Germs are dealt with in a different way

Germs are dealt with in a different way. The respiratory passages are lined with a delicate mucous membrane on which innumerable hair-like projections or cilia are present. There are also numerous small glands that produce a thin film of sticky mucus on which dust particles and germs will lodge. This mucous film or “blanket” is constantly moved by the cilia, or hair-like projections, toward the back of the throat so that a new mucous blanket is formed very fifteen minutes. The old one passes down into the throat and stomach where the hydrochloric acid quickly destroys any germs that may be present.

This constant, self-changing mucous blanket is very important to our health. If the underlying mucous membranes become irritated, the glands work overtime to protect the cells, increasing the production of mucous and flooding the nasal passages. When this happens it may be difficult for us to breathe. This frequently happens in colds and hay fever.

Many people are allergic to various forms of pollen, dust, powders, or perfumes, not to mention that plague of modern cities known as smog! But one of the most frequent offenders is tobacco. Any person who smokes heavily is likely to cough, because the smoke from the burning tobacco irritates the membranes of the nose and throat. This is so-called “smoker’s cough.” Nature is trying to protect these sensitive membranes from irritation and injury. Even though there may be no cough, the mucous membranes are often greatly irritated.

Something similar happens in other types of allergy. Hay fever is very common at certain times of the year. In the spring the trouble may be due to various forms of fun floating in the air. In summer it may be pollen or dust.

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