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Author Topic: What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?  (Read 47717 times)

Offline DoctorBeaver

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I've got a bit of a cold at the moment. To start with, my nose was blocked, now it's streaming like a streaming thing that's in a particularly streamy mood. I got through almost a whole box of mansize (beaversize) Kleenex overnight.

When it was blocked & I blew my nose, it would be clear for only a few seconds then there'd be a sort-of crackly popping nose up my nose & it would be blocked solid again.

So, how does all that snot get in my nose? I believe it's the result of my body trying to kick out the infection; but how does it actually get there? Are there secretion glands in the sinus cavities or what? And how come my nose blocked up again so quickly after I'd blown it?
« Last Edit: 23/07/2007 18:00:32 by chris »


 

Offline dentstudent

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Re: What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #1 on: 18/07/2007 13:35:56 »
Aren't your (ones) sinus cavities pretty big? Hospitals seem to be able to stuff a factory load of wadding up there, and so if it's full of snot, it snot surprising that just as you clear a bit, more comes down. The mucus membrane is going into anti-irritant overdrive (not 'alf mate! You ain't seen nothin' yet!) and so is producing a prodigious amount. If you could find a market for it, we'd be millionaires! Rodney.....
Some sort of industrial lubricant?
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #2 on: 18/07/2007 15:25:15 »
So is it the moo cow's membrane that produces it?
 

Offline dentstudent

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Re: What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #3 on: 18/07/2007 16:07:14 »
Sorry, that should be "mucous" membrane.

It would seem so...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mucous_membrane

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasal_mucus#Nasal_mucus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhinorrhea

and I can't believe I missed the opportunity of "an olfactory load of wadding....."

 

paul.fr

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Re: What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #4 on: 18/07/2007 18:51:19 »
Quote

It's not what you think, says Professor Gary Meadows. Get it? It snot what you think?

        Anyway, Professor Meadows is an immunologist at Washington State University. That means he looks at what could make you sick and how your body protects itself. So as you'll see, he's kind of a snot expert!
        "The drainage from your nose," says Professor Meadows, "is largely made up of mucous and fluid."
        MEW-KUSS?
        The internal portion of your nose is lined with something called a mucous membrane, same as the inside of your stomach. In the stomach, mucous defends you against yourself. Its slimy, lubricating coating guards the lining of your stomach against the hydrochloric acid that helps digest your food.
        But maybe that's a subject for another day.




Professor Meadows helps me understand
how the body protects itself.



Multi-purpose mucous
        In the nose, mucous has two roles. Along with tiny hair-like projections called cilia (SILLY-UH), it traps dust, bacteria, and other small particles breathed in with air. Working together as a filtering team, they make the air easier to breathe, cleaner and more free of such harmful things as bacteria.
        But mucous also lubricates and protects the nose. So it's pretty complicated stuff.
        Basically, it's a mixture of water and the particles that it and the cilia filter out. It also includes shed epithelial (EH-PI-THEEL-EE-AL) cells, dead leukocytes (LOO-KUH-SITES), dead bacteria and their products, mucin (MEW-SUN), and inorganic salts.
        Epithelial cells line all the inside surfaces of your body, including your nose. They die and are shed much like the skin that peels off in the shower when you have a sunburn. Mucous acts like a shower in your nose, washing away the elderly cells.
        White blood cells, or leukocytes, are soldiers in the war on bacteria and other foreign material in your nose. Leukocytes protect your nose (and your body) by swallowing all that bad stuff. Then they die and are washed out in mucous.
        Mucin is a sugar made by the mucous membrane that lines your nose. It is one of the products that helps moisten, lubricate, and protect the inside of the nasal passage.
        The inorganic salts are materials breathed in that can harden.
        In other words (and I really can't think of a polite way to say it), that's what boogers are.

Why are little kids always snotty-nosed?
        Some doctors estimate that young children get an average of twelve colds a year. That's a lot of Kleenex--and a lot of snot. One possible reason why some children produce so much snot is because they haven't learned how to blow their noses yet. Seems simple, but did you know that many children by kindergarten age are unable to suck from a straw? Both blowing your nose and sucking through a straw involve control of nasal breathing, and as with many activities, some children learn faster than others.
        Another reason is that young children get sick easier because they can't fight off infection as well. For each of those twelve colds, figure two weeks of mucous. Then add the mucous caused by hay fever and other allergies--and that's a pretty snotty year!

And remember, healthier kids are those that eat their own snot. yummy
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #5 on: 18/07/2007 19:36:58 »

and I can't believe I missed the opportunity of "an olfactory load of wadding....."



 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #6 on: 18/07/2007 20:27:29 »
Most of the trouble you have breathing through your nose when you have a cold isn't because the hole is bunged up with snot. It's because the lining of the nose is swolen and so the hole is smaller.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #7 on: 18/07/2007 20:30:22 »
Most of the trouble you have breathing through your nose when you have a cold isn't because the hole is bunged up with snot. It's because the lining of the nose is swolen and so the hole is smaller.
  [:0]
 

Offline neilep

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Re: What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #8 on: 18/07/2007 21:13:43 »
First of all..me wishes ewe better Mr Beaver Sir.

Contrary to popular myths...a dripping wet beaver can be quite infuriating !  ;)

This is clearly a consequence of the Snot Fairies paying a visit to your Olfactory Sinus system.

They seek out poorly individuals with colds in an attempt to appease the 'Cold Dragon'.......The crackly Popping ewe describe is in fact the little darlings attempting to allure the ' Cold Dragon ' down your nasal nostrils tunnels by using little Castanets..it is most captivating !!

....The streaming that ewe experience is the result of the fairies wings spreading ' Snot Heat ' and causing a flow !!..despite contradictions in debate and minor scuffles it is now generally accepted that 'Cold Dragons' find it almost irresistible to withhold from sliding down the 'Nasal Snot Slide ' and thereby as a consequence ewe are released from your cold.

This is all true !!

Glad I could help !!
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #9 on: 18/07/2007 21:18:59 »
 

Offline neilep

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Re: What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #10 on: 18/07/2007 22:06:42 »
I know !!..it's obvious now isn't it ?
 

Offline Carolyn

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Re: What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #11 on: 18/07/2007 22:21:22 »
First of all..me wishes ewe better Mr Beaver Sir.

Contrary to popular myths...a dripping wet beaver can be quite infuriating !  ;)

This is clearly a consequence of the Snot Fairies paying a visit to your Olfactory Sinus system.

They seek out poorly individuals with colds in an attempt to appease the 'Cold Dragon'.......The crackly Popping ewe describe is in fact the little darlings attempting to allure the ' Cold Dragon ' down your nasal nostrils tunnels by using little Castanets..it is most captivating !!

....The streaming that ewe experience is the result of the fairies wings spreading ' Snot Heat ' and causing a flow !!..despite contradictions in debate and minor scuffles it is now generally accepted that 'Cold Dragons' find it almost irresistible to withhold from sliding down the 'Nasal Snot Slide ' and thereby as a consequence ewe are released from your cold.

This is all true !!

Glad I could help !!

*smacks forhead*  LOL....glad to see that your absence hasn't changed in the slightest!  You're still as warped as ever!  YAYYYY!!!!! ;D
 

Offline neilep

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Re: What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #12 on: 19/07/2007 11:19:03 »
I don't understand Carolyn.....this is all true !!
 

Offline Carolyn

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Re: What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #13 on: 19/07/2007 14:35:25 »
 ;)
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #14 on: 19/07/2007 18:35:56 »
I don't understand Carolyn.....this is all true !!

 

Offline chris

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Re: What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #15 on: 23/07/2007 17:59:19 »
Snot, otherwise known as mucus, is a mixture of water and proteins (mainly mucin) secreted by specialised cells which line the airways. There is always a basal level of mucus production to coat the epithelial (surface) layer since the mucus acts as a dust and bug trap. As air is breathed in the anatomy of the respiratory tree causes the air to spin, rather like a Dyson vacuum cleaner. This flings inhaled particles, including bacteria, fungi and viruses, into the mucus, which is then swept out and into the throat for swallowing (or into the nose for blowing or picking (which inevitably also involves swallowing). Once swallowed any infectious particles enter the stomach where they are deactivated by the digestive juices.

Airway infections (usually referred to as URTIs - upper respiratory tract infections) are usually caused by viruses (over 80% of the time), which target the surface epithelium. They hijack cells and turn them into virus factories, which each churn out thousands of new viral particles.

This triggers a powerful immune response which, amongst other things, leads to the localised release of inflammatory chemicals. These open up blood vessels and also make them leaky, to help the immune system to access the infected area. This also has the side-effect of increasing the production of mucus and making the mucus much thinner (more watery) since this helps to flush out the offending viral particles.

The inflammatory response, together with the arrival of thousands of immune cells (lymphocytes) causes the linings of the respiratory tract to swell up, narrowing the airways and creating the sensation of a "blocked" nose. Decongestants help to combat this problem by using a mild adrenaline-like chemical (such as pseudoephedrine) to close up (constrict) blood vessels, reducing the amount of tissue fluid formed and therefore reducing the swelling. This opens up the airways, "unblocking" the nose.

So it's "snot" all down to mucus after all...
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #16 on: 23/07/2007 20:31:11 »
This triggers a powerful immune response which, amongst other things, leads to the localised release of inflammatory chemicals. These open up blood vessels and also make them leaky, to help the immune system to access the infected area. This also has the side-effect of increasing the production of mucus and making the mucus much thinner (more watery) since this helps to flush out the offending viral particles.

Is this why there is often blood on my hankie when I blow my nose when I have a cold?
 

Offline chris

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What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #17 on: 24/07/2007 08:49:29 »
To an extent, yes. The nose is lined with a very dense network of fragile blood vessels - this is why people use it as an effective way to take drugs (cocaine, snuff) because the drugs can access the bloodstream quickly.

But these vessels can be easily traumatised and the combination of inflammation and physical damage (both virus proliferation, sneezing and over-zealous nose-blowing) can rupture some of them, leading to localised bleeding from the mucosa.

Chris
 

Offline neilep

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What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #18 on: 24/07/2007 15:23:40 »
We all know that the doc really just luffs to stick ketchup up his nose !!


 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #19 on: 25/07/2007 18:13:05 »
To an extent, yes. The nose is lined with a very dense network of fragile blood vessels - this is why people use it as an effective way to take drugs (cocaine, snuff) because the drugs can access the bloodstream quickly.

But these vessels can be easily traumatised and the combination of inflammation and physical damage (both virus proliferation, sneezing and over-zealous nose-blowing) can rupture some of them, leading to localised bleeding from the mucosa.

Chris

So it could be the cocaine and not a cold causing it?  [:I]

We all know that the doc really just luffs to stick ketchup up his nose !!


Nah, I do a Marlon and have inch thick ketchup sandwiches!  :D
 

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What is "snot" (mucus) and where does it come from?
« Reply #19 on: 25/07/2007 18:13:05 »

 

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