Catarrh is unpleasant congestion in the nasal passage with build up of mucus in the nose usually and in the ears, throat and chest. It is a disease of the nasal passages, the mucous membrane and specific cavities of the head that communicate with the nasal passages. In most people the flu or cold goes away and after a few days or so, they feel fine. However some people are left with the unpleasant nasal congestion, called Catarrh.
Catarrh is of two types, out of which one is excess mucus that is difficult to clear and the other is mucus running out of the nose in excessive amounts. Polyps or fleshy swellings in the nose, some allergies and hay fever can also lead to Catarrh.
Different people are affected by Catarrh in different ways, which makes it difficult for doctors to conduct a diagnosis. Some people have a feeling of mucus at the back of the nose while others feel that phlegm has built up in the throat. Other people may feel the need to clear their throat often.
Symptoms of Catarrh include discomfort in the throat, red or swollen edges of the nose, irritation and sensitiveness in the nose, frequent sneezes, blowing the nose without any effect, a feeling that something is stuck constantly in the throat, crackling kind of noise in the ears, a sick feeling or persistent cough. Some people may have sinuses and blocked nose. The sense of taste and smell also may be affected. In the case of chronic Catarrh the person may suffer from the illness for years together and when they have flu or cold, it only worsens.
To treat Catarrh, there is no single treatment. Different approaches suit different people. For some people the nasal or mouth spray is effective, while over the counter decongestant products prove helpful in relieving Catarrh symptoms for others. Some people avoid clearing the throat often, while others find salt water nasal rinses very helpful to ease symptoms. Inhaling steam from a bowl of water in which eucalyptus oil or menthol crystals are added, brings relief in some people. Due to risk of scalding, steaming is not recommended for children. To pinpoint specific triggers causing Catarrh, the doctor may advise allergy testing or CT scan.