Sore throat is one of the world’s most irritating illnesses due to the complications that come with it such as cough, and blockage of the nasal passage. From the medical perspective let’s look what happens when a person experiences sore throat; the person usually coughs in order to bring out the excessive mucus that is produced and also the nasal passage gets blocked due to the excess mucus produced. We will obviously be deploying the use of some theories in thermodynamics particularly, Enrico Fermi’s corollary of the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the most stable state of an organism in an isolated system, is one that tends towards maximum entropy. We can infer from this that for a process that tends towards increasing the overall entropy of a system, plays a major role in defining the stability of a system. During the day the land is hotter than the sea, thus the people who are on the land mostly also feel warm. If we eat so much food during the day, so much gaseous material are taken into the body as a result of the chemical energy in the food, thus the entropy of the body
increases according to the equation ΔS= k In V, where k is the Boltzmann constant and V is the ratio of the final volume to the initial volume. Thus with an increase in gaseous material in the body, the final volume increase and thus an increase in entropy (S). Eating food is always good because it introduces into our bodies so much gaseous molecules, which increase the overall entropy, and according to Enrico Fermi represents a stable system. Entropy is an index of exhaustion (it could also mean the index of tiredness, when dealing with living systems at the human perspective), thus when the entropy in the body is high, one has to do work to offset some heat or gaseous material taken in as a result of food eaten. Heat or gaseous material because of its low density rises rather than sinks down. The head, trachea is on the upper part of the body and thus when the heat or vapour gets to the trachea, due to the fact that the plates of the trachea are colder than the vapour arriving, the vapour condenses (As in fractional distillation when the vapour from the liquid as a result of the heating get to the bubble caps). The liquid formed sometimes complexes with the materials in the trachea and forms a hard substance (This is due to the constant exchange of heat between the plates and the mixture of the liquid formed and the
materials), which is deposited on the walls of the trachea causing pain or uneasiness. The effect caused by the hard substance formed along the trachea side is less during the day because the land is hotter than the sea and so the people on the land feel warm. The hot air heats the inner of the body causing disintegration of the complex. In addition, most people work during the day to heat up the body, this causes further disintegration of the complex causing less pain. During the day, the people normally feel hot or warm, this results in heat transfer from the environment to the person due to the temperature difference, thus the heat from the environment tends to breakdown part or the entire complex solid depending on the intensity of the heat, and thus the effect of the heat is less felt. Now let us look at how Enrico Fermi’s corollary plays a part here in the explanation> Originally, when we had the complex formed at the trachea area, the complex introduced some rigidity and thus causing low entropy. This results in an unstable system according to Enrico Fermi. In the event where the complex formed is disintegrated by means of heat applied, a less rigid and more fluid substance is formed which has higher entropy compared to the original complex formed, this will result in a stable system according to Enrico
Fermi. During the night or evening, the land is colder than the sea. When we take in so much food, the deposited heat as a result of the chemical energy (gaseous material) rises due to its less density to the walls of the trachea and also forms a complex with the material on the plates of the trachea. The cool of the weather imparts some crystallinity to the complex on the walls of the trachea, which further decreases the entropy. This is due to our knowledge that solids have low entropy because the bonds in ice are stronger than that in liquid water. Since coolness (night breeze on the land) approach crystallinity compared to that of hotness (day breeze on the land). In addition, the energy content of the cool weather is low and thus breaking of the complex formed in the trachea is not likely due to the stronger bonds> Also let us note that when we sleep during the night, we increase the entropy of the surrounding because we exhale more oxygen to the external and thus increasing the entropy of the surrounding thus making we the system to have a low entropy> This in effect contributes to the crystallinity of the complex on the walls of the trachea.
WHY DO MEDICAL DOCTORS MOSTLY ADVICE US TO EAT WARM FOODS?
The answer to this question could be got directly from the explanation above. Even when the complex is formed in the trachea, the excess heat because of the temperature of the food causes the breaking or disintegrating of the complex and so the effect of the throat inflammation is minimized or taken away. When one takes so much cold foods, the complex formed in the throat area increases due to the crystallinity that the coolness of the food imparts to the throat. Therefore, this is because of the extensive property entropy. Have you also realised that our mothers in the village sometimes use theories on entropy to solve problems of cold. They heat water and then immerse a clean towel into the boiling water and take it to the entrance of the nasal passage and ask you to inhale the heat. Have you ever ask them why they do so? The inference is got from the explanation above. Now to answer the question of why the phlegm and cough come into play when one has sore throat. When we think, we contribute to the entropy of the surrounding and when we sleep, we lose some energy to the environment because the activity sleeping is highly exothermic. Have
you ever sat to think why people tend to feel sleepy or tired after taking in a heavy meal? This is because after taking in a lot, the volume of gaseous materials in the body increases and thus the parameter S which represents the entropy increases according to the equation, S = K In V where V is the ratio of the final volume to the initial volume. If entropy is an index of exhaustion (tiredness), then the after taking in so much energy (gaseous material) so that the extensive property, entropy increases, then the body becomes tired and if we have to come back to that equilibrium state then we have to lose some of the energy and the best natural way to lose energy is by sleeping or sitting down and thinking about one thing or another, thus you tend to lose energy to the environment and thus we feel cool due to the fact that evaporation has occurred resulting in cooling. Now back to the complications that come with sore throat such as coughs and blockage of the nasal passage. If the amount or the volume of the gaseous materials in the body becomes so much that the entropy of the body rises according to the said equation relating entropy and the ratio of the final and initial volume and a constant of proportionality (Boltzmann constant), the system becomes relatively unstable and thus some of the heat must be lost either through
work or by any natural means. Due to again the small density of gaseous materials (heat from the food), it rises to the parts of the heat most likely to the nasal, eyes and other parts and due to the differences in temperatures, ( i.e., the plates of the nasal passages are colder so as the gaseous materials arrive, they condense and combine with some materials and come out as phlegm’s and when this combination of the condensed gases and the materials in the nasal passages becomes excessive, then they tend to block the passages and thus create that unpleasant feeling.
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