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Word of the week: Rhinorrhea

Written by Science

The leaves turn brown, the frost creeps in, the tissues come out. It’s the time of Rhinorrhea; or the runny nose.

This symptom of allergies and common colds triggered by the immune response results in excessive discharge of mucus from nasal mucous membranes lining the insides of noses everywhere.

Cold weather means the tiny hairs, cilia, that help to push mucus towards the back of your throat become lethargic and sluggish, so mucus drips down your nose. Before, fingers crossed, you wipe it away with a tissue. 

Credit: Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash.

As you sniffle this winter, you may wonder: is there a point to all this mucus anyway?

But it really is rather important. It ensures that your nasal cavity and other airways are kept moist for efficient airflow, and it prevents dust and other small particles entering your lungs, acting as a sticky surface you eventually swallow.

So, maybe this winter when you sense an oncoming cold, you won’t think too harshly of your hooter; it really is only trying its best and that’s all we can ask. 

Featured Image: LoggaWiggler via Pixabay

Last modified: 15th October 2020

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