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Having irritation on nasopharynx. Not cured after using neti pot. What should be done?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1991
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I have irritation where my nose meets the throat. I believe I have inhaled an irritating dust particle at work. Using a neti pot didn't work, the burning sensation continued and got worse after I fell asleep
Posted Thu, 6 Dec 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 2 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. The irritation in your nasopharynx (the area where the nose meets the throat) may be a result of the chemical nature of the dust particle that you have inhaled. What is your occupational exposure to dust?

2. Inhaled dust particles are usually very light in weight (as they must float in the air). These dust particles are trapped in the mucous layer of the nose. Minute cilia which line the nasal lining beat rhythmically and transport the dust particles within ten minutes through the nose and into the pharynx (throat) where they are swallowed or brought out through the mouth. Only extremely small dust particles reach the lungs.

3. Sometimes a rough dust particle may scratch or react with the delicate nasal lining, leading to a burning sensation.

4. The best way out will be to take an anti-inflammatory and an anti-allergic medication along with steam inhalation. A nasal endoscopy may be done to check the nasopharynx. if it is clear, there is no cause for worry. The sensation will subside soon. Since you have seasonal allergy and sinus infections, this sensation may be related to a Post Nasal Drip (PND).

5. If you have used plain water in the neti pot, it will burn and hurt. Use a saline solution.

6. To prevent this from happening again consider the use of face masks at work.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having irritation on nasopharynx. Not cured after using neti pot. What should be done? 45 minutes later
Oh, ok. Yes I work in a hardware warehouse. There is a large buildup of dust, including random chemicals that get kicked into the air when swept. Unfortunately wearing a dust mask is a bit out of the question.

Usually when I get home I blow my nose and the mucus is black from the dust, and hardened. I just fear I may have a piece of this in the back of my nose continuing to irritate the area, or would it be gone by now? (It's been about 8 hours since I've been off of work.)

Yes it's a burning sensation in the left nostril, and only that side.

I'll definitely take the medications. Should I simply inhale plain steam? The neti pot was in fact a saline solution that came with the product. I'm assuming it burned because of the irritated tissue? Is using a neti pot too often bad? The left nostril is also clogged now, with a slightly yellow mucus. I fear this will lead to an infection as I'm pretty prone to them.


Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 35 minutes later

Thank you for writing back.

1. If you get blackened mucus when you blow your nose at the end of the day, you are exposed to a substantial amount of dust inhalation.

2. Most dust particles are inert. This particular combination may have accumulated and irritated the nose.

3. Any irritation of this kind should subside within a day. Medication will help you ignore this irritation. If it still bothers you tomorrow, and since it is one sided, get a check nasal endoscopy done. It is a simple OPD examination and will settle the issue.

4. Use plain steam inhalation. A neti pot solution which does not match the osmolarity of the body will irritate the mucosa. Neti pot should not be used more than once or twice a day.

5. Use saline nasal drops and OTC nasal decongestant drops for a couple of days if the left nostril is severely blocked.

6. Yellow mucus may be a sign of allergy or infection. Get it examines soon and start medication before it flares up.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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