How to get rid of phlegm in throat
Phlegm, also known as throat mucus, is the uncomfortable sensation that you experience when mucus blocks up your throat or drops from the back of your nose. The glands of our throat and nose are said to produce about 1 to 2 liters of mucus every day.
The mucus in our throat has several important functions. It lines the nasal passages and moistens them, fights infections and humidifies air, traps foreign particles, and stops those particles from filtering into the respiratory system. Most of the times we swallow the mucus but we aren’t even aware of it.
A little mucus in throat usually is not a big issue. When you have a chronic problem, and ask people for suggestions, they mostly say it is due to allergies.
Since your upper respiratory system is very close to the opening to your digestive system, mucus in the throat is either the secretion of your stomach, or from your nose and sinuses. Your throat tissue also secretes mucus to keep it moist. In case you have persistent excessive mucus, you should continue reading further.
Symptoms of Throat Mucus & Phlegm
- Coughing of Mucus & Phlegm
- Throat Congestion
- Shortness of Breath
Causes of Phlegm in throat
- Post Nasal Drip: It occurs when excessive amount of mucus is collected in the nose and throat. This creates phlegm and causes coughing. Phlegm usually builds up in the throat overnight, which leads to clogging of the throat in the morning.
- Cold or Flu: Clear, thin mucus is produced in the nose and back of the throat when you have a cold or flu. After your body starts reacting to the virus, the thin mucus becomes thick and it turns green or yellow.
- Seasonal Allergies: Several people suffer from seasonal allergies annually. The symptoms of seasonal allergies are usually coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, and throat mucus. Unlike in a cold, all these symptoms will occur all at once. Various allergens are responsible for these symptoms. Tree and flower pollen are major causes of seasonal allergies.
- Foods: No matter our love for food, some foods can cause throat mucus. Dairy products like milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt and butter, contribute to cause excess mucus in the throat. These food items are constituted with protein molecules (casein). This molecule increase secretions of mucus. Caffeine, salt, sugar, teas, (especially black tea), all create excess mucus. Out of all the plant products, soy creates the most amount of mucus. People who give up dairy products and meat and switch to soy, are more prone to accumulation of excess unhealthy mucus in their throat.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, many women experience the symptoms of nasal clogging, sneezing and coughing. These symptoms are quite common almost as common as backaches and morning sickness. Estrogen is known to increase the production of mucus and cause the mucus to get very thick or thin.
When Is Excessive Throat Mucus a Problem?
A mucus build up is not that huge of a problem. However, if you have the following conditions, it is better if you consult a doctor.
- Thin and clear Mostly, thin, clear secretions usually signify allergies or a cold. However, sometimes it could be a medication reaction, or a reaction to a certain food you have been eating. It can also be a sign of an irregularity in the nasal passage or a deviated septum.
- Thick and colored If your mucus is really thick, it means that you are very dry. Dry air and heating systems can thicken mucus and make you uncomfortable. If your mucus is yellow, green, or tan in color, it could signify a bacterial infection.
- Rattling sound in chest If you have a problem with swallowing, some of the accumulated mucus could be ripping down to your chest. This sometimes results in rattling sensation in your chest which can lead to a condition called, aspiration pneumonia.
- Burning sensation If you have a burning sensation in your throat or feel heartburn, there may be a chance that you have Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
Tips to Remove Excess Mucus
You can try the following easy ways to get rid of excess mucus from your throat:
- Cough out the mucus or phlegm
- Blow your nose
- Increase fluid intake
- Salt water gargle
- Eucalyptus oil in steamy water (Hold your head over a bowl of steamy water and cover with a towel and inhale the vapor)
- Avoid dairy
- Drink hot tea with honey
- Use a humidifier in your room
- Avoid chemical cleaners and stay away from irritants like paint fumes or molds
- Quit smoking
- Eat spicier things like wasabi, hot chili, and garlic
- Medicines like decongestants to prevent build-up, use of OTC expectorants, antihistamines for allergies
Treatment phlegm in throat
Inhaling steam is the best way to eliminate phlegm from your throat. You can use any of the following measures:
- Take a steam shower daily. Turn your heat to the maximum and stay in the bathroom for ten minutes. The heat will help to break up the mucus. Since heat absorbs all your body oils and moisture, use moisturizer in your body after the shower.
- You can even pour hot boiling water in a large bowl and hold a towel or a large cloth over your head. Inhale the steam for at least five minutes. You can repeat this procedure several times a day.
2. Salt Water
Gargling with warm water and salt everyday is another easy way of treating phlegm. Warm water is great for soothing throat and salt helps reduce the bacteria that maybe producing the mucus. Take a glass of warm water and add a pinch of salt in it. Gargle with the solution and repeat it several times in a day.
3. Lemon Juice
Lemon might be the best ingredient for loosening mucus and phlegm in the throat. Lemons have antibacterial property as well as high vitamin C content. This helps to improve your body’s tolerance to infections.
Take a glass of hot water and add two teaspoons of lemon juice and one tablespoon of honey in it. Drink it at least twice a day to soothe your throat and reduce the production of phlegm.
You can also cut a slice of lemon and add salt and pepper on it and suck on the lemon slice. It will help to bring the phlegm out of your throat. You can repeat twice or thrice a day.
Ginger is a natural medication and has been used to treat throat and respiratory tract infections for a very long time.
The antiviral and antibacterial properties that is present in ginger ease clogging in the chest and throat to help you breathe easily.
Take a cup of boiled water and add a tablespoon of freshly sliced ginger. Soak for a few minutes and add two tablespoons of honey. Drink this ginger tea several times a day to help soothe your throat.
If you want, you can even chew raw ginger and add ginger n the food you eat.
Turmeric contains antiseptic properties that help in killing the bacteria that cause excessive mucus production. Also, turmeric also strengthens the immune system.
Take a glass of hot milk and add a teaspoon of turmeric in it. Drink it twice a day, in the morning and before going to bed.
Alternatively, you can swallow half a teaspoon of turmeric with a glass of water several times a day.
6. Chicken Soup
Warm chicken soup also helps in treating phlegm. It will create moisture the airways and the consistency of the phlegm becomes thinner. It will even soothe your irritated throat and bring relaxation.
Have chicken soup at least twice a day and for better results, you can add ginger or garlic in the soup. Homemade soup is always better than canned soup.
Honey is rich in antibacterial, anti viral and antifungal properties. These properties make honey a very effective way to soothe throat and eliminate phlegm. It also has antiseptic properties and thus will help boost the immune system to fight off infections faster.
Carrots are rich sources of vitamin C. They consist of powerful antioxidants that can boost the immune system and build protection against various infections. Carrots are full of vitamins and nutrients that can be of help to reduce cough symptoms and phlegm.
Blend four to five fresh carrots and extract the juice and add a little water in it. Add a spoon or two of honey and mix well. Drink it throughout the day to free your throat of phlegm
These simple remedies can be beneficial for you the next time you suffer from the annoying problem of phlegm.
Prevention of Phlegm in throat
- To loosen phlegm and thin mucus, drink at least eight glasses of water. Drinking enough water is useful for your overall health
- To prevent mucus from draining into your throat, blow your nose frequently
- Use warm water and salt and gargle every day
- Avoid food that includes dairy products, meat or fried food. This increases mucus production
- Drink hot liquids as it helps to moisten the airways and disperse the mucus
- Hot chili pepper, horseradish and spicy food helps to loosen mucus
- Do not expose yourself to irritants and stop smoking as it irritates the throat and in turn worsens the respiratory conditions