Picking your nose isn’t such a harmless habit after all. In the short Tech Insider video below, otolaryngologist Erich P. Voigt outlines exactly what's happening when you stick your finger in your nose, and explains how nose picking can cause everything from nosebleeds to irritation and even illness.

Nose picking, Voigt explains, causes abrasions and tiny amounts of bleeding within the nose. That in itself isn’t such a big deal—but it turns out the germs in your nose love feasting on blood. Picking your nose not only transfers whatever germs were hanging out on your hand to your nasal passage, but simultaneously provides them with a tasty lunch.

For the most part, picking your nose won’t make you seriously ill or do any lasting damage, but it might slightly increase your likelihood of catching a respiratory infection, and can be dangerous for those with compromised immune systems. If you're not interested in turning your nose into a free bed and breakfast for Staphylococcus aureus and other germs, Voigt recommends keeping your fingers away from your nostrils.

[h/t Lifehacker]