Several home remedies can be effective in controlling phlegm and mucus, including staying well-hydrated and utilizing a saline nasal spray or rinse. If these home remedies prove ineffective, there are over-the-counter and prescription medications that can be considered.
The body naturally produces mucus to create a protective barrier in specific regions, even during periods of good health. This mucus prevents these areas from becoming dry and plays a crucial role in defending against intruders such as viruses and bacteria.
Excessive mucus accumulation can result from infections, allergies, and smoking.
Continue reading to discover more about potential home remedies and medications that may offer relief.
Getting rid of phlegm and mucus at home
Follow these steps to effectively reduce excess mucus and phlegm at home:
Maintain Moist Air
Dry air can irritate the nose and throat, prompting increased mucus production. Enhance sleep quality and alleviate throat discomfort by using a cool mist humidifier in the bedroom.
Adequate fluid intake is essential to keep mucus thin. During illnesses like colds, consuming extra fluids can help thin mucus and facilitate sinus drainage. Individuals with seasonal allergies may also experience reduced congestion by staying well-hydrated.
Apply a Warm, Wet Washcloth
For sinus headaches, a warm, wet washcloth provides soothing relief. Inhaling through a damp cloth quickly restores moisture to the nose and throat, alleviating pain and pressure.
Elevate the Head
Sleeping with the head elevated on multiple pillows or in a reclining chair can ease discomfort caused by excessive mucus buildup. Avoid lying flat, as it may give the sensation of mucus collecting at the back of the throat. Hypoallergenic pillows may offer additional benefits when elevated.
Avoid Suppressing a Cough
Resist the temptation to use cough suppressants for a persistent, phlegm-filled cough. Coughing is the body's natural mechanism to prevent secretions from entering the lungs and throat. Use cough syrups sparingly, if at all.
Discreetly Eliminate Phlegm
When phlegm rises into the throat, it's a signal that the body is attempting to expel it. Spit it out rather than swallowing for a healthier approach.
Use Saline Nasal Spray or Rinse
Clear mucus and allergens from the nose and sinuses with a saline spray or irrigator. Opt for sterile sprays containing only sodium chloride, and use sterile or distilled water for rinsing.
Gargle with Salt Water
Soothe an irritated throat and clear residual mucus by gargling with saltwater. Mix one teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and gargle several times a day.
Traditional eucalyptus products have long been used to alleviate coughs and reduce mucus. Apply them directly to the chest or add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a diffuser or warm bath to aid nasal clearance.
Avoid Smoking and Secondhand Smoke
Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke stimulate increased phlegm and mucus production. Steer clear of these triggers for respiratory health.
Limit Decongestant Use
While decongestants can dry secretions and relieve a runny nose, they may complicate the removal of phlegm and mucus.
Keep seasonal allergies in check, as they can result in a runny or congested nose, along with excess mucus and phlegm.
Steer clear of chemicals, fragrances, and pollution that can irritate the nose, throat, and lower airways, prompting increased mucus production.
Monitor Food Reactions
Identify foods that trigger reactions resembling seasonal allergies, causing a runny nose and itchy throat, ultimately leading to excess mucus.
Refrain from Excessive Alcohol and Caffeine
Both alcohol and caffeine can contribute to dehydration. When dealing with mucus and phlegm issues, opt for warm, noncaffeinated beverages.
Indulge in a Hot Bath or Shower
Spend time in a steam-filled bathroom to loosen and clear mucus in the nose and throat. Allowing hot water to pulse on the face can provide relief from sinus pressure.
Gently Blow the Nose
Avoid forceful blowing, as it may harm the sinuses, causing pain, pressure, and potential infection.
Incorporate Fruit into the Diet
Consume a diet rich in fruit and potentially soy fiber to reduce respiratory issues associated with phlegm.
Steer Clear of Acid Reflux Trigger Foods
Acid reflux can contribute to increased phlegm and mucus. Individuals prone to heartburn should avoid trigger foods and consult with a doctor for proper management.
When to see a doctor
Interpretations of colored nasal mucus vary widely, with some associating it solely with bacterial infections. However, it could signify the immune system combating a virus or even indicate dehydration.
A runny nose or a sense of congestion may be indicative of allergies or a sinus infection. Individuals facing persistent allergy symptoms or infections are advised to consult a doctor, as severe allergies may necessitate professional intervention, and sinus infections might require antibiotic treatment.
Medical attention is particularly crucial if experiencing:
- Persistent Cough (over 10 days): A cough lasting beyond 10 days warrants medical attention to rule out underlying issues.
- Unpleasant-Smelling Nasal Discharge: Nasal discharge with an unpleasant odor should prompt a visit to a healthcare professional.
- Blurred Vision with Nasal Congestion: If nasal congestion is accompanied by blurred vision, seeking medical advice is recommended to assess potential underlying causes.
- Yellow or White Spots on the Back of the Throat: The presence of yellow or white spots on the back of the throat is a concerning symptom that merits medical attention for proper evaluation and management.
Typically, the presence of phlegm and mucus indicates a mild condition that can be effectively addressed with home care. Symptoms can be alleviated using home remedies or over-the-counter medications.
While phlegm and mucus may induce temporary discomfort or irritation, they rarely pose serious concerns with appropriate self-care.
Individuals facing symptoms such as phlegm, mucus, and related issues are advised to seek medical consultation. A doctor may recommend allergy treatments or antibiotics if there are underlying conditions that need attention.