There are some things in life that just can’t be avoided, like taxes, death, and getting a case of the sniffles and coughs at least once a year. It’s happened to all of us, and while it’s not usually that much of a bother, it’s still very annoying. In fact, if given a chance, we’d all probably want an uhog-free existence.
For this issue of the FHM Kadiri Files, we’re going to talk about your phlegm and sipon, and why the stuff it’s made up of is an essential part of our system. Read on to know more about your mucus, gentlemen!
WHY MUCUS MATTERS
Your respiratory tract, which includes your throat, nose, lungs, and sinuses, secretes that sticky substance called mucus for a good cause. It serves as a lubricant for those body parts and prevents them from drying up and cracking. It’s also an antibody-packed trap for the bad bacteria that enter your airways. Awesome, right?
WHAT IT'S MADE OF
We usually don’t notice the globs of mucus floating around our systems, so when it makes its presence known by getting thicker, you know there’s something wrong with your nasal area. Imagine your mucus mixing with germs, dead cells, and other bodily trash to form a thick goo.
How we call this new stuff depends on where it’s coming from: if it’s from your nose, it’s snot (sipon), and we’re all familiar with its drier version, the booger. On the other hand, if it’s in your throat, it’s phlegm. Spat-out phlegm is called sputum—betcha didn’t know that before, huh?
GIF via Singing Astrologer
It doesn’t take much for your body to start producing snot and phlegm. Vocal abuse, asthma, allergies, smoking, too-sweet or too-spicy food—all these are usual uhog triggers. In addition, your runny nose and sore throat can also be a symptom of a more terrible infection like pneumonia or bronchitis.
ON COLD WEATHER AND RUNNY NOSES
Don’t start overdosing on meds if you get the sniffles during a very cold day. Your immune system is still working perfectly fine.
You see, when the weather’s extra low, the cells in your nasal cavities that are responsible for holding your mucus in become too lazy to work, just like when we don’t want to leave our beds when the temperature’s a cozy 20 degrees. Mucus also thickens in cold weather, resulting in extra-stubborn snot that seems unwilling to leave your nose. That’s why it’s easier to blow your nose in a warm room than in a cold place.
WHY DO WE GET SNIFFLES WHEN WE CRY?
GIF via momochanners
Your tears, which come out of the tear glands under your eyelids, are drained through tear ducts, located in the inner corners of your eyes, which drain into your nose. Basically, your cry-induced snot isn’t really snot, but tears running down inside your nostrils. The tears also pick up the mucus in your nose along the way, giving you that snotty feeling.
The next time you blow your nose or hack out phlegm from your throat, check its color. If it’s clear, then you’re pretty normal and you’ve usually got nothing to fear. If it’s white, then your airways are probably a bit congested.
Yellow or green mucus often means that your immune system is waging a war against an infection. Visit the doctor if it’s the same color for more than two weeks and if you get other symptoms like nausea and fever.
GIF via Giphy.com
If your uhog is pink or red, there’s blood in there. Often it’s just a case of broken blood vessels in your nose, but it can also be a symptom of something way more stressful to deal with, like tuberculosis. If your snot’s brown, it could be something you inhaled or ingested (yuck!). And finally, if it’s black, it means you’re smoking, taking illegal drugs, or you might be suffering from a really bad fungal infection. See a doctor, STAT!
WHAT MEDICINE SHOULD I TAKE?
Before you head to a drugstore, you should first check the mucus you’re producing before buying anything. If the stuff’s in your throat, get an expectorant. If you can’t breathe through your nose because snot is clogging it up, look for a decongestant. If your runny nose feels itchy and sneezy, take an antihistamine. Or if you don't trust us, just go see a doctor!
TO SPIT OR TO SWALLOW (YOUR PHLEGM, THAT IS)
GIF via Gifsoup.com
While spitting or blowing out your phlegm feels better, there’s also nothing wrong with swallowing it. Your stomach knows how to neutralize the germs in your phlegm, so it’s a-ok. If you do choose to blast your uhog out of your system, do so responsibly: throw your sipon-filled tissues in the trash can, and don’t just spit anywhere. #PleaseLang
CAN CERTAIN FOODS AFFECT YOUR MUCUS?
While what you eat normally isn't seen as a big factor for phlegm production, excess or thicker mucus can be triggered by certain foods. Dairy products are one common culprit, as well as oily dishes. You could also give yourself a phlegm-filled throat if you keep plying yourself with sweets and ice-cold drinks. Too-spicy food can also get your nose running. One common cause behind this is allergies: Some people are allergic to the aforementioned food types hence the tendency to produce more mucus within their bodies when they eat them.
DEALING WITH EXCESSIVE MUCUS
GIF via Imgur.com
When your nose and/or throat are getting unusually-high amounts of mucus (which then leads to you feeling worse), or if you just want to keep your airways clean and unclogged, there are several easy things that you can do like...
1) Boosting your immune system
Especially when it’s flu season. Take Vitamin C religiously, eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and pig out on antioxidant-rich food.
A Hexetidine solution like Bactidol can help flush away the stubborn phlegm lodged inside your neck. Do it at least twice a day to stop sore throat in its tracks.
3) Steam up and get warm
It’s best to keep yourself warm when your nose feels extra clogged. Use a facial steamer, breathe through a warm bimpo, or take a hot bath—the resulting increase in temperature helps dislodge the mucus that's weighing your throat down.
4) Don’t smoke
If your airways are blocked, the last thing you should do is to obstruct them further by smoking. Stay away, even just for a few days. Trust us, you won’t die!
5) Get hydrated
H2O should be your best friend when you have a bad cold. Chug water and other fluids as often as possible, and avoid coffee, tea, and alcohol since these can actually make you lose more fluids.
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