The pharynx (upper respiratory system) includes everything from the nares (nasal openings) to the top of the larynx (voice box).The pharynx is conventionally divided into these three sections: nasopharynx, oropharynx, and the laryngopharynx.
The nasopharynx has a number of sinuses, or spaces in the bones of the skull that connect the nasal cavities. There are several theories as to why we have sinuses such as:
•Cushioning to protect the eyes and eye sockets, brain and nose
•Providing balloon-like flotation within the head to help hold up a heavy skull
•To provide humidification for air breathed in through the nose
•To provide important for resonance for voice
•The sinuses manufacture and store mucous
There are three turbinates on each side of the nose and their job is to warm, clean, and moisturize air as it moves from the nose to the lungs. All of the nasopharynx is covered with a light layer of mucus that helps in the hydrating, and warming of the air that we breathe. Keeping this tissue is critical to maintaining a healthy upper airway.
The mucus layer that coats the entire nasopharynx purpose is to warm, moist as well as trap bacteria, allergens, asthmatic triggers, dirt, dust, and capture other contaminants that we may breathe in. This mucus coating is the body’s first line of defense against airborne bacteria and pollutants. It’s important to keep pharynx clean and moist so it has the ability to function efficiently. Here are three things we can do help keep our nasal passages healthy and clean:
- 1. Hydrate. Drink of water, and when you think that you had enough then have one more glass. Caffeinated or sugary beverages don’t count since they will actually dehydrate you. Caffeine is a diuretic and will cause you to urinate more and sugar will requires water to process it.
2. Moisturize. Nasal sprays such as Xlear Sinus Care Spray. Help to keep the nasal passages moist so they can trap dirt debris, allergens, and pollutants much more effectively than without. Hypertonic nasal sprays work more efficiently at increasing the osmotic pressure in the nose, which will reduce congestion and keep the tissue clean, moist, and working better for a longer period of time than a normal osmotic saline spray. After using a nasal spray, you should blow your nose to clean it, then reapply the nasal spray.
3. Irrigate. Using a neti pot or sinus rinse can also help wash away bacteria, congestion, debris, and pollutants. This is not recommended to be used on a regular basis since the use of these products will also wash away the protective mucus layer and expose the vulnerable underlying tissue. These should only be used occasionally when there is a lot of congestion and when you can use a moisturizing nasal spray after.