that separates your nose from your mouth, sometimes called the roof of your mouth. You can check out its surface by lifting up your tongue and using it to feel around.) The air then passes through your mouth and throat and soon ends up in the lungs. When your lungs are ready to exhale the old air, the nose is the main way for the air to leave your body.
But your nose doesn't just take air in and send it along to the lungs - it warms, humidifies, and filters it first (humidifying means adding moisture). The inside of your nose is lined with a mucous membrane (say: myoo-kuss mem-brane), which is a wet, thin layer of tissue. This membrane warms up the air on its way in and moistens it a lot - in fact, air that's come in through the nose reaches almost 75% humidity!
The nose knows how to filter things out of the air before they make their way into your throat. On the inside front surface of the nose are tiny protective hairs that catch dust and other irritants that would be harmful if they were inhaled. And some irritants that do get caught in there are so irritating that your nose wants to get rid of them right away - by sneezing! Sneezing is an involuntary way of removing an irritation from your nose. Your brain, muscles, and nose all work together to send those particles flying out of your nose, sometimes at speeds of up to 100 miles an hour. Now that's a speedy sneeze! And on each side of the upper part of the throat, behind the nasal cavity, are adenoids (say: ad-eh-noyds). These are bunches of tissue that contain cells that help fight off any germs that you may have inhaled