Decolonize Your Nose: Help Protect Yourself and Others from Infection

January 21, 2021


Most people know that practicing good hand hygiene, such as washing or sanitizing the hands regularly, can help reduce the risk of infection. However, many are overlooking a key culprit in the spread of germs: the nose. Together with hand hygiene, decolonizing the nose is a simple step that can help prevent the spread of germs and enhance overall health. 

The moist, hairy skin inside the nostrils is the perfect environment for potentially dangerous germs to grow and multiply. The nose is like a revolving door for germs, allowing them to enter and exit the body. Sneezing, coughing, or touching the nose can spread infectious germs to others. Touching the nose—which a person does more than 100 times a day on average1—can also spread germs from the hand to the nose. Decolonizing the nose interrupts the cycle of contamination between the hands and nose and can help reduce the spread of germs that cause infection. 


Benefits of Decolonizing the Nose

Decolonizing the nose is a proven infection prevention measure that has been practiced by health care professionals for decades. A 2020 American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC) study showed a decrease in infections to zero when Nozin® Nasal Sanitizer® antiseptic was added to existing infection prevention protocols.2 Due to the extensive research showing that decolonizing the nose significantly reduces infection rates, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all hospitals include nasal decolonization of patients in certain situations in which they are at higher risk of infection.  

Despite being an established health care practice, only 3 out of 10 Americans understand that decolonizing the nose helps reduce infection risk, according to a recent survey by YouGov.3 Given the positive impact that hospitals have seen with decolonizing patients’ noses, it is time this practice is adopted by the general public. Health care experts advise that decolonizing the nose is a simple and effective way to help protect oneself and others from infection and should be part of daily hygiene practices.  

When to Decolonize the Nose

Decolonizing the nose is a simple step that helps to prevent the spread of germs and enhance overall health. It may be particularly useful in certain situations such as:

  • Before going out in public and after being surrounded by large groups of people, especially in an indoor setting such as a grocery store or while exercising in a gym
  • While traveling, especially before and after flying
  • After or during visits to the doctor or hospital stays, where a person may have a higher risk of being exposed to germs

Products to Decolonize the Nose 

It is important to note that not all nasal products are formulated to kill germs in the nose. Many over-the-counter nasal hygiene products can help clean but do not decolonize the nose. These include products such as nasal sprays to help alleviate dryness, congestion, or inflammation from cold, flu, or allergies; nasal rinse products that flush out mucus and debris from the nose; and steam or humidifiers that help loosen mucus in the nose. 

To decolonize the nose, it is recommended to use a product that is hospital-tested, clinically proven to kill germs in the nose, and specially formulated for that purpose.

Millions of Americans count on Nozin® Nasal Sanitizer® antiseptic to decolonize their nose each year. Trusted by hundreds of hospitals across the country and backed by clinical studies, it is proven to kill 99.99% of germs and protects for up to 12 hours. Nozin® Nasal Sanitizer® antiseptic is an over-the-counter antiseptic that is safe for daily use, pleasant and simple to apply, and is recommended by health professionals to be part of routine hygiene practice.   

Learn more about the role of the nose in preventing the spread of infection at  


  1. Kwok L, Gralton J, McLaws ML. Face touching: a frequent habit that has implications for hand hygiene. Am J Infect Control. 2015 Feb;43(2):112-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2014.10.015. PMID: 25637115; PMCID: PMC7115329.
  2. Franklin S. A safer, less costly SSI prevention protocol-Universal versus targeted preoperative decolonization. Am J Infect Control. 2020 Apr 28:S0196-6553(20)30135-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2020.02.012. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32359812.
  3. Figures are from YouGov Plc. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21st - 26th May 2020, the survey was carried out online and the total sample size was 1301 adults. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+). The national survey was conducted by YouGov on behalf of Nozin.


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