Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Mucus, cough and chronic lung disease: New discoveries

As a cold ends, a severe mucus cough starts. Sound familiar? Two studies now give explanations: First, crucial mechanisms of the mucus in both diseased and healthy airways; second, what happens in such chronic lung diseases ...


Should I take vitamin C or other supplements for my cold?

Last week, I had a shocking cold. Blocked nose, sore throat, and feeling poorly. This made me think about the countless vitamins and supplements on the market that promise to ease symptoms of a cold, help you recover faster, ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

How to tell if your symptoms are cold, flu or allergies

A runny or stuffy nose can be a symptom of the flu, a cold or allergies, and it can be hard to discern which one you have. So how do you know what's really going on with your nose?

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In vertebrates, mucus (adjectival form: "mucous") is a slippery secretion produced by, and covering, mucous membranes. Mucous fluid is typically produced from mucous cells found in mucous glands. Mucous cells secrete products that are rich in glycoproteins and water. Mucous fluid may also originate from mixed glands, which contain both serous and mucous cells. It is a viscous colloid containing antiseptic enzymes (such as lysozyme), immunoglobulins, inorganic salts, proteins such as lactoferrin, and glycoproteins known as mucins that are produced by goblet cells in the mucous membranes and submucosal glands. This mucus serves to protect epithelial cells in the respiratory, gastrointestinal, urogenital, visual, and auditory systems in mammals; the epidermis in amphibians; and the gills in fish. A major function of this mucus is to protect against infectious agents such as fungi, bacteria and viruses. The average human body produces about a litre of mucus per day.

Bony fish, hagfish, snails, slugs, and some other invertebrates also produce external mucus. In addition to serving a protective function against infectious agents, such mucus provides protection against toxins produced by predators, can facilitate movement and may play a role in communication.

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