October 7, 2015
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Chronic Rhinitis and Post-Nasal Drip

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Chronic rhinitis and post-nasal drip facts

  • The nose functions to warm, clean, and humidify air as well as playing a role in the sensations of smell and taste.
  • Rhinitis (inflammation of the nose) may or may not be caused by allergies.
  • Certain conditions alter the production, character, and clearance of nasal secretions.
  • Treatment of chronic rhinitis and post-nasal drip depends on the underlying cause.

What is the purpose of the nose?

The purpose of the nose is to warm, clean, and humidify the air you breathe, help you to smell, and for taste enhancement. A normal person will produce about two quarts of fluid each day (mucus), which aids in keeping the respiratory tract clean and moist. Tiny microscopic hairs (cilia) line the surfaces of the nasal cavity, helping to brush away particles. Eventually the mucus blanket is moved to the back of the throat where it is unconsciously swallowed. This entire process is closely regulated by several body systems.

The nose is separated into two passageways (left and right nostrils) by a structure called the septum. Protruding into each breathing passage are bony projections, called turbinates, which help to increase the surface area of the inside of the nose. There are three turbinates on each side of the nose (inferior or lower turbinates, middle turbinates, superior or upper turbinates). The sinuses are two pairs of air-filled chambers which empty into the nasal cavity. Their purpose is not really known, but may help to reduce the weight of the skull, enhance lung function by producing nitric oxide, and contribute to voice character.

Picture of the Sinuses
Picture of the Sinuses
Detailed Picture of the Sinuses
Detailed Picture of the Sinuses
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/26/2015

Source: MedicineNet.com

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