Catarrh involves the accumulation of mucus within the airway or body cavity. It typically affects the rear part of the nose, throat or sinuses. The condition is usually brief but some can suffer from it for months or even years.
Catarrh can be considered as a nuisance and might be hard to get rid of, but it is not harmful and there are various treatment options available.
What are the associated symptoms?
It is important to note that catarrh can lead to the following:
- Consistent urge to clear the throat
- Feeling that the throat is blocked
- Runny nose
- Persistent cough
- Facial pain or headache
- Sensation of mucus flowing down the back of the throat
- Diminished sense of taste and smell
- Crackling sensation in the ear and brief hearing loss
These issues can be frustrating and even disrupt with sleep that can make the individual tired.
Catarrh often passes in a few days or weeks as the condition responsible for it settles. There are also measures that can be done at home to alleviate the symptoms such as:
- Avoidance of triggers such as allergens or smoky environments
- Take small sips of cold water if there is a need to clear the throat
- A saline nasal rinse can be used several times throughout the day
- Avoid dry, warm atmospheres such as areas with an air conditioning unit and heating systems in vehicles
- Keep the body well-hydrated
- A doctor can be consulted regarding over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines, decongestants or steroid nasal sprays.
When to consult a doctor
A doctor should be consulted if catarrh persists and affects the quality of life drastically. The doctor might want to rule out conditions responsible for it such as allergies or nasal polyps.
If diagnosed with a specific underlying condition, proper treatment might help alleviate catarrh. If the exact cause could not be determined, self-care measures are usually recommended. It is sad to note though that a chronic case might be difficult to treat and persist for a long time.
What are the possible causes?
Catarrh is usually triggered by a reaction of the immune system to an infection or an irritation where the coating of the nose and throat are inflamed and produce more mucus. The condition can be triggered by the following:
- Cold or other infections
- Hay fever or other types of allergic rhinitis
- Nasal polyps
- Non-allergic rhinitis
When it comes to the chronic cases, it is not believed to be the result of an infection or allergy. It might be linked to an irregularity on how the mucus moves inside the nose or an augmented sensitivity to the presence of mucus in the rear part of the nose and throat.