Catarrh is a term that describes secretions that occur as a result of inflammation of mucous membranes. When catarrh is present, an infection is almost always the culprit. Colds, sinus infections and the flu can all cause catarrh. Treating catarrh requires that you treat the source of the infection to clear up the inflammation that is triggering your runny nose and postnasal drip.
Remedies for Catarrh
If you suspect you have catarrh, look for symptoms such as a runny nose, postnasal drip (this is a nasal discharge that goes down your throat), progressive nasal obstruction, inflamed mucous membranes and a cough that may or may not be productive. Nasal discharge may be watery and thin, or thick and stodgy. Inflamed and blocked mucous membranes and sinuses can also cause facial pain and headaches.
To treat catarrh, you need to determine its underlying cause. Catarrh is often caused by the common cold. Get plenty of rest and take physician-recommended antibiotics to knock out stubborn colds and get back on your feet. If catarrh is caused by the flu, you'll definitely want to see your doctor, so that he may determine what strain of the flu you have, and recommend an appropriate course of treatment.
Relieve the symptoms of catarrh using decongestant medications. These medicines can be purchased without a prescription, though more acute cases of catarrh may be alleviated with prescription-strength decongestants. Decongestants will provide relief within the same day, with nasal sprays working quicker. Oral decongestants may take longer to kick in, but their effect usually lasts a bit longer.
It's important not to take any type of decongestant for more than seven days, because they can actually aggravate and worsen symptoms. Use decongestants to provide short-term relief for the congestion, discharge and facial pain that catarrh causes.
You can also relieve the symptoms of catarrh using natural methods. The steam from a warm shower or bath can help to loosen and soften the mucus your nasal passages have accumulated. Humidifiers can also add mucus-softening steam to your immediate environment. Add eucalyptus oil or menthol crystals to a humidifier or bowl of steaming water to provide some added relief.