Catarrh is a mucus discharge or blockage caused by the swelling of the mucous membranes in the nasal and sinus passages. Catarrh is usually associated with the common cold. However, it can be a symptom of other diseases and infections such as sinus infection, tonsillitis, ear infections and adenoid infections. Catarrh also occurs with allergies.
There are early warning signs of catarrh that you can be aware of. If you have these symptoms, make sure you seek treatment as soon as you can. The sooner you treat the catarrh the better. Often you can stave off a more serious infection. Sometimes catarrh can be chronic, even occurring daily. When catarrh is chronic it may be associated with an allergy. Seasonal allergies to pollen and moulds account for some catarrh while year-round catarrh may be attributed to allergies to dust or animal dander.
Here are the 7 warning signs of catarrh.
1. Nasal discharge
A runny nose may be the first sign of catarrh. The nasal discharge may become thick as infection sets in. If it is clear, it may mean that the mucus is caused by an allergy. When the mucus is thick and green or yellow in color, it signals a possible infection such as sinusitis, rhinitis or bronchitis.
A post-nasal drip is mucus that drips into the throat instead of coming out of the nose. This may be because the nasal passages are stuffy or swollen. The mucus can collect in the throat, inducing a coughing reaction to remove the excess phlegm.
3. Sinus pain
When the sinus cavities are blocked with thick mucus, you may feel pain in the face, particularly in the sinus areas. The face may be painful to the touch, especially in certain spots, such as the cheeks.
4. Stuffy nose
Mucus may become thick and block the nasal passages making a stuffy nose. This is often the first symptom of the onset of a cold or allergy.
5. Sore throat
The throat may become sore due to thick mucus that flows into the throat.
6. Throat clearing
You may find yourself wanting to clear your throat often. This signals that mucus is dripping into your throat, also known as post-nasal drip.
7. Mouth breathing
You may be breathing through your mouth often, especially at night. This may be more noticeable with children who have catarrh.
There are at home remedies to treat catarrh. The best thing you can do is to try to keep the mucus thin by increasing humidity in the air. This can easily be done using a humidifier at home or in the office. Alternatively, you can boil some water and inhale the steam. When the sinuses are painful, apply a hot compress to the face, which will help loosen the thick mucus.
Catarrh may signal the beginning of more serious illnesses. These may include rhinitis, sinus infection and bronchitis. Take care to treat the symptoms of catarrh seriously. If your catarrh continues to worsen or is chronic, you should consult with your doctor.