Nose Facts

Our nose is an important part of our everyday life.

Think what it would be like to never smell chocolate chip cookies baking or the smell of green grass that has just been mowed.

The nose is another one of the body’s complex organs and we really don’t think about it until we catch a cold and our nose gets stuffed up.



The nose is made up of a number of specialty cells that allow us to smell.

  • There is a wall of very thin bone and cartilage between our nostrils called the ‘septum’.
  • A nose bleed is when the blood vessels in the septum experience a break. This can be caused by a number of things, from an injury all the way to a cold.
  • There is a space behind your nose that is called the nasal cavity.
  • You breathe air through your nose and the air is then filtered by a lot of tiny little hairs that are just inside the nostril. They help to remove dirt and dust so that you don’t breathe it in.

The inside of the nose is moist and wet all the time as it is filled with mucus. This has a purpose so that the air can have moisture added to it prior to it heading to your lungs. The second job of your nose is to warm the air as well.

  • Warm moist air allows the oxygen to be easily carried to your lungs and then when you breathe out it is the carbon dioxide that your body doesn’t need.
  • A sneeze is when something causes irritation to the little hairs in your nose.
  • The way in the back of your nose you have lumps of tissue that are called ‘adenoids’. They help to fight off infection when germs enter the area.
  • The sense of smell is called ‘olfaction’.



Your nose is useful for more than smelling good things, it can help you to detect if there is anything dangerous in the air such as chemicals.

  • The human nose has the ability to smell many odors, but our noses are not as sensitive as a dog.
  • The ethmoid bone is found at the roof of the nose and this is what separates the brain and the nasal cavity.
  • The orbit of the human eye is made up of bones, one of which is the ethmoid bone.
  • The roof of your mouth is also the floor of the nasal cavity.

The ability to smell is described by the word ‘anosmia’.

  • When things don’t smell as they are supposed to it is called ‘dysomia’.
  • Something that has a very strong smell is called ‘hyperosmia’
  • As an average most human males have a larger nose than human females.
  • In the Maori culture of New Zealand, their traditional way of saying hello (hongi) is to press noses together.
  • When someone has a ‘deviated septum’ it means that it is out of alignment. This can cause the person breathing problems as well as constant congestion.
  • Rhinoplasty is a type of plastic surgery on noses.



Some people have extremely sensitive noses and they may be hired to do special types of jobs. These jobs can include smelling the scent to make sure perfume is blended properly all the way to winemaking.

Those people that have very sensitive noses have been known to be able to recognize thousands of different smells to differentiate the perfect blend. Others have been hired to detect dangerous odors or fumes and they can tell how bad the level of pollution is.