Post-nasal drip is something mentioned everywhere, from your doctor’s office to TV, but people don’t often explain exactly what it is. Today’s blog is here to help with that.
Mucus is a substance that helps protect your body from viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders. Your nose makes about a quart of mucus a day. Normally you don’t notice it because it drips harmlessly down the back of your throat. However, if your body is producing more than normal, or its thicker than normal, it becomes more noticeable. If it comes out your nostrils, you have a runny nose. If it runs down the back of your nose and into your throat, you have postnasal drip.
Postnasal drip has a variety of causes, including colds, the flu, sinus infection, and allergies. You can also get it from some medications, objects in the nose, chemical fumes, changing weather, acid reflux, and some foods. Some people, particularly older patients, experience it when they’re eating, in a condition called vasomotor rhinitis, CEENTA ENT doctor Mark Abrams, MD, said. Even pregnancy can cause this symptom.
You may feel liquid running down the back of your throat. You also may have a cough, hoarseness, and a scratchy, itchy, or even sore throat. You may also feel nauseous or find yourself coughing up more mucus.
Fortunately, there are many ways to treat this symptom drip at home. An over-the-counter decongestant or antihistamine can help eliminate the mucus. Similarly, a nasal spray can flush out the mucus or help clear blocked airways. Dr. Abrams also recommends using NeilMed Sinus Rinse. Patients with vasomotor rhinitis are often treated with Atrovent.
You can also try to drink more water, since that will help thin out the mucus. If you have a humidifier, try running it, since it will counteract the dry air that could be worsening your postnasal drip. Avoid irritants like cigarette smoke as much as possible. If your drip is related to allergies, try to avoid the allergens, too.
You could also try sleeping with your head propped, since it will help your nose drain and reduce mucus in your throat and airway.
People with discolored or foul-smelling mucus, have postnasal drip lasting longer than 10 days, or have other symptoms like a fever should see a doctor, since these are signs of an infection or other illness.
Postnasal drip is nothing to sniff at, but you can breathe easy knowing it can be an easy condition to treat.
This blog is for
informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult
Dr. Abrams practices in our Rock Hill office. To make an appointment with him or a CEENTA ENT doctor near you, call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.
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