A nose clip is a small device which pinches the nose. Some nose clips are designed to pinch the nose shut, while others are used on the bridge of the nose to secure respirators and other devices which are designed to fit over the mouth and nose. Nose clips are used by swimmers, and in a variety of medical applications. Basic nose clips are often available from sporting and medical suppliers, and it is also possible to find nose clips which have been designed for custom applications.
In the swimming sense, nose clips keep water out of the nose. Swimmers use nose clips to ensure that they will not accidentally inhale or snort water while they swim. In the case of divers and synchronized swimmers, the nose clip also prevents water from getting into the nose during tricks in the water. By wearing a nose clip, swimmers can increase comfort in the water, and reduce the risk of infections or irritations caused by partially inhaling water. Swimmers also tend to wear ear plugs to protect their ears from water exposure.
Swimming nose clips are often attached to cords or strings so that they can be worn around the neck when not in use. They can be made from plastic or metal, and they may include padding to make the nose clip more comfortable for prolonged 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 are equipped with nose clips. The clip helps to keep the mask on the face, and ensures that it is positioned properly. Oxygen masks, surgical masks, and biohazard masks can all be secured with nose clips, classically using clips which are built into the mask, although it is also possible to buy nose clips independently. Without a clip, the mask might tend to slide down the face, potentially exposing the wearer of the mask to a pathogen or threatening the health of a vulnerable patient.
Keeping the nostrils closed may also be desirable for certain types of medical testing, especially pulmonary function testing, in which case a nose clip may be utilized to ensure that 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 testing which is used to assess lung function.