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Have you ever noticed that when you have a cold, your nostrils alternate being stuffed up? Why is that? The folks at Mental Floss got to the bottom of it, and in a nutshell: It’s because our nostrils split their workload. Throughout the day we have nasal cycles – and our nostrils take turns processing congestion and decongestion. And at any given moment, if you’re breathing through your nose, most of the air is going in and out of one nostril. Every few hours, things switch up and your other nostril takes over. Our nasal cycle is going on all the time, but when we’re sick, the extra mucus can make the nostril that’s on a break feel much more backed up.

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