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Role of Mucus: Do We Need to Get Rid of It?
Every year, the winter season brings along its fair share of colds and other respiratory problems.
- Mucus is produced in our bodies at all times and its main role is to protect us from invaders.
- You want to let mucus do its job. Only dry it up at night.
Much of us point the finger at mucus as the source of our misery so learning how to get rid of mucus becomes a very important issue. First though, you need to understand the role of mucus in your overall health and what steps you should be taking to improve your symptoms.
The Basics of Mucus
Although we tend to think of mucus as a product of our noses and sinuses, the reality is that mucus is being produced all over our bodies at all times. Its actually produced by specific cells which appear in the nose, the intestines, and other parts of the body. Most of us find mucus pretty disgusting because of its thick consistency which happens to be a result of its ingredients: a combination of mucin (a type of sugary protein), water, and salt.
The main role of mucus is to protect our bodies from invaders. That thickness traps foreign particles from getting into our systems. The cilia help keep mucus moving around our tissue as well so that none of our systems dry out. Any type of irritant we might breathe in is also trapped by the mucus in our noses and is prevented from moving any further. Additionally, mucus adds in swallowing and digesting.
Problems with Mucus Production
On average, our bodies produce about a quart of mucus. That sounds like a lot but most of it goes unnoticed because it ends up being swallowed. Most people only really think about mucus when they have colds and that’s because the infection causing the illness has stimulated an increase in mucus production.
Remember that mucus is meant to keep out invaders like cold viruses so when something gets by its defenses it takes immediate action. Production of mucus goes up in order to catch the virus and to remove it from the body through coughing and sneezing. The body’s goal becomes not allowing the virus to reach the lungs where it could become a more serious health problem.
Unfortunately, the efforts of mucus don’t always make us happy. Stuffy nose, frequent fits of coughing, and congested sinuses are common effects of mucus overproduction.
How to Get Rid of Mucus
Now that you understand more about mucus and its role in illness you might also decide that you don’t want to eliminate it from your body. Remember it is working hard to protect your health not to make you feel miserable, although that is what happens.
If you do want to get rid of excess mucus, do so only at night so that you can some sleep. Drying up the nasal passages or stopping your cough may seem like great ways to feel better but they only prolong your illness. You want to let the mucus do its job. At night, you do need plenty of sleep to help your immune system stay strong so consider taking some medications that will provide you with some relief from the side effects of mucus.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Respiratory Problems17 Dec 2008|