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Medical Mucus in the nose and sinuses

  1. Apr 16, 2008 #1
    Ok, this is not necessarily a pleasant topic, but I need to know:
    where does ALL that snot come from when we get a cold? Im currently suffering one, and I feel like I could fill a bath tub with the amount of boogies that have come out of my nose. Where does it all come from? And it just keeps coming! I feel like Ive finally cleared my sinuses and not a moment later Im back to the sneezes. If my body just keeps on making all this snot, where is it doing so, and why? Also, whats it made of?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2008 #2
    Liquified brains. Stop blowing!!
     
  4. Apr 16, 2008 #3

    wolram

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    It is all your mucous membranes and lungs liquefying, plus all the dead germs.
     
  5. Apr 16, 2008 #4
    that would explain the headache..
     
  6. Apr 16, 2008 #5

    lisab

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    I've often wondered this myself. One cold I had, I swear every two hours I was producing the same volume as my little head, filling up Kleenexes!

    Sudafed works great, BTW, and it doesn't make you drowsy.
     
  7. Apr 16, 2008 #6
    My lungs? Wouldnt that make me dead?
     
  8. Apr 16, 2008 #7
    codeine suppresses a cough, so I keep taking that (otherwise my head explodes) but Im hesitant to take anything with it
     
  9. Apr 16, 2008 #8
    Id really like to know where the stuff is made, why and what of though, maybe I should try posting this question in the "Biology area"?
     
  10. Apr 16, 2008 #9

    lisab

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    I'm pretty sure it is secreted from the mucous membranes that line your nose (and I think the nasal cavity).
     
  11. Apr 16, 2008 #10
    that makes sense, but then why does it keep making more even when it feels like its soooo full and has to sneeze and sneeze to get it out?
     
  12. Apr 16, 2008 #11

    lisab

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    You got me there. It does seem like overkill, doesn't it?

    Hope you feel better soon!
     
  13. Apr 16, 2008 #12
    You make about a quart of snot daily, if your healthy. If you have a cold it can jump to 2 quarts.
    Basically, snot is a mixture of water and the particles that it and the cilia filter out. It also includes shed epithelial cells, dead leukocytes, dead bacteria and their products, mucin, and inorganic salts.
     
  14. Apr 16, 2008 #13
    cool! so if its full of dead leukocytes etc, is it safe to assume that my body is trying to flush out whatever irritating virus I have picked up?
     
  15. Apr 16, 2008 #14
    This is sketchy, an expert should criticize it.

    The cells in your nose react to cold germs by creating histamine. Histamine reduces the irritation due to the germs but also triggers mucus production. Histamine is also what makes the inside of your nasal passage feel stuffed. Your body also produces histamine around a mosquito bite and that's what makes the puffy bump. Antihistamine reduces the histamine and the mucus production, i.e. the symptoms of a cold, but in my opinion it interferes with your body's program for fighting the cold.
     
  16. Apr 16, 2008 #15

    DaveC426913

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    Yes, in addition to the mucous, your tissues are swelling with fluid, which contributes to the stuffiness.

    Well, the body sort of overreacts. All that mucous is not really doing a lot of extra good. And, arguably, it is interfering with the one thing that will help you get better: resting and a good solid sleep.
     
  17. Apr 16, 2008 #16

    Moonbear

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    Here's a nice illustration of how extensive your sinuses are. http://www.ghorayeb.com/AnatomySinuses.html

    The ones that often are the site of sinus infections and that horrid stuffy feeling is the maxillary sinus (the one that's tucked behind your cheekbone). It has this wonderfully constructed anatomy where the opening of the sinus that allows it to drain is fairly close to the TOP of the sinus cavity, which means it is really hard to get anything out once it gets in. That's why the only way to get stuff out of them during a sinus infection (short of medical intervention) is to lie on your side trying to basically tilt your head to drain one side, then turn over and drain the other side, etc.

    Those turbinates (or concha) in the pictures are big tubes that fill up with mucus too.
     
  18. Apr 16, 2008 #17

    Tsu

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    Polypeptide chains?? :biggrin:
     
  19. Apr 16, 2008 #18

    Tsu

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    from Wiki:

    Mucus is produced by goblet cells in the mucous membranes that cover the surfaces of the membranes. It is made up of mucins and inorganic salts suspended in water. Phlegm is a type of mucus that is restricted to the respiratory tract, while the term mucus refers to secretions of the nasal passages as well.
     
  20. Apr 16, 2008 #19
    this is great guys, thanks. The sinus anatomy is really neat. I have a huge text on anatomy but it doesnt go into sinuses. Im curious how antihistamines can keep me from recovering? As it is Im not taking anything for it. I was taking 222's with codeine when my cough was bad, but thats not a problem any more.
     
  21. Apr 16, 2008 #20

    DaveC426913

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    Why are the Eustacian tubes up in the nasal cavity? I thought the Eustacian tubes were those pockets behind your molars.
     
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