The sinuses, throat, and nose are always producing secretions called mucus. Mucus is a dense substance that prevents your airways from drying out. We all know that the air we breathe isn’t completely fresh – on the contrary, it is full of environmental pollutants, germs, pollen, etc. When these atoms come in our bodies, it can produce serious health problems if the mucus does not filter them out. It is the purpose of mucus – to get these particles out of our bodies.
Usually, you can’t notice mucus because it mixes with your saliva and is swallowed or blown from the nose. But if your body produces too much, a person may experience a postnasal drip. It means that the mucus leaks down the back of your throat. It is a common manifestation, which occurs to everyone somehow. The glands in your throat and nose produce this thick substance to fight infection and moisturize these foreign atoms that enter your body. If you want to learn more about postnasal drip, read further.
Symptoms of Postnasal Drip
Postnasal drip makes you feel like constantly clearing out your throat. It can become uncomfortable for some people because it can also produce a cough, and mostly worsen at night. Too much of this substance can lead to an irritated throat. It may also clog up the Eustachian tube, producing an ear infection, usually with earaches. This condition can affect both children and adults. When the Eustachian tube is blocked, it becomes the perfect ground for bacteria. If not treated on time, ear infections can lead to serious complications, including meningitis, hearing loss, facial nerve paralysis, etc. Postnasal drip symptoms include excessive swallowing mucus or spitting, cough, nausea, bad breath, or scratchy throat.
Usually, a postnasal drip shouldn’t last longer than ten days. However, if it gets worse or if the mucus turns its color to green or yellow, it means that you should see a doctor. The chances are that you may have an infection or a deviated septum. Sometimes, a postnasal drip doesn’t require medical care because it can go away on its own. But don’t hesitate to see a doctor if the symptoms don’t go away after several weeks. In fact, you shouldn’t even wait that long to take action against postnasal drip. It may be normal to have mucus in your throat, but you shouldn’t let it affect your daily life events. Losing your voice, a persistent cough, hoarse voice, burning feeling in your neck, or itchy throat isn’t supposed to be considered normal, even in the cold season.
Causes of Postnasal Drip
There is a wide variety of causes of postnasal drip. Your body may not clear the thick substance as usual or quickly, which makes it build up. Some common causes may include chronic conditions, such as dust, dander, allergies, gastroesophageal reflux disease, a deviated septum, or certain medications. Postnasal drip may also be temporary and caused by sinusitis, seasonal allergies, hormone variations, or a cold. There’s also a chance that you may react to spicy foods, dairy products, external substances stuck in your nose, or pet allergies.
Postnasal drip is usually identified, depending on your symptoms. A physical examination will be needed if you have any of the symptoms above. Also, headaches, chills, and fever are associated with postnasal drip. If you spit blood while coughing, you may have a serious infection or an illness that may require additional evaluation. Allergy testing may also be needed to help identify the cause. Other causes include pregnancy, cold temperatures, dry air, viral infections, and weather changes.
Remedies for Postnasal Drip
Let’s assume that your condition isn’t that bad, so that you can do some home treatments. There are many home remedies for post nasal drip. Some of them may have an immediate effect, while others can work after several days. For example, saline nasal sprays are the most common and effective for moistening your sinuses and reduce postnasal drip symptoms. Can your sleeping position influence your health? Yes, you can do something about how you sleep, especially when you have a postnasal drip. One of the effective ways to help fight postnasal drip is by sustaining your head of your bed. It will help you fight back against postnasal drip.
If you’ve ever had a cold that just won’t go away, and realize that your symptoms are getting worse when going to bed, you may want to do something about your sleeping position. So, to prop up the bed, you can try using some books or small boxes under your pillows. Sleep with your face up, so that your mucus drains down your throat, and stimulate mouth breathing. If you are a side-sleeper, you may want to pick one that’s comfortable to you, as this can clear up your throat best. Hopefully, these tips will help you manage your postnasal drip better. Also, make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day so that you can prevent postnasal drip. Drink lots of liquids, including warm teas, eat chicken soup, as these can prevent dehydration. It also can moisten your nasal passages, making you feel a lot more comfortable.
How to prevent Postnasal Drip
Some of the best ways to prevent postnasal drip is to identify your allergies, and reduce exposure as much as possible. Keep your home clean, and by that, ensure that it’s dust-free all the time. Wash your pillow covers and mattresses as often as possible to avoid contact with dust mites. Also, your heating system must be checked to see if the air filters are clogged – it might be a reason why you have difficulty breathing in your own home. These are some of the many tips you can follow to learn how to prevent postnasal drip.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, contact your doctor to avoid worsen your condition. Postnasal drip can be treated, but neglecting it can lead to serious health issues.