Post nasal drip
Post nasal drip refers to an accumulation of mucus in the back of the nose and throat. Normally the nasal secretions flow down the throat without us even realizing it. Conditions such as allergic rhinitis or pollution or infection cause the secretions to thicken and this obstructs normal clearing of the mucus from the nose and throat. Often some medications or hormonal changes can lead to increased nasal secretions. In some cases, structural abnormalities such as irregular nasal septum can lead to increased secretions triggering off post nasal drip. Sinus infections or allergy to certain foods can lead to post nasal drip. It gives a feeling of blocking or accumulating in the back of the throat. The Post nasal drip often leads to sore throat. This condition is often noticed with many respiratory diseases.
A detailed examination of the nose, ear and throat is necessary to treat post nasal drip. If there is any bacterial infection, suitable antibiotics will be prescribed. Antihistamines and decongestants help in relief from the symptoms of post nasal drip. Nasal irrigation can alleviate thickened secretions. When warm water and salt is used to moisten the nose with a nasal douche device or irrigation nozzle, the patient may notice improvement in post nasal drip. Warm compress on the nose and above the eyes can give relief and restore nasal secretions to earlier consistency. Steroid sprays may be prescribed for short-term use. Oral or injectable steroids are used to treat post nasal drip.
When the pharynx is inflamed, it is referred to as a sore throat or Pharyngitis. This condition is a common occurrence when there is any viral upper respiratory infection. In severe cases, Pharyngitis can also be indicative of diphtheria, gonorrhea or HIV. Pharyngitis is usually caused by micro organisms such as Streptococcus, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae cause bacterial pharyngitis. This condition is contagious and is usually noticed in the winter months. Allergies, exposure to smoke and pollutants can cause sore throat and pharyngitis due to postnasal drip. If left untreated, pharyngitis can lead to rheumatic fever, scarlet fever, tonsillitis or pneumonia.
A person suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection such as pharyngitis will have sore throat and difficulty in swallowing. Accompanying fever, headache and swollen lymph nodes in the neck will also be noticed. Other symptoms of pharyngitis include cough, swollen tonsils and post nasal drip. There may be headache and earache. A physician will check the patient's eyes, throat and lymph nodes in the neck. A throat swab culture is done to diagnose the cause of infection. Bacterial infection or strep throat is treated with suitable antibiotics.
Rhinitis occurs when there is inflammation of the inner lining of the nose. Allergic Rhinitis is a condition where there is hypersensitivity by the immune system to allergens. Allergic rhinitis is triggered when the body responds to allergens by producing antibodies. Histamines are released into the bloodstream leading to allergic symptoms. Allergic rhinitis is a common upper respiratory infection that affects nearly a fifth of the population. Allergic rhinitis is often associated with severe asthma, otitis media and sinusitis. This manifests in symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion, stuffy nose and itchy eyes. Some persons suffering from allergic rhinitis may experience frequent headaches and difficulty in hearing and smelling. This condition can bring on fatigue, sleep disorders and drowsiness.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis is also known as hay fever and is noticed during autumn. On the other hand perennial allergic rhinitis is a condition where the patient suffers rhinitis symptoms due to exposure to pet hair, carpeting, upholstery or air pollution. Patients suffering from perennial allergenic rhinitis tend to notice the symptoms irrespective of the season. Some of the common allergens are pollen, mold, animal dander, feathers, dust and grass. The symptoms are usually noticed more in winter. Certain foods and spices might increase nasal secretions associated with allergenic rhinitis. Stress and gastroesophageal reflux can trigger the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. There is post nasal drip and cough and may be accompanied by loss of smell.
Antihistamines are prescribed to block the action of the histamines created by allergy. But antihistamines tend to cause drowsiness. Decongestants can help in alleviating the symptoms of allergic rhinitis such as stuffy nose. Decongestants must be used with care on those suffering from , thyroid problems and heart conditions. Corticosteroids are useful in treating allergic rhinitis since they reduce the reaction by the body to the histamines. Steroid nasal sprays can help reduce nasal inflammation and allergy. Mucus thinning agents are prescribed for patients suffering from allergic rhinitis to make the nasal secretions less sticky so that they do not coagulate at the back of the nose and throat.
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: February 2, 2023