Best home remedies for dealing with postnasal drip
If you find yourself having the urge to clear your throat, cough or swallow more than usual, this could be a sign of postnasal drip. Every day, our nose makes about a quart of mucus which is a thick, wet substance moistening our nose, throat, airways, stomach, and intestinal tract. Its job is to trap and destroy bacteria and viruses having the potential to cause an infection.
Usually we don’t notice mucus. Mucus from your nose generally mixes with your saliva and will drip down the back of your throat in which you will swallow it. But when your body is producing more mucus than usual or it has become thicker than normal is when you may notice a difference. When the nose is producing an excess of mucus that comes out through your nostrils, this is a runny nose. However, when the mucus runs down the back of your nose to your throat, then it is considered postnasal drip.
Having postnasal drip is a symptom and not considered to be a serious medical concern. But having postnasal drip, whether chronic or not, can cause throat irritation, night coughing, difficulty sleeping, a constant need to swallow or clear your throat, or developing a “tickle” at the back of the throat turning into a coughing fit to clear the mucus out.
Causes of postnasal drip
There are many possible causes of postnasal drip. If caused by allergies or environmental irritants, this chronic situation can be disruptive to daily functioning. Here are examples of what might be triggering the problem:
· Colds or flu
· Allergies also called allergic postnasal drip
· Sinus infection or sinusitis
· Certain medications
· Changing weather, cold temperatures or really dry air
· Certain foods such as spicy foods or dairy products
· Fumes from chemicals, perfumes, cleaning products, smoke, or other irritants
Symptoms of postnasal drip
· A constant feeling of wanting to clear your throat
· Can trigger a cough that often gets worse at night
· Sore, scratchy throat
· Developing hoarseness
· Ear infection if the Eustachian tube is clogged
· Sinus infection if these passages are clogged
Treating postnasal drip
Most cases of postnasal drip can be treated at home. But if it lasts longer than 10 days or is accompanied by signs of an infection, then you need to see your doctor.
Here are steps you can do at home to help alleviate postnasal drip:
· Drink extra fluids, particularly water which help thin mucus. Try drinking lemon water with the juice from half of lemon mixed in water with ice.
· Run a humidifier in your home to increase moisture in the air to help thin the mucus in your nose and sinuses.
· Use saline nasal sprays to flush the nasal passages and throat
· Avoid caffeine, dairy foods, and diuretic medications as they can thicken mucus secretions
· Sleep in a semi-reclined chair or with your head propped up on pillows to stop sinus drainage during the night
· Avoid sleeping flat on your back and instead sleep on your side to help better with drainage
· Take an over-the-counter antihistamine medication to reduce the amount of mucus in your sinuses and to stop the drainage in your throat
· Try nasal steroids which are inhaled medications to reduce mucus production and stop postnasal drip
· Use a neti pot to flush mucus, bacteria, allergens, and other irritating things out of the sinuses
· Frequent and regular vacuuming and dusting of your home can reduce possible irritants such as pollen, pet dander, and dust mites.