On an average every individual catches a cold atleast 200 times throughout lifetime. Children are prone to catch a cold more easily than elders, typically experiencing cold virus induced conditions atleast 8 times every year. Resultantly, phlegm forms in the throat, causing discomfort in routine activities and a nasal voice. One of the most common questions is – how to get rid of phlegm in throat? – indicating the number of individuals experiencing phlegm buildup. Here is a lucid and detailed explanation of the best methods to clear your throat of the phlegm that builds up due to one of many conditions.
What causes the formation of phlegm and how to get rid of phlegm in throat?
Mucus is an essential and protective substance produced in the human body. On an average the human body produces around one litre of mucus every day – this slippery substance traps irritants, and fights infections. The mucus produced in the lower respiratory tract and the lungs is called phlegm. Phlegm is produced when the individual has an infection or condition that impacts the lungs or respiratory tract – either directly or indirectly. The most common conditions for formation of phlegm is the common cold or flu. With that background information behind us, it is time to answer the question – how to get rid of phlegm in throat?
Simple methods and remedies for managing phlegm in the throat
There are simple remedies that can be used for managing phlegm in the throat. The effectiveness of the method will depend on the reason for the formation of the phlegm. Therefore, the best way to get rid of phlegm will be to determine the underlying condition that causes the formation of the phlegm. This will be a better answer the question – how to get rid of phlegm in throat? Here is a look at the simple and effective remedies and methods for getting rid of phlegm from the throat.
There are basically four different options that can be used for managing the phlegm in the throat.
#1 Consuming the right kind of foods/beverages to improve the health of the respiratory system
Among the measures that are considered as effectively answering the question, how to get rid of phlegm in throat – food and beverage intake is an important consideration.
· Certain food products can trigger allergies that are similar to seasonal allergies. Consequently, you may experience symptoms such as a running nose, an itching throat and build-up of phlegm in the throat. It is necessary to identify the food products that trigger the allergies and avoid the food that triggers the conditions.
· Caffeine and alcohol are known to cause dehydration and this can aggravate the condition. When phlegm and mucus are excessively produced, it is necessary to increase intake of fluids. Consumption of alcohol and caffeine will work against this, and it is therefore important to intake warm fluids that are free from caffeine.
· Consumption of fiber rich fruit is a good remedy, and is known to have a positive impact on respiratory health. Studies have identified soy food products as having a good impact on respiratory health.
· One of the contributing reasons for phlegm is acid reflux and GERD. This in turn is aggravated by certain food products that cause conditions commonly known as heartburn. It is essential to identify the food products that cause or aggravate the condition and avoid the same.
#2 Taking a course of prescription medications
Prescription medications are also an answer to the question how to get rid of phlegm in throat but are to be relied upon, only conditions persist.
· Prescription medications are an effective way to control phlegm, but are typically considered when other options do not work or if the underlying conditions require medication. For instance, certain conditions may cause the formation of phlegm and medications will help to control the conditions.
· Other medications with desired mechanism of actions are used for specific conditions. For instance, individuals with a chronic lung condition such as cystic fibrosis are often prescribed medications such as Pulmozyme to reduce the thickness of the mucus.
· Similarly, nebulization with hypertonic saline is also used in some cases for increasing saline content in the airways. This is a safe option prescribed for ages 6 or more, and offers temporary relief from the symptoms.
#3 Moisturizing the atmosphere in the residence or workplace and increasing fluid intake
· Atmospheric conditions are important for respiratory health and dry air that is devoid of moisture or with less humidity causes irritation in the throat and nose. This results in the formation of more phlegm. It is necessary to reduce the humidify the atmosphere and ensure that the throat and nose are not exposed to dry air. Use a humidifier in the residence and at the workplace to prevent the atmosphere from causing dry conditions in the throat and nose.
· Increased fluid intake is necessary to ensure that the mucus is not thick. By consuming more liquids, the consistency of the mucus is thin and this will result in drainage of the phlegm. Individuals with conditions that are triggered by seasonal allergies are advised to drink sufficient water to prevent congestion of the passageways.
#4 Relying on home remedies and OTC medication
· Whenever it is necessary to quickly increase the moisture levels in the throat and nose, you can inhale through a warm and wet washcloth. By using a warm, damp washcloth for inhalation, you will increase the moisture levels in the throat faster and this will help relieve pain. In combination with other remedial measures, this will help to alleviate eh condition and reduce congestion.
· Slight change in posture for relief is another option when the congestion is heavy. For instance, individuals experiencing high mucus flow or movement are likely to feel discomfort stemming from the phlegm that collects at the back of the throat. By increasing the elevation of the head, it is possible to experience relief from this experience. This can be achieved by resting on a reclining char with the head elevated or by increasing the height of the head by propping on one or two pillows on the bed.
· Cough is a natural way of purging the lungs and the throat of phlegm. The use of cough syrups and suppressants will impact this action and it is necessary to use cough syrups only when it is necessary or if the cough is causing acute discomfort. Coughing helps to free the lungs and the throat of the secretions and controlling your coughing will work against this natural action of the body.
· Many individuals try to get over misconceptions of embarrassment by swallowing phlegm instead of spitting it out. Phlegm rises from the lungs to the back of the throat and to the mouth. The best option is to spit it out, rather than trying to swallow it. Due to social conditions and occasions, most individuals tend to swallow phlegm, which is not a healthy habit.
· The use of a nasal spray is a good option to clear the nose and the sinus of phlegm. However, it is important to choose nasal sprays that contain sodium chloride, and ensure that you use only distilled water/sterile water when clearing the passage. This will help to clear the allergens and the phlegm from the nose and drain the sinuses.
· One of the best remedies is to repeatedly gargle with salt water. Use one teaspoon of salt with one glass (approximately 200 ml) of warm water to deep gargle. Repeating this many times during the day will help to ease the congestion and reduce the phlegm in the throat and nose. This is an effective and simple home remedy that is actually the basis for saline sprays.
· Smoking is one of the reasons for irritation and triggers the production of phlegm and mucus. It is important to stop smoking when there is increased amount of phlegm in the throat, or if allergies are worsening. It is also important to stay away from smoking zones to avoid inhaling passive smoke which has the same effect as that of smoking.
· The oil of eucalyptus has been used for ages to treat cough and bring down the mucus. Topical application of eucalyptus oil on the chest or the addition of a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a diffuser helps to clear the nasal passages of phlegm.
· Steam inhalation is considered as an effective method for loosening the mucus and to clear the nose and throat. You could either inhale steam from a small vessel or you could also take a hot bath. If you have a compact bathroom, you leave hot water in the bathroom that leaves off steam and you could spend time inhaling the steam, before taking a bath. This will loosen the phlegm and help in faster draining.
While mucus by itself is a protective substance required in the body, discolored mucus is an indication of a bacterial infection. This requires to be managed, either through prescription medications, OTC remedies or home base remedies. Increased phlegm in the throat alongwith other symptoms may be an indication of other illnesses and it may then be necessary to seek medication attention if conditions persist.