What is the Purpose of our Nose?

Written by rebeccah

Purple background with white text reading "How many scents can the human nose recognise?" and an animated image of a nose.

The human nose can recognise around 1 trillion different scents (that’s 1,000,000,000,000!).

We often don’t consider what is needed to take care of it, however, it soon becomes obvious how much we rely on our nose once we get sick.

What does it do?

  • Sense of smell: receptors in our nose detect different scents and sends signals to our brain to determine what they are and connect them to different emotions and memories.
  • Entryway for air into the body: our nose helps us breathe in air and expel air to and from our lungs. The air is humidified and warmed inside it to keep the lining moist.
  • Part of our bodies defence against infection: the nasal hairs and mucous membranes inside of our nose helps to trap pathogens and provide a barrier from them entering the rest of our body.
  • Assists with our sense of taste: how food smells helps to determine how it tastes!

How can we keep our nose healthy?

  • Drink lots of water: staying hydrated keeps the mucous flowing through our nose, sinuses and airways, therefore preventing infections that usually form if the mucous stays still for too long.
  • Exercise: during exercise adrenaline is released into our body which helps to relieve congestion.
  • Rinse your nose with a saline wash to remove microorganisms, pollutants, dust and other irritating particles. 
  • Avoid heavily polluted air: allergens, dust and smoke in the air can be irritating.
  • Humidifier or vaporiser: if your nose is dry, it cannot filter out microorganisms and pollutants as well as normal. A humidifier can keep the air entering our airway moist.
  • Dehumidifier: asthma, allergy flare ups and sinus congestion can worsen if the air is too humid.
Image shows 5 types of humidifiers: central humidifier, central vaporiser, ultrasonic humidifier, evaporator and impeller humidifier.

Find more of our health tips here.

Book an appointment with us here or call us on 9651 5559.


Health Direct. 2020. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/nose-and-throat

Health Grades. https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/ear-nose-and-throat/9-tlc-tips-for-your-nose-and-sinuses

Rehl, R. M. http://www.arizonasinus.com/dr-rehls-10-tips-for-sinus-and-respiratory-health.htm

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