December 22, 2006



As the dry season thicken in most west African countries, Catarrh and Catarrh related cases is on the increase, this article goes deeply into this common life threatening problem

What is catarrh?
Catarrh can be a frustrating condition, since it has no real definition. It seems to cover a whole spectrum of conditions, from rhinitis and nose allergy, to snoring, bad breath and tonsil problems. Modern day dictionaries generally describe it as: the feeling of an increase in production of mucous at the back of the nose. In non-medical terms it is usually synonymous with "postnasal drip", a runny nose or a congested throat. In a survey of patients and general practitioners, over 80% felt it was due to "frequently feeling the need to swallow nasal secretions".
symptoms associated with catarrh include: snoring, sleep apnoea, bad breath, tonsilloliths, sore throats, tonsillitis, dry cough, choking attacks, blocked nose, thick nose secretions, sneezing, allergy, rhinitis, headache, facial pain, loss of smell, nausea and lethargy.
How much of a problem does catarrh pose?
Catarrh can lead to a number of problems, for example:
the need to continually clear the throat
the feeling of a lump at the back of the tongue
dry tickly cough
post nasal drip
other throat symptoms, eg snoring, bad breath, tonsilloliths, sore throats
If untreated, catarrh can persist for many years, and may be the cause of considerable distress, both to the sufferer and those around them.

How common is catarrh
Catarrh is a common problem, affecting around 20% of the population.
Catarrh seems to be most marked in the 40 – 59 year old age group, with an incidence of around 15% of the general population, male and female. If the other associated symptoms are included, then the incidence of catarrhal symptoms in the adult population is over 50%. There is some evidence to suggest that these symptoms are predominantly conditions associated with polluted areas, with dust being one of the exacerbating factors. Also, a lifestyle associated with stress, processed food, an overweight population, alcohol etc., exposure to infections through living in a close society and an indoor lifestyle are also linked to catarrhal symptoms.

The treatment of catarrh is directed to its cause, which may range from nasal allergy, to acid regurgitation from the stomach into the throat

Adapted from NHS