Nose clips are small devices used to close or secure the nose for various purposes. They are used by swimmers to keep water out of their nose and in medical applications to secure face masks and for pulmonary function tests. Nose clips can be purchased or improvised.
A nose clip is a small device that pinches the nose. Some nose clips are designed to close the nose, while others are used on the bridge of the nose to secure respirators and other devices designed to fit around the mouth and nose. Nose clips are used by swimmers and in a variety of medical applications. Basic nose pads are often available from sports and medical suppliers, and it is also possible to find nose pads designed for custom applications.
In the swimming sense, nose clips keep water out of the nose. Swimmers use nose strings to ensure they don’t accidentally inhale or sniff water while swimming. In the case of divers and synchronized swimmers, the nose clip also prevents water from entering the nose during acrobatics in the water. By wearing a nose clip, swimmers can increase comfort in the water and reduce the risk of infection or irritation caused by partial inhalation of water. Swimmers also tend to wear ear plugs to protect their ears from water exposure.
Swim nose pads are often attached to strings or cords so they can be worn around the neck when not in use. They can be made from plastic or metal and may include padding to make the nose clip more comfortable for extended wear. Nose clips for swimming and diving can also be improvised with things like clothespins, although improvised clips may not be as effective or comfortable.
In the medical world, many face masks come with a nose clip. The clip helps keep the mask on the face and ensures that it fits correctly. Oxygen masks, surgical masks, and biohazard masks can all be secured with nose clips, normally using clips built into the mask, although nose clips can also be purchased independently. Without a clip, the mask could tend to slide down the face, potentially exposing the mask wearer to a pathogen or threatening the health of a vulnerable patient.
Keeping the nostrils closed may also be desirable for some types of medical tests, especially pulmonary function tests, in which case a nose clip may be used to ensure the test results are valid. These types of nose clips are disposable, designed for use by a single patient. Nose clips are especially common in spirometry, a type of medical test used to evaluate lung function.