Everyone first thinks of smelling the word nose. But that's not the only function of the nose. As a purifier of the body, it does a great deal more. Every cell of our body needs oxygen. As the air is inhaled, oxygen molecules pass through the upper airways - nasal cavity and pharynx - into the trachea and eventually into the bronchi. Here is the actual breathing, the gas exchange, instead.
First stop: the nose
The task of the nose is to clean, warm and moisturize the inhaled air. About nine liters of air flow through the nose every minute. With this air also pollutants, dust, germs and bacteria enter the body automatically. Here comes the self-cleaning mechanism of the respiratory tract and in particular the filter function of the nose in action.
Mucosa with conveyor effect
The nose, like the other respiratory tract, has a special mucous membrane. In the surface Flimmerzellen are embedded. On these cells sit small movable processes, so-called cilia, which protrude from the mucous membrane. The particles that enter the nose during inhalation are bound by the secretion that is formed by the mucous membrane. The particles collected in this way are then transported by the cilia in a wave motion as on a conveyor belt towards the throat. There the mucus is either coughed up or swallowed and destroyed by the stomach acid.
Beware, runny nose
If this self-cleaning mechanism is disturbed, for example due to dehydration of the mucous membranes, the mucus can no longer be removed quickly enough. It forms an optimal breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. The mucous membrane inflames and swells. The nose clogs, runny nose arises. As inhalation through the nose is difficult in case of cold, the air is absorbed through the mouth. Viruses and bacteria can penetrate directly into the pharynx and bronchi.
Always keep the nasal mucosa moist
In order to support the self-cleaning mechanism of the nose, it is important to keep the nasal mucosa always moist. For example, make sure there is enough humidity in the rooms. Announces a cold, you should resort directly to appropriate measures. A nasal rinse or a nasal spray can be particularly helpful here. It not only moisturizes the nasal mucosa but also has anti-inflammatory effects and supports the function of the cilia (cilia). The mucous membrane swells, breathing through the nose is possible again.