African Journal of Respiratory Medicine
The Nostrils: Gateways to Breath and Beyond

Opinion - (2024) Volume 19, Issue 1

Danos Tani*
*Correspondence: Danos Tani, Department of Biology, Columbia University, USA, Email:

Received: 31-Jan-2024, Manuscript No. ajrm-24-129797 ; Accepted Date: Feb 28, 2024 ; Editor assigned: 02-Feb-2024, Pre QC No. ajrm-24-129797 (PQ); Reviewed: 16-Feb-2024, QC No. ajrm-24-129797 ; Revised: 21-Feb-2024, Manuscript No. ajrm-24-129797 (R); , DOI: 10.54931/1747-5597.24.19.05

Department of Biology, Columbia University, USA


Nestled discreetly at the base of the nose, the nostrils serve as the primary portals through which we breathe, inhaling life-sustaining oxygen and exhaling metabolic waste in the form of carbon dioxide. Beyond their essential role in respiration, the nostrils play a fascinating and often overlooked role in human physiology and well-being. In this article, we embark on a journey to explore the anatomy, function, and significance of the nostrils in human health and everyday life. The nostrils, also known as the external nares, are the paired openings located at the base of the nose, flanked by the nasal septum and surrounded by the nasal cartilage. Key anatomical features of the nostrils include: The inner lining of the nostrils is lined with tiny hairs known as vibrissae, which act as a physical barrier, trapping dust, pollen, and other airborne particles to prevent them from entering the respiratory system.


The area immediately inside the nostrils is known as the nasal vestibule, which contains sebaceous glands and sweat glands that help moisturize and protect the nasal passages. Beyond the nasal vestibule lie the nasal cavities, divided by the nasal septum into left and right sides. These cavities are lined with mucous membranes that produce mucus to humidify and filter the air as it passes through the nasal passages. The nostrils serve several important functions beyond simply allowing air to enter and exit the respiratory system: As air is inhaled through the nostrils, the nasal hairs and mucous membranes trap airborne particles, dust, allergens, and pathogens, helping to filter and purify the air before it reaches the lungs. The mucous membranes within the nasal passages produce mucus, which moistens and humidifies the air, preventing the respiratory tract from becoming dry and irritated. The nasal passages help regulate the temperature of inhaled air, warming it during cold weather and cooling it during hot weather to maintain optimal conditions for lung function. The nostrils house specialized cells responsible for the sense of smell, allowing us to detect and distinguish a wide range of odors and aromas. Inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes, known as rhinitis, can result from allergies, infections, or irritants, causing symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and itching. Noncancerous growths that develop in the nasal passages due to chronic inflammation, nasal polyps can obstruct airflow and impair nasal function, leading to breathing difficulties and loss of smell. Deviated Septum: A deviated nasal septum occurs when the thin wall of cartilage that separates the nostrils is crooked or off-center, obstructing airflow and causing breathing problems. Use a humidifier to add moisture to indoor air during dry weather or in heated environments. Seek prompt medical attention for persistent nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, or other nasal symptoms.


The nostrils, often overlooked in the grand tapestry of human anatomy, play a vital role in respiration, air filtration, temperature regulation, and olfaction. By understanding the anatomy, function, and significance of the nostrils, individuals can take proactive steps to maintain nasal health and optimize overall respiratory function. From breathing to smelling to filtering the air we breathe, the humble nostrils are truly remarkable gateways to breath and beyond.

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