THE WORLD — Everyone out there who doesn’t have at least ONE allergy symptom, please raise your hands in triumph – well, unless you’re driving a car right now. (That WOULD make sense to you if you ever lived in California.) Anyway, when you add up Spring, Summer and Fall, just about all of us around here are allergic to something. And even if you moved here from somewhere else and DIDN’T have allergies there, you WILL have allergies here. “Carol,” you may say, “Why IS that?” Hey, I don’t know, but it sure does make us love this place all the more, doesn’t it?
Now, by allergy symptoms, I mean any combination of the following: stuffy nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, wheezing, and last but not least, the real subject of this article, post nasal drip. I don’t mean the cereal, I mean the syndrome. Post nasal drip is very annoying. There ought to be a law against it. Of course, if there were, this place would be like one big jail. Umm . . . never mind, we won’t go there. . . Back to post nasal drip.
A medical website describes post nasal drip like this: Glands in your nose, throat, airways, stomach, and intestines produce one to two QUARTS of mucus EACH DAY. And for those of you who have lived in a cave all your lives, mucus is basically another word for snot, from the Latin mucosa snotus.
Mucus is thick and wet and it’s like one of those “humane” sticky mousetraps, only it catches bacteria and viruses instead of mice. Well, I suppose it might catch mice if you had them in your stomach or up your nose, but back to mucus.
Normally, you don’t notice the mucus in your nose because (warning, if you have a weak stomach, stop reading now) it “mixes with saliva and drips harmlessly down the back of your throat to be swallowed gradually and continuously throughout the day.” (I warned you. You can take a break here to clean up the barf.) When your body produces thicker mucus or too much of it, it starts running out your nostrils
– Voila! Runny nose. And when mucus reacts to a barometric pressure change or gravity or something and runs down the back of the nose, which is attached to your throat, it becomes the stuff of legends – post nasal drip.
As a practical matter, here’s what happens: You’re talking on the phone to Aunt Martha, and the post nasal starts to drip. You have to clear your throat 75 times, until finally she says in her best little old lady voice, “Is someone trying to strangle you dear??” You decide to spare her any further angst and end the phone call, at which point the post nasal drip instantly stops. Hey, I don’t know why, but it’s gotta have something to do with this place we live. Don’t you love it?