The Ionic Composition of Nasal Fluid and Its Function


The aim of the experiments reported here is to increase our understanding of the function of the nasal fluid. It is generally accepted that the nasal fluid assists in the humidification of the inspired air. It also assists in the capture of inspired particles such as pollen, preventing them getting lodged in the lungs. It is also known to contain antibacterial substances which keep the nose, nasopharynx and respiratory passages relatively free of infection. There are other features of the nasal fluid that are not understood. In cold weather, is it the fluid that collects in the nostrils pure water or nasal fluid? Why does nasal fluid have an exceptionally high potassium concentration? Does nasal fluid secreted during the common cold have the same composition as at other times? My objectives are to try to answer these questions. My method is to collect my nasal fluid in several different ways and have the ionic composition of each determined accurately. My findings are that nasal fluid is similar in composition however it is secreted. In cold weather, if expiration is via the nose, the nasal fluid is diluted by condensed water. The high concentration of potassium in the nasal fluid is not a way of controlling the level of potassium in the body but I suggest that it may assist in maintaining the antibacterial property of the nasal fluid.

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Burke, W. (2014) The Ionic Composition of Nasal Fluid and Its Function. Health, 6, 720-728. doi: 10.4236/health.2014.68093.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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