Although chronic purulent postnasal discharge and chronic "postnasal drip" are used synonomously by some writers, the terms designate different processes attributable to different causes. Irrespective of the character of the discharge, the symptom invariably proves annoying and provokes other symptoms, of which hawking and coughing are the more prominent. The only type of chronic postnasal discharge capable of endangering health, according to Proetz,1 is the one carrying virulent organisms. In this connection, Proetz stated: "Among the many cases examined this type is relatively infrequent. It should be pointed out that it is the function of nasal mucus to carry off pathogenic organisms and that in these cases the postnasal 'drip' complained of is evidence of protective activity, cessation of which would augment the seriousness of the nasal infection."
Although this presentation deals primarily with the chronic purulent type of postnasal discharge, frequent reference to so-called "postnasal drip" was unavoidable.