How long does post nasal drip last after cold?

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Madison, Wisconsin – UW Health Family Medicine physician Jacqueline Gerhart writes a column that appears Tuesdays on madison.com and in the Wisconsin State Journal. Columns are re-published here with permission.

Weeks after a cold is gone, I’m still stuck with a bad cough. What gives? Is there any way I can prevent that cough or at least shorten it?

Sometimes it feels like the symptoms of a cold will never go away.

Often in clinical practice, we will tell patients to come to the clinic to get examined if their symptoms are not improving after one week to 10 days. In many cases, patients do feel that their symptoms are improved within that time period, but not completely resolved. Often, one of the last symptoms to go away is the cough.

It is important to distinguish between a lingering cough from a prior viral infection, and a new cough that could be more serious.

The common cold can be caused by one of many viruses, and so a person’s symptoms may vary. Some people may not have a cough at all, or may first develop a cough near the end of the illness. Usually, when the cough lingers, it is related to “post nasal drip.” After a cold, the body is still trying to clear some of the mucous from your nasal passages. When this mucous drips down the back of your throat from your nose and sinuses, it often triggers a cough.

It is often difficult to prevent post-nasal drip. Preventing the cold in the first place is the best way to prevent it. However, this is often impossible given the frequent contact we have with others. The next best way is to try to get the mucous to run out of your nose rather than back to your throat. Using a neti pot, or a saline sinus rinse helps to thin the mucous, and allow it to drain out the front of the nose. Blowing your nose after this helps to clear more mucous out. Some people notice that over-the-counter decongestants also help to thin the mucous, and allow for better drainage. If the cough is waking you from sleep, or severely disrupting your work, call your primary care provider for further discussion of cough suppressant options.

Typically a cough associated with a cold will subside within one month. You should notice that it is slowly improving over time. If you notice that it is not decreasing, you may have other reasons for coughing. One common cause of cough is “heartburn” or gastric reflux. This sometimes can cause a sour or bitter taste in the back of your mouth, and can induce coughing. Also, if you notice any wheezing, or decreased tolerance of activity, you could have symptoms of asthma. Finally, if you are a smoker with a chronic cough, or if your cough has blood, you should be seen.

This column provides general health information and is not specific advice intended for any particular individual(s). It is not a professional medical opinion or a diagnosis. Always consult your personal health care provider about your concerns. No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Gerhart to people submitting questions.

Date Published: 10/18/2011
News tag(s): jacqueline l gerhart

Treatments for post-nasal drip

Published: April, 2018

You thought it would never end: that tickle in the back of your throat that made you cough or have to clear your throat. It’s been going on for months. And now you know why: post-nasal drip. It’s a common diagnosis. It can happen for a number of reasons: allergies, viral infections (including the common cold), sinus infections, irritants in the air (such as fumes or dust). Less common causes include something stuck inside the nose (common in small children), pregnancy, and certain medications. Temporary – and normal – causes of post-nasal drip includes certain weather conditions (especially cold, dry air) and spicy foods.

Whatever the cause, the problem is a steady trickle of mucus from the back of the sinuses that irritates the throat and nagging cough or other symptoms.

Now what?

Now that you have an official diagnosis, what can you do for it? There are a number of treatment options, including home remedies and over-the-counter medications:

  • A humidifier or steam inhalation (as during a hot shower)
  • Keeping well-hydrated (to keep the mucus thinner)
  • Sleep on propped up pillows, to keep the mucus from collecting at the back of your throat
  • Nasal irrigation (available over-the-counter)
  • A oral decongestant, such as pseudoephedrine (as in Sudafed) or phenylephrine (as in Sudafed PE or Neo-Synephrine)
  • Guaifenesin (as in Mucinex), a medication that can thin the mucus
  • An anti-histamine, such as
    • diphenhydramine, as in Benadryl
    • chlorpheniramine, as in Chlor-Trimeton
    • loratadine, as in Claritin or Alavert
    • fexofenadine (Allegra)
    • cetirizine (Zyrtec)
    • levocetirizine (Xyzal)
    • desloratadine (Clarinex)
  • A nasal decongestant such as oxymetazoline (contained in Afrin) which constricts blood vessels in the nasal passages; this leads to less secretions. Such medications should only be taken for a day or two; longer-term use can cause more harm than good)

Keep in mind that many of these medications are combined in over-the-counter products. For example, there are several formulations of “Sudafed” containing pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine along with additional drugs including acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and guaifenesin. While these combinations can be effective, it’s important to read the label and avoid taking too much of any active ingredient.

What about prescription treatments?

If these approaches aren’t effective, prescription treatments may be the next best steps, including:

  • A nasal steroid spray (such as beclomethasone/Beconase or triamcinolone/Nasacort)
  • Ipratropium (Atrovent) nasal spray which inhibits secretions (such as mucus)

Other treatments depend on the cause of the post-nasal drip. Antibiotics are not usually helpful so they aren’t usually prescribed for post-nasal drip (unless the symptoms are due to bacterial infection of the sinuses). For allergies, dusting and vacuuming often, covering your mattresses and pillowcases, and special air filter can help reduce exposure to allergy triggers.

What about chicken soup?

If you’ve been told that chicken soup helps with post-nasal drip (or other symptoms of a cold or flu), it’s true! But it doesn’t actually have to be chicken soup – any hot liquid can help thin the mucus and help you maintain hydration.

When should I call a doctor?

In most cases, post-nasal drip is annoying but not dangerous. However, you should contact your doctor if you have:

  • Unexplained fever
  • Bloody mucus
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Foul smelling drainage
  • Persistent symptoms despite treatment

The bad news/good news about post nasal drip

Post-nasal drip is among the most common causes of persistent cough, hoarseness, sore throat and other annoying symptoms. It can be caused by a number of conditions and may linger for weeks or months. That’s the bad news. The good news is that most of the causes can be quickly identified and most will improve with treatment.

— Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Robert H. Shmerling, MD, is associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Clinical Chief of Rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston where he teaches in the Internal Medicine Residency Program. He is also the program director of the Rheumatology Fellowship. He has been a practicing rheumatologist for over 25 years.

Image: © Aliced | Dreamstime.com

Disclaimer:
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Post-Nasal Drip

The glands in your nose and throat continually produce mucus (one to two quarts a day). It moistens and cleans the nasal membranes, humidifies air, traps and clears inhaled foreign matter, and fights infection. Although mucus normally is swallowed unconsciously, the feeling that it is accumulating in the throat or dripping from the back of your nose is called post-nasal drip.

This feeling can be caused by excessive or thick secretions or by throat muscle and swallowing disorders.

What Causes Abnormal Secretions – Thin and Thick

Increased thin clear secretions can be due to colds and flu, allergies, cold temperatures, bright lights, certain foods/spices, pregnancy, and other hormonal changes. Various drugs (including birth control pills and high blood pressure medications) and structural abnormalities can also produce increased secretions. These abnormalities might include a deviated or irregular nasal septum (the cartilage and bony dividing wall that separates the two nostrils).

Increased thick secretions in the winter often result from too little moisture in heated buildings and homes. They can also result from sinus or nose infections and some allergies, especially to certain foods such as dairy products. If thin secretions become thick and green or yellow, it is likely that a bacterial sinus infection is developing. In children, thick secretions from one side of the nose can mean that something is stuck in the nose (such as a bean, wadded paper, or piece of toy, etc.).

Sinuses are air-filled cavities in the skull. They drain into the nose through small openings. Blockages in the openings from swelling due to colds, flu, or allergies may lead to acute sinus infection. A viral “cold” that persists for 10 days or more may have become a bacterial sinus infection. With this infection you may notice increased post-nasal drip. If you suspect that you have a sinus infection, you should see your physician for antibiotic treatment.

Chronic sinusitis occurs when sinus blockages persist and the lining of the sinuses swell further. Polyps (growths in the nose) may develop with chronic sinusitis. Patients with polyps tend to have irritating, persistent post-nasal drip. Evaluation by an otolaryngologist may include an exam of the interior of the nose with a fiberoptic scope and CAT scan x-rays. If medication does not relieve the problem, surgery may be recommended.

Vasomotor rhinitis describes a nonallergic “hyperirritable nose” that feels congested, blocked, or wet.

Swallowing problems may result in accumulation of solids or liquids in the throat that may complicate or feel like post-nasal drip. When the nerve and muscle interaction in the mouth, throat, and food passage (esophagus) aren’t working properly, overflow secretions can spill into the voice box (larynx) and breathing passages (trachea and bronchi) causing hoarseness, throat clearing, or cough.

Several factors contribute to swallowing problems:

  • With age, swallowing muscles often lose strength and coordination. Thus, even normal secretions may not pass smoothly into the stomach.
  • During sleep, swallowing occurs much less frequently, and secretions may gather. Coughing and vigorous throat clearing are often needed when awakening.
  • When nervous or under stress, throat muscles can trigger spasms that feel like a lump in the throat. Frequent throat clearing, which usually produces little or no mucus, can make the problem worse by increasing irritation.
  • Growths or swelling in the food passage can slow or prevent the movement of liquids and/or solids.

Swallowing problems may be caused also by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This is a return of stomach contents and acid into the esophagus or throat. Heartburn, indigestion, and sore throat are common symptoms. GERD may be aggravated by lying down especially following eating. Hiatal hernia, a pouch-like tissue mass where the esophagus meets the stomach, often contributes to the reflux.

Post-nasal drip often leads to a sore, irritated throat. Although there is usually no infection, the tonsils and other tissues in the throat may swell. This can cause discomfort or a feeling of a lump in the throat. Successful treatment of the post-nasal drip will usually clear up these throat symptoms.

Treatment

A correct diagnosis requires a detailed ear, nose, and throat exam and possible laboratory, endoscopic, and x-ray studies. Each treatment is different:

Bacterial infection, when present, is treated with antibiotics. These drugs may provide only temporary relief. In cases of chronic sinusitis, surgery to open the blocked sinuses may be required.

Allergy is managed by avoiding the cause if possible. Antihistamines and decongestants, cromolyn and steroid (cortisone type) nasal sprays, and other forms of steroids may offer relief. Immunotherapy (allergy shots) also may be helpful. However, some older, sedating antihistamines may dry and thicken post-nasal secretions even more; newer nonsedating antihistamines, available by prescription only, do not have this effect. Decongestants can aggravate high blood pressure, heart, and thyroid disease. Steroid sprays generally may be used safely under medical supervision. Oral and injectable steroids rarely produce serious complications in short-term use. Because significant side-effects can occur, steroids must be monitored carefully when used for more than one week.

Gastroesophageal reflux is treated by elevating the head of the bed six to eight inches, avoiding foods and beverages for two to three hours before bedtime, and eliminating alcohol and caffeine from the daily diet. Antacids (e.g., Maalox®, Mylanta®, Gaviscon ®) and drugs that block stomach acid production (e.g., Zantac®, Tagamet®, Pepcid®) or more powerful medications may be prescribed. A trial treatment may be suggested before x-rays and other diagnostic studies are performed.

General measures for thinning secretions so they can pass more easily may be recommended when it is not possible to determine whether an existing structural abnormality is causing the post-nasal drip or if some other condition is to blame.

Many people, especially older persons, need more fluids to thin secretions. Drinking more water, eliminating caffeine, and avoiding diuretics (fluid pills) will help. Mucous-thinning agents such as guaifenesin (Humibid®, Robitussin®) may also thin secretions.

Nasal irrigations may alleviate thickened secretions. These can be performed two to four times a day either with a nasal douche device or a Water Pik® with a nasal irrigation nozzle. Warm water with baking soda or salt (1/2 to 1 tsp. to the pint) or Alkalol®, a nonprescription irrigating solution (full strength or diluted by half warm water), may be helpful. Finally, use of simple saline (salt) nonprescription nasal sprays (e.g., Ocean®, Ayr®, or Nasal®) to moisten the nose is often very beneficial.

Kentucky Ear, Nose and Throat

An increasing thin, clear secretion can be due to colds and flu, allergies, cold temperatures, bright lights, certain foods/spices, pregnancy and other hormonal changes. Various drugs including birth control pills and high blood pressure medications) and structural abnormalities such as an irregular nasal septum.
Increased thick secretions in the winter often result from a lack of moisture in heated buildings and homes. It can also result from sinus or nose infections and some allergies, especially to certain foods such as dairy products. If thin secretions become thick and green or yellow, it is likely that a bacterial sinus infection is developing. In children, thick secretions from one side of the nose can mean that something is stuck in the nose.
Sinuses drain into the nose through small openings. Blockages in the sinuses from swelling due to colds, flu, or allergies may lead to acute sinus infection. A viral cold that persists for 10 days or more may have become a bacterial sinus infection and you may notice increased post-nasal drip. If you suspect that you have a sinus infection, you should see your physician for antibiotic treatment.
Chronic sinusitis occurs when sinus blockages persist and the lining of the sinuses swell further. Polvps (growths in the nose) may develop with chronic sinusitis. Patients with polyps tend to have irritating, persistent post-nasal drip. Evaluation by an otolaryngologist may include an exam of the interior of the nose with a fiberoptic scope and CAT scan x-ravs. If medication does not relieve the problem, surgery may be necessary.

Swallowing Problems

Swallowing problems may result in accumulation of solids or liquids in the throat that may complicate feel like post-nasal drip. When the nerve and muscle interaction in the mouth, throat and esophagus aren’t working properly, overflow secretions can spill into the voice box (larynx) and breathing passages (trachea and bronchi) causing hoarseness, throat clearing or cough.
Several factors contribute to swallowing problems:

  • With age, swallowing muscles often lose strength and coordination. Thus, even normal secretions may not pass smoothly into the stomach.
  • During sleep, swallowing occurs much less frequently, and secretions may gather. Coughing and vigorous throat clearing are often needed when awakening.
  • When nervous or under stress, throat muscles can trigger spasms that feel like a lump in the throat. Frequent throat clearing, which usually produces little or no mucus, can make the problem worse by increasing irritation.
  • Growths or swelling in the food passage can slow or prevent the movement of liquids and/or solids.

Chronic Sore Throat

Post-nasal drip often leads to a sore, irritated throat. Although there is usally no infection, the tonsils and other tissues in the throat may swell. This can cause discomfort or a feeling of a lump in the throat. Successful treatment of the post-nasal drip will usually clear up these throat symptoms.
Treatment
A correct diagnosis requires a detailed ear, nose and throat exam and possible laboratory, endoscopic and X-ray studies. Each treatment is different:
Bacterial infection, when present, is treated with antibiotics. These drugs may provide our temporary relief. In cases of chronic sinusitis, surgery to open the hocked sinuses may he required.

Allergies are managed by avoiding allergens, if possible. Allergy shots, antihistamines and decongestants, cromolyn and steroid (cortisone type) nasal sprays and other forms of steroids may offer relief. Some older, sedating antihistamines may dry and thicken post-nasal secretions even more and newer non-sedating antihistamines, available by prescription only do not have this effect.

Gastroesophageal reflux is treated by elevating the head of the bed six to eight inches, avoiding foods and beverages for two to three hours before bedtime, and cutting alcohol and caffeine from the daily diet. Antacids (Maalox®, Mylanta®, Gaviscon ® ) and drugs that block stomach acid production (Zantac®, Tagamet®, Pepcid®) or more powerful medications may be prescribed. A trial treatment may be suggested before X-rays and other diagnostic studies are performed.

General measures for thinning secretions so they can pass more easily may be recommended when it is not possible to determine whether an existing structural abnormality is causing the post-nasal drip or if some other condition is to blame. Many people, especially the elderly, need more fluids to thin secretions. Drinking more water, eliminating caffeine and avoiding diuretics (fluid pills) will help. Mucus thinning agents such as guaifenesin (Humibid®, Robitussin®) may also thin secretions.

Nasal irrigations may alleviate thickened secretions. These can be performed two to four times a day either with a nasal douche device or a Water Pik® with a nasal irrigation nozzle. Warm water with baking soda or salt (1/2 to 1 tsp. to the pint) or Alkcalol®, a nonprescription irrigating solution, may be helpful. Finally, use of simple saline nonprescription nasal sprays (e.g., Ocean®, Ayr®, or Nasal®) to moisten the nose is often very beneficial.

The Basics of Post-Nasal Drip

  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections
  • Oral medications and sprays or allergy shots for allergies
  • Antacid medications for gastric reflux disease
  • Surgery for chronic sinus disease

Tips for Managing Post-Nasal Drip at Home

“Mild cases of post-nasal drip, without other symptoms, may be helped by over-the-counter medications,” advises Dolan. “These include antihistamines, decongestants, and mucus thinners. If these and other home remedies don’t help, a visit to the doctor is the next step.”

Here are some simple home remedies you can try:

  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Take a long, hot shower.
  • Use an over-the-counter saline nasal spray.
  • Gargle with salt water.
  • Use nasal irrigations made with water and salt or baking soda.

Keeping a healthy home environment can also cut down on your risk for post-nasal drip. Some tips include:

  • Wash hands frequently and wipe down countertops during cold and flu season.
  • Try to eliminate allergy-causing substances such as dust, mold, pollens, and pet dander from your home, especially the bedrooms.
  • Increase humidity in your home with a vaporizer or humidifier.

Post-nasal drip is a common complaint and is frequently accompanied by other symptoms such as stuffy nose, sore throat, and cough. When simple measures like over-the-counter medications and nasal irrigations don’t work, talk to your doctor. Common causes such as infection, allergy, and gastric reflux can often be treated successfully.

Postnasal drip

“There are several possible ways in which postnasal drip might be related to scleroderma. Nasal symptoms are common in scleroderma and probably reflect the effect of scleroderma on mucosal lining surfaces more generally. Although the mechanism is unclear, the amount and quality of mucosal secretions is usually reduced in scleroderma and leads to dryness of the mouth, eyes and the upper respiratory tract. This is one reason why scleroderma patients may notice a change or hoarseness of the voice.

“Scleroderma can cause a change in the lining of the nose which may also lead to a degree of inflammation or local infection and this may contribute to a postnasal drip. In addition, altered blood vessel and nerve regulation may be relevant. Increased blood supply to the nasal mucosa can lead to increased secretions and this could be associated with vascular instability as is seen in scleroderma. I would not recommend any specific medication without discussing it with your doctor, as some of these work by reducing nasal secretions and this might aggravate the symptoms rather than be helpful.”

Find out more about how to manage this and .

This is what our community said about postnasal drip

“I have scleroderma and Raynaud’s and in the winter I get constant postnasal drip especially at night – I’ve heard it is due to the nerves controlling blood flow to the nose lining.”

Do you ever get postnasal drip (the feeling that you need to constantly clear your throat, or swallow/ cough/ sore, scratchy throat) and what do you do to combat it?

Read what the Community said about this on HealthUnlocked.

Post-nasal drip

Self care for post-nasal drip

Treatments for post-nasal drip usually depend on the cause. However, there are several things you can do yourself to help improve the symptoms, no matter what the cause.

  • Use a saline (salt water) nasal spray. This can help flush the nose of allergens (substances that you are allergic to) and irritants and also thin mucus. Some people find that using a neti pot (carefully following the manufacturer’s instructions regarding use and cleaning) is a good way to wash out the nose.
  • Stay well hydrated to help thin mucus secretions. Drink plenty of fluids – water is the best choice for staying well hydrated. A warm drink of tea, broth or warm water with half a teaspoon of honey may help soothe your throat as well. Avoid anything that tends to dehydrate, such as alcohol and caffeine, as much as possible.
  • Try to work out what triggers your symptoms and avoid these triggers, if possible.

Treatment

Medicines and treatments will vary depending on the cause (or suspected cause) of your post-nasal drip. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter medicines, and ask about the possible side effects.

Allergic rhinitis

If allergic rhinitis is thought to be the cause of your post-nasal drip, antihistamine medicines will usually be recommended. These medicines can be taken as tablets or nasal sprays. A response to treatment helps confirm the diagnosis.

A nasal corticosteroid spray or a medicine called montelukast may also be recommended for allergic rhinitis. Montelukast (taken as tablets) is a leukotriene receptor antagonist – these medicines are also used to treat asthma.

Sometimes, decongestant nasal sprays or tablets may be recommended if other medicines have not relieved the symptoms. However, there are some risks with these medicines and they should only be used for a short time. In fact, overuse of nasal decongestant medicines can actually make symptoms worse, so don’t use them for more than a few days at a time.

If your post-nasal drip is due to allergic rhinitis and the allergen cannot easily be avoided or if the allergy symptoms are particularly severe and persistent, immunotherapy treatment might be recommended. This therapy is often very effective in desensitising people against particular allergens.

Rhinosinusitis

Rhinosinusitis can be treated with a saline nose spray or saline washouts (nasal irrigation).

Most acute cases of rhinosinusitis (those that come on quickly and don’t last long) are caused by a viral infection such as the common cold. Treatment includes painkillers to treat sinus headache, corticosteroid nasal spray and decongestant nasal sprays (which should not be used for more than 3 days). Antibiotics can be used to treat acute sinusitis that is caused by a bacterial infection.

If you have chronic (ongoing) rhinosinusitis and nasal polyps, nasal corticosteroid spray and possibly also a short course of corticosteroid tablets may be recommended. Nasal polyps can also be removed surgically.

Upper airway cough syndrome

Upper airway cough syndrome is treated with first-generation antihistamines (e.g. chlorpheniramine) and decongestant medicines (such as pseudoephedrine) taken as tablets. A response to treatment helps confirm the diagnosis. Decongestants should only be used for a short time.

Talk to your doctor if you are constantly clearing your throat or have an irritating cough. Finding out the cause of your symptoms and treating the cause should make you feel a lot more comfortable.

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Last Reviewed: 04/07/2018

myDr

Your nose is almost constantly producing mucus. In fact, it makes approximately a quart of it each day. Mucus performs necessary functions including trapping bacteria and moistening the airways, but overproduction can lead to some annoying side effects. Do you notice yourself coughing certain times of the day, or getting a scratchy throat? It could be post-nasal drip.

Most of the time, the excess liquid combines with saliva and drips down the back of your throat, and you don’t even notice. But when production of mucus increases, it can begin thicken and build up in the back of the throat.

Post-Nasal Drip Symptoms

The throat is most affected by post-nasal drip. The additional liquid in the throat may cause food and drinks to “stick” in the throat. Mucus can spill into the larynx and breathing passages and result in hoarseness, coughing, sneezing and frequent throat clearing.

Causes of Post-Nasal Drip

Post-nasal drip can be caused excess mucus production or the inability to clear it away. Since it is such a broad issue, there are several factors that can affect post-nasal drip, but the type of mucus that is being produced is a good indicator of what is causing the issue.

Thin Mucus

Thin and clear secretions do not typically cause much throat clearing, but can lead to coughing and hoarseness. Common causes of excess thin mucus production include:

  • The flu / common cold
  • Allergies
  • Cold temperatures
  • Hormonal changes
  • Birth control
  • High blood pressure medication

Thick Mucus

Thicker secretions tend to be most prevalent in the winter because of the dryness in the air and heating systems in homes and offices. This type of issue tends to result in frequent throat clearing and issues swallowing. Possible causes of thick mucus include:

  • Sinus infections
  • Nose allergies
  • Allergies to foods

If your mucus is green or yellow, that is often an indication that there is a problem that may require treatment from a physician. Dark yellow mucus can indicate a sinus infection or dehydration. Green mucus can also indicate your immune system fighting off an infection.

How do I Treat Post-Nasal Drip?

Since post-nasal drip is a broad issue with many causes, there are several types of treatment. Bacterial infections can be cleared up through the use of antibiotics, but the flu or a simple cold won’t respond to this type of treatment since they are caused by virus. In cases of a cold, flu, allergy or sinusitus, antihistamines and decongestants usually help alleviate symptoms. You can also do sinus rinses with saline solution or salt water, such as a Neti pot to clear away your sinuses from excess mucus.

To ensure that you receive the proper remedy, an examination by an Ear Nose & Throat doctor is highly recommended. Schedule an appointment with a physician at Coastal Ear, Nose & Throat by calling (912) 355-2335.

What’s to know about postnasal drip?

There are remedies available to treat postnasal drip, including:

Drying out the mucus

Over-the-counter decongestant medications such as phenylephrine (Sudafed PE Congestion) and pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) can help dry out the mucus. This works for many people but may not be right for everyone.

These medications can dry out the mucus, and some people may find that their nose feels too dry. Others find these medications make them feel nervous or dizzy and may avoid them for this reason.

Newer drugs, such as loratadine (Claritin) and cetirizine (Zyrtec) are called non-sedating antihistamines, meaning they are less likely to cause fatigue. This is especially beneficial for people who have to work or drive while dealing with postnasal drip.

Additional over-the-counter non-sedating antihistamine options include fexofenadine (Allegra) and levocetirizine (Xyzal).

Each of these medications comes with side effects and may interact with other medicines. A person should discuss new medications with a doctor or pharmacist before trying them.

Thinning the mucus

Another home remedy for postnasal drip involves thinning the mucus out. There are over-the-counter medications for this, such as guaifenesin (Mucinex), but there are also some non-chemical options.

Increasing the moisture in the air may help make postnasal drip thinner and allow it to move smoothly through the passageways. Using humidifiers or steam vaporizers may help relieve postnasal drip, especially if it associated with clogged sinuses.

Using nasal sprays

Saline nasal sprays or irrigation pots use salt water to flush out the mucus buildup. These options may help clear blocked airways and reduce overall mucus content.

Home remedies

Share on PinterestIf the symptoms of a postnasal drip get worse at night, elevating the head while sleeping may help.

A person can also try using home remedies to treat postnasal drip. These include:

Propping up the head

If the mucus buildup gets worse at night, people may find it helps to sleep with their head slightly higher than the rest of their body.

Propping a couple of pillows under the head and shoulders promotes drainage and reduces the amount of mucus a person feels in their throat and airways.

Drinking fluids

The body also loses water through a postnasal drip. Drinking plenty of liquids can help to thin mucus, keep the mucus flowing smoothly, and prevent dehydration.

Warm teas and broths may also provide relief from other symptoms, such as a sore throat, and the steam may help clear the sinuses.

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