This has to be one of the most irritating, annoying, disgusting, messy and frequent body functions that plague babies, children and adults alike, although the little ones seem to have it incessantly. Are they ALWAYS sick? Are we EVER going to have a weekend without tissues and stuffy noses? What is going on and how can we put an end to it?
Unfortunately mucus is a very important and necessary substance and how the body prevents illness and helps to eliminate foreign matter and get the body over an infection. But it’s awful! I know. If you learn a little about it and you can manage things at the first few signs of the body fighting an infection, this will go a long way in preventing more serious illnesses, improving overall immunity and reducing future sniffly weekends!
A few things to note at the outset: At all times your body is self preserving, it will never self destruct. There is a hierarchical system of critically important, to least important and then non-critical systems that take up preference as far as resources and level of immunity are concerned. All immune responses and instinctive reactions are designed to protect the more important systems, while allowing the less important or even dispensable systems to be invaded.
There is a Law of Direction of Cure, which states that cure happens from within outward, from more important to least important system and from top to bottom, thus the reverse is true for illness. Illness gets worse when it goes from outward in, from less important to more important systems or organs. Like the cold not going away, moving to a chest infection and then onto bronchitis and eventually pneumonia and then double pneumonia - a scary thought!
Let's first look at the attack and response at the most basic and external level... Your body is perfectly designed to respond to most direct attacks on its system. All the correct responses begin very soon after exposure to a foreign substance. If these responses are stopped or diminished in some way, the immune system is not able to correctly eliminate the germs and then they get deeper in, to make you sicker.
A flu virus is usually first detected by the sensitive receptors in the nose. There is also a layer of mucus, yup snot, that lines the membranes of the nose. This is the first barrier that our body has, the first place the virus will be detected. Would you prefer that there was no response at this level? That the viruses could creep in undetected and sneak down the back of the throat and into the lungs without even alerting the army? Just think of it as an army recon, picture yourself a human immune cell soldier and the virus is the enemy. Our membranes are lined with thousands of soldiers and behind them is a wall of mucus and then the membrane, a semi-permeable wall that allows certain things through it and others not.
Most viruses, bacteria and other nasty intruders get stuck in this mucus wall, the soldiers can come along and kill them and they are then blown or sneezed out the door, after which new mucus is made and new soldiers take up guard. If there are many viruses attacking at once, the mucus layer increases in size and speed of production as it needs to trap and remove so many more viruses. It is often helped by watery mucus that comes down the tubes at great speed flushing out everything in its path. A huge amount of force is needed to expel all of this, how do you think this is achieved? Atchoo, atchoo, atchoo-ooo, Bless you!
Can you see the basic reaction? The sneezing and runny nose that starts off a flu? Have you noticed that sometimes this can start and you're sure you're heading for it and the next day it’s blown over? Your body quickly won that battle and with the least disruption to the rest of you. The best thing to do would be to just deal with the unpleasant symptoms, but be glad that your body is getting rid of the germs. This is how they spread so easily, however, as too many kids are not taught to "put your hand in front of your mouth".
Help the body win this little battle, by taking some herbs and homeopathic remedies, and you won't have a war! However, most people immediately take something to stop these symptoms, as they are really annoying (!) and then what happens? The mucus dries up, the sneezing stops...but you start with a sore throat and a cough...getting deeper, see? If the body has not been able to deal with the viruses (that are doubling in number about every half hour) then it will try to stop it, contain it and seal up the exits - mucus gets thicker, clogs up the airways and closes the passage door! Oh, no, but now I can't breathe? Nose spray please to open things up - ah - nice, now I can breathe easy all the way down to my lungs - and down go the viruses.
Now in the airways and lungs, we also have a membrane that produces a lot of mucus - we have billions of cells called goblet cells, whose sole function is to make mucus - do you think we may need it? Its function here is also to trap any dust, dirt and invader particles, stop it getting any further than it already has and stop it getting into the deep recesses of the lungs where the air must be pure and clean so that the correct amount of gases can be transferred. But if there are too many invaders, more and more mucus is made to trap them, the little hairs lining the airways beat like mad to move the mucus up and out and then comes another forceful response - cough, cough and GET IT OUT!
Oh, no, but this is even more unpleasant, let's take some nice soothing cough mixture to stop that awful coughing...but when you do that, what happens? It gets stuck in there, the mucus builds up and builds up and cannot get out. We begin to rattle. This is the perfect breeding spot for bacteria, who were just lurking around till now, hiding from the more dangerous and fast moving viruses. Mucus is rich in nutrients for bacteria, plenty of food and a nice warm place to grow and multiply (bacteria are like flies around the dustbin - opportunistic). Now we have bronchitis and a secondary infection, and if it sits a little too long, the actual lung tissue behind the membranes is invaded and infected, then we have pneumonia and double pneumonia - now this is a big problem.
All the while, the immune system has been trying to raise the temperature to kill off the germs (they die at higher temperatures) and activate those parts of the army (immune system) that are reserved for the big wars (like Special Forces!). But that's scary now and more unpleasant (mostly for mom and dad) so we definitely take something to bring that down and our armies’ best fighting arm is disbanded (see a later article on Fevers). How did we get from sneezing these little monsters out at the very edge of our body, to them taking over control of the deep lung tissue, a vital organ? Does this seem like the direction of cure?
Natural medicines, whichever form you wish to use, are all supportive of natural body functions, are all healing in their action. They will always support the body's attempts to heal, yes, they may make your symptoms worse, but this often increases the speed and rate of healing so that the illness or attack is short lived and the war easily won. Each time the body is allowed to complete this full victory, it gains strength and resistance and is better equipped at dealing with the next invasion. We've lived among bacteria and viruses since time immemorial, the oldest bacteria known was found in a fossil 5 Billion Years old - we're not going to beat them, we're not going to wipe them out. We know they are getting stronger and more resistant to our humanly charms. Our best bet is to understand how our own body is able to destroy them, and work with it to support its action. I think God knew what He was doing!
So in answer to the questions posed at the beginning of this monologue; Are they ALWAYS sick? Are we EVER going to have a weekend without tissues, sniffles and stuffy noses? What is going on and how can we put an end to it?
No they are not always sick, but they are eliminating something that the body sees as a threat or toxin. If not assisted at this point, then they may become sick yes. Remember chronic mucus leads to ear infections as well. And yes, you will have a weekend without tissues and sniffles, but only when their little systems have been exposed to and have fought off a number of different viruses and bacteria - but each fight does not need to turn into a war. If you help get the mucus out, allow the body to respond, support it with some natural remedies, it will be over before Monday and gone for a few weeks longer than before.
If you have gained nothing but entertainment from this, then I am happy, however if it has sparked some questions or appealed to the logic in you, research what I have said and try it out for yourself - we all need to go green, inside and out!
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