Catarrh is the build-up of mucus in the airway or cavity of the body. Generally, it affects the rear of the nose, sinuses or the throat. In most cases, it is typically brief but some experience it for months or even years.
The condition can be a nuisance and hard to get rid, but it is not detrimental and there are various treatment options available.
What are the possible causes?
It is important to note that catarrh is typically triggered by a response of the immune system to an infection or irritation. As a result, there is swelling of lining of the nose and increasing production of mucus.
In most cases, the triggers include the following:
- Hay fever
- Common cold or other infections
- Nasal polyps
- Non-allergic rhinitis
The root cause for chronic catarrh remains uncertain but it might be due to an infection or allergy.
It might also have a link to an irregularity in how the mucus moves inside the nose or an amplification in the sensitivity to the mucus in the rear part of the nose and throat.
What are the associated symptoms?
If an individual has catarrh, it can trigger the following:
- Constant urge to clear the throat
- Sensation that the throat is blocked
- Runny nose
- Stuffed or blocked nose that could not be cleared
- Sensation of mucus flowing down the back part of the throat
- Headache or facial pain
- Continuous cough
- Diminished sense of taste and smell
- Crackling sensation in the ear and brief hearing loss
Consequently, these symptoms can be frustrating and can even disrupt sleep and result to fatigue.
Management of catarrh
It is important to note that catarrh often settles in a few days or weeks once the condition responsible for it improves.
Some of the measures that can help alleviate the symptoms include:
- Avoiding the potential triggers of the symptoms such as allergens or cloudy areas.
- Encourage the individual to take sips of cool water if he/she feels the urge to clear the throat
- Use a saline nasal rinse a number of times throughout the day
- Avoid dry, warm environments such as areas with air conditioning as well as vehicle heating systems
- Keep the body properly hydrated
- Over-the-counter remedies can be used such as antihistamines, decongestants or steroid nasal sprays