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A Breath Of Fresh Air


Okay, try this. Close your mouth and breathe in through your nose. Nice isn’t it? Well, now pinch your nose so that you can’t suck any air in and then relax your grip slightly so that only a tiny amount can get in. Now breathe like that through your nose for a minute or so. It’s pretty annoying isn’t it? Just like having a cold. Frustrating and eventually you’ll want to let go of your nose or breathe through your mouth. Well, that’s what it’s like all the time for me. My nasal passages are pretty narrow and this means that I can’t really breathe through my nose at all – it’s like it’s permanently blocked.

This is the reason I never sleep more than 3-4 hours at any one time. My brain has worked out that my nose is useless and so when I fall asleep I automatically breathe through my mouth. This means that after a couple of hours my mouth gets extremely dry. And then it gets so dry that I wake up and take a swig of juice. I then go back to sleep again and the whole cycle continues.

A picture of a nasal stripTo be honest, this has never really bothered me and I’ve never really noticed it. Until now. You see I’ve found a way to breathe like a normal human being. I’ve discovered nasal strips. These are pieces of self-adhesive plastic that you place over your nose. They have the effect of widening the nasal passages and increase the oxygen intake of an athlete. Whether they do any good or not to athletes is questionable, but the change they make to me is incredible.

My long-suffering girlfriend happened to get a free packet of them and I decided to put one on just for fun. And as soon as I did it changed my life (I’m not exaggerating). I could breathe through my nose! I could suck in a deep breath without fighting for it! I could close my mouth and not suffocate within a few minutes! So I’ve worn them for the past couple of nights. My brain still makes me breathe through my mouth when I sleep (it’s tough to teach your brain new tricks), but the feeling of being able to breathe properly is like a drug – and I love it. Honestly, you wouldn’t believe how wonderful it is.

But come morning my dream wears off. I get up and wander over to the shower and realise that I’m going to have to take the strip off. I’m breathing normally with it on and I think to myself that “it won’t be that bad” and maybe my nose will be okay this time. But as soon as I remove it, my nose is back to normal and it feels like someone has put cotton wool up my nostrils. It’s terrible. Like Cinderella after the ball when her carriage turns back into a pumpkin.

So I have two choices: either I go and buy another box of strips and just wear them in the evening – removing them and coming down to earth the following morning. Or I could go and have surgery to widen my nostrils. I’m not sure I can be bothered with an operation, although my company offers free private health care so it’s tempting. I’ll persist with the nasal strips for now, as I can live without having my nostrils altered, but I just had to write down how wonderful being able to breathe is. So go on, spend the next ten minutes breathing through your nose only. I certainly won’t be able to without sounding like a vacuum cleaner or collapsing with asphyxia. But you can for me!

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Creator of John's Background Switcher. Scotsman, footballer, photographer, dog owner, risk taker, heart breaker, nice guy. Some of those are lies.

21 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. There is a 3rd option of course.

    You could put your nose in front of the 1 pin when bowling and I’ll do a “rather fast” ball – sure that will alter the air flow route in your head. Well the surgeons afterwards could make sure it works at least.


  2. Can you get these strips from Boots, John and how much are they? I was born with a bent bone in my nose which means that one of my nostrils is constricted, so I might try them. Cheers!


  3. it must be horrible hon, nearly all my family have one nostril really small inside, so when I get a slight cold it doesnt take long to not be able to breathe… but all the time… *huge hugs hon* xxx


  4. In my fridge I have a jar of horseradish mustard that is so strong it will clear the sinuses of the person sitting next to you – I’d be happy to send some across. You know, if you decide against the cocaine habit so helpfully suggested by lats, that is. 😉


    • I just had my nasal passages widened, polyps burnt off, sinus flushed and my deviated septum fixed. Its well worth it. Alot of stuffiness and migrains after wards but well worth it. I too can breath properly for once. It takes about 3 or so weeks to get over the worse. But well, well worth it. Do the op is my suggestion


  5. “Euros”? I thought that was a dirty word in England. 🙂

    Can’t you reuse the strips? Maybe you could get the development team to work on an alternative for you – something involving high strength tape and maybe a few alligator clips?…


  6. I do hope you were joking AndyY! The pound has been stronger than the dollar for as long as I can remember. 😛

    I have the same problem about breathing through my nose through the day, I especially feel it when I’m exercising. I have been thinking about going to the doctors to see if they can do anything about it.


  7. A friend of mine with the same problem actually had surgery to sort it out and can now breathe freely through his nose (it’s only a small op apparently). Since I’ve had a permanently blocked nose my whole life I’m used to it and it doesn’t bother me any more – unless I put a nasal strip on and remember how nice it is to breathe freely!


  8. We get over $2 for £1 1pound.

    so it will be more like $13 for £6.
    I think I will just need a new nose, the strips don’t help much if the nasal linings are swollen ect. 🙁


  9. I suffer the same fate and used to go for cryosurgery, it was freezing or desensitizing the inside of my nostril then they would insert this probe inside my nostril wall, inner, then activate. It would drop it’s temp to minus 130 f and hold it there for 90 seconds, killing a portion of the lining. Removing the probe made a cracking sound since it was frozen to the flesh and repeat on the other side. A few days later I would blow my nose and out popped the dead flesh giving me almost an with of an eighth of an inch of extra breathing room which was incredible until it grew back, if I was lucky. I remember one time sniffing back and the flesh was in the back of my throat, shit, yuk!! I had my deviated septum repaired last year, never look it up to watch the bid, you might want to try and won’t if you want to. It does help considerably but I really need to have them widened but you really need them both.


      • Just seen my E.N.T. Doctor I to have narrow sinus and allergies the mucus builds up and drains very slowly leaving me lightheaded and nausea ever day. He suggested (balloon sinuplasty) Nasal passages are widened by inserting a small balloon and taking the balloon back out . The goal is to widen the pathway and improve drainage and breathing better. This is a nonsurgical option and safe. Hope this was helpful.


  10. There is a minor surgery where the elastic ring at the end of each nostril is pulled open and secured to facial bone. Extremely small scar on each side of face. Usually placed in a wrinkle so it completely disappears.


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