Catarrh is an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nasal cavity with excessive discharge or accumulation of mucus in the nose and other cavities of the head communicating with throat and paranasal sinuses.
In the first stage, the symptoms are invisible and neglected. The symptoms of catarrh are mostly temporary and go away within a few days. Sometimes, the disease may progress, take a chronic form, becomes a nuisance, difficult to get rid of, ergo called chronic catarrh.
In the long run, the annoyance with catarrh becomes frustrating. It can result in the formation of a thick exudate-phlegm, with irritation, increased sensitiveness, and pain whic are experienced in the nose rendering respiration. Sometimes the exudate is in the form of clear watery fluid oftener, which may become profuse, yellowish, thick and very offensive matter later. With the progress of the disease, the purulent secretion increases in quantity and adopts a remarkably fetid odor. It escapes through the nose and passes into the throat, which produces irritation. The accumulation of thick phlegm in the cavities makes the respiration difficult and impossible. Therefore, a frequent expectoration, hawking or scraping for its removal becomes obligatory. The chronic affects your smell, taste, hearing, sight, sleep and makes you feel tired all the time. It is apt in its progress and creates serious constitutional derangements. You may feel symptoms such as:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- A constant need to clear the blocked nose and throat
- A feeling of mucus running down the back the throat
- Persistent cough
- Facial pain associated with catarrh
- Reduced sense of smell and taste
- Crackling sensation in your ear
- Temporary hearing loss
Catarrh is a reaction of the bodily defense system- ‘the immune system’ to an infection or irritant.
During an active infection, the white blood cells get to the source of infection and release molecules that limit the cause of infection, ultimately causing the mucous membrane to swell and produce mucus. The swelling causes the nasal pathways to narrow down and further results in congestion.
Catarrh may also be related to an abnormality in the nasal passage or due to increased sensitivity in cavities of nose and throat.
The symptoms of catarrh are mostly associated with:
- Common cold and chesty coughs
- Allergic rhinitis which is also called as hay fever
- Non-allergic rhinitis
- Nasal polyps
- Otitis media
- Sinusitis or tonsillitis
Treatment: The symptoms are often temporary and subside on their own. But you can still take precautions such as,
- Avoid anything that might trigger the symptoms, cigarette smoking, perfume or dust, allergens.
- Avoid drinking very cold water
- Do not always clear your nose and throat, it may worsen the situation.
- Use a saline nasal rinse twice/thrice daily – it can be prepared at home or bought from a pharmacy
- Avoid warm, places such as places with dry air, air conditioning and car heating systems.
- Stay hydrated
If the symptoms of catarrh persist and become unmanageable consult a general physician for advice.
Homeopathic treatment: Kali muriaticum 3X, a biochemic tablet for cough, cold and catarrh. It can treat stuffy nose with headaches, cold and watery discharge from the nose. It can be used in cases where a person has difficulty digesting fat rich food. It can be also used in cases of eczema.