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Postnasal drip is a pretty common issue that occurs when the mucosal membrane in the nose produces excessive mucus. It can turn out to be a very irritating situation to live with, and it can occur at any age.
Mucus is an important substance and is thick and wet. It keeps your nasal membrane moist and clean. It also humidifies the air in your respiratory tract. It is extremely vital to trap infectious microbes and foreign materials.
Home Remedies for Postnasal Drip
The good news is that there are plenty of ways of treating and managing postnasal drip with simple remedies.
1. Consume chicken soup
You may have heard how people bring chicken soup when visiting sick loved ones. This is because it is a famous remedy for symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.
A study tested the effectiveness of chicken soup in the inhibition of neutrophil migration, which may be necessary for controlling postnasal drip. Chicken soup was found to have a mild anti-inflammatory effect, which causes mitigation of upper respiratory tract infections. (1)(2)
2. Perform nasal irrigation
Nasal irrigation is a commonly used remedy or added treatment for nasal diseases.
According to a research study, regular nasal irrigation can be an effective way of treating nasal congestion and decreases the occurrences of postnasal drip. It also improves the pain associated with sinusitis. (3)
How to perform nasal irrigation:
- Add salt to a cup of warm water and fill a neti pot with this solution.
- Stand over a sink and tilt your head to one side and put the solution in one of your nostrils.
- Move your head around so that solution reaches the nasal cavities.
- Blow your nose to remove the excess mucus.
- Repeat on the other nostril.
3. Try out steam inhalation
In a 2021 study, steam inhalation significantly reduced nasal symptoms. Steam inhalation improved nasal airflow, volume, and the cross-sectional area of the affected study participants, thereby improving nasal symptoms. (4)
4. Elevate your head by 6–8 inches
Postnasal drip that occurs due to gastroesophageal reflux can be managed by elevating the head of your bed by 6–8 inches using a pillow.
Also, if your GERD leads to postnasal drip, avoid eating anything at least 3 hours before bed and eliminate caffeine from your diet. (5)
5. Use a humidifier or ensure proper air-conditioning at home
Very dry air or low humidity in the home can affect the vaporizing action of the nose, which is necessary to keep away postnasal drip.
This is because dry air can negatively impact your nasal cilia and the blood flow to the pharynx and also increases the consistency of the nasal mucus. This causes the accumulation of viscous secretion, leading to postnasal drip.
So, it is highly critical to use a humidifier or ensure proper air-conditioning at home. (6)
6. Inhale eucalyptus essential oil
Eucalyptus oil has antimicrobial effects against many bacteria that affect the respiratory tract. Moreover, vapor inhalation of this oil can be beneficial for both purulent and nonpurulent respiratory issues such as: (7)
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
The clearing of mucus is an important defense mechanism of the airways, delivering protection against pathogens and toxins. But its overproduction can be seen in many inflammatory diseases.
Research reveals that when eucalyptus oil is inhaled, 1, 8-cineol, a major constituent of Eucalyptus globulus or simply eucalyptus essential oil, can reduce airway inflammation and related mucus secretions. This effect is helpful in controlling postnasal drip. (8)
How to use essential oils for postnasal drip:
- Put 12–15 drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a diffuser or humidifier and turn it on as you would normally do. This can help clear your airways.
- You can also put 10–15 drops of eucalyptus essential oil in boiling water for steam inhalation. Cover yourself and the water with eucalyptus essential oil with a cloth as you breathe in the steam.
How to Prevent and Manage Postnasal Drip?
- Take your allergy medicine on time regularly, if required.
- Keep your home clean and use an air purifier.
- Maintain a clean bed and pillows.
- Shower after coming back from a dusty or new place.
- Change air filters in your AC and ventilation systems.
- Drink warm liquids such as tea and soup.
- Blow your nose frequently to remove any excess mucus.
- Throw away used tissues to avoid the spread of diseases.
- Rest till you feel better to avoid overexertion.
- Maintain adequate humidity in your room.
- Steer clear of pollutants and allergens.
- Quit smoking, and avoid passive smoke.
- Suck on lozenges to soothe your throat irritation.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Most-Asked Questions About Postnasal Drip
Why do the nose and throat produce mucus?
The glands in your nose and throat produce mucus to:
- Fight infections caused by microbes
- Moisten the membranes of your nose
- Filter out dust and other foreign particles
What medicines can cause postnasal drip?
Postnasal drip can be caused by the following medications:
- Blood pressure medicines [antihypertensives]
- Birth control pills
How is postnasal drip diagnosed?
Diagnosing postnasal drip includes tests and examinations that depend on your symptoms to verify what’s causing it. These tests can include:
- ENT examination
- A review of your family history and medical history
The glands in your nose produce mucus continuously to moisten and clean the nasal lining. The mucus traps any foreign matter and fights infection. This mucus is swallowed unconsciously, but sometimes a feeling of mucus dripping from the back of your nose can be felt, known as postnasal drip.
Postnasal drip can be managed easily with OTC medications and remedies and is usually nothing to worry about. Learning to live with this problem can take time but, once on track, can prove to be very helpful.