Post nasal drip means the sinuses make excess mucus that runs down the back of your throat, and it can cause a chronic cough known as upper airway cough syndrome (UACS). While it’s usually not dangerous, it can be an annoyance. Here are five ways to manage a post nasal drip cough so you can get on the road to health.
Identify and Avoid Allergens
The body responds to allergens by producing mucus to flush it out. As a result, it causes bothersome symptoms such as a runny nose and itchy throat. Some examples of common allergens and irritants are:
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
- Cleaning products
Once you’ve identified the culprits, it’s best to avoid them. Frequently wash bedsheets, clear clutter that collects dust, use special air filters, and remove carpets if possible. Additionally, you can prevent a reaction when you know you’ll come in contact with an allergen. For example, take an antihistamine before visiting a friend with pets.
Manage Post Nasal Drip Cough With Medication
There is a slew of over-the-counter and prescription medications that may help treat post nasal drip cough. The cause of the post nasal drip determines what treatment will work best.
- Oral or nasal decongestant reduces inflammation, swelling, and mucus formation within the nasal passages.
- Expectorants thin mucus and may reduce irritation in the throat.
- Antihistamine for allergies.
- Steroids help reduce swelling, pain, and irritation due to inflammation.
Many doctors may start treatment with a mucus thinning medication to relieve congestion from a cold, the flu, or allergies.
Oral or intranasal steroids may also help. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy properties. A steroid nasal spray starts working within a few hours, but it may take a few days to relieve a cough. Some steroids may cause more side effects than others, but it’s the most effective option for many.
An oral antihistamine may stop a cough due to allergies. It helps relieve runny nose, sneezing, and nose or throat itching from upper respiratory allergies. And less mucus means less irritation and coughing. Another option is a nasal spray with an antihistamine.
Some antihistamines may cause drowsiness. These work best if taken at night. But if you need to stay awake, try a non-sedating option.
Keep in mind that some medications contain painkillers or work best in conjunction with others. It’s also crucial to read the label and avoid taking too much of any active ingredient. Above all, the long-term use of some medications may cause significant side effects. Always speak to your doctor or pharmacists before taking new medication.
Alleviate Post Nasal Drip Cough at Home
There are several home remedies you can try to ease the trickle of mucus that irritates the throat.
Have you ever heard of eating chicken soup for a cold? Well, it’s sound advice to follow for post nasal drip, too. But it doesn’t have to be soup. Any liquid, specifically warm liquid, may help thin mucus and help keep you hydrated.
Rinse Your Sinuses
Rinsing your nasal cavity is possibly the simplest and most effective remedy for clearing out excess mucus, especially if your symptoms are from allergies or pollution.
You can buy a prepackaged saline solution or mix it up yourself. But make sure to use only distilled, filtered, or boiled water(after it has cooled). Otherwise, you risk infection.
A hot steamy shower is another simple way to loosen and clear mucus from the back of your throat. It also helps moisturize nasal cavities. Put a few drops of eucalyptus oil on the shower floor to help clear the sinuses.
Sleep on Propped up Pillows
Propping the head of your bed up about six to eight inches can help keep the mucus from collecting at the back of your throat. Besides, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux could also cause a cough. Raising the head of your bed ensures stomach acid flows down, not up towards the throat, while you sleep.
Avoid Post Nasal Drip Cough Triggers
Food can sometimes trigger excess mucus production or aggravate GERD symptoms. By reducing or avoiding these triggers, you may cough less. The most common triggers include anything fried or high in fat, as well as coffee, citrus fruits, chocolate, alcohol, and peppermint.
Dairy products like milk and cheese may worsen a cough. While there’s no conclusive evidence supporting this theory, patients claim giving up or cutting back on dairy helps reduce mucus and therefore coughing.
If more traditional treatments fail, you may need surgery because of structural problems with the nose and sinuses. Your doctor may refer you to an ear-nose-throat specialist to perform the surgery.
Post nasal drip may linger for months, and it’s amongst the most common reasons for chronic cough. But once you’ve identified the cause, you can try various treatments that may help reduce your cough.
What remedies and treatments do you use to reduce post nasal drip? Share your tips in the comment section below!