How to Get Rid of Phlegm: Home Remedies, Meds, Tips, and Medications to Try
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A number of treatments, including maintaining a healthy level of hydration, making use of a humidifier, and taking over-the-counter decongestants, can help alleviate the discomfort caused by an excessive amount of phlegm in the throat or chest.
What are the factors that lead to phlegm in the throat?
When you have a cold or the flu, you may notice that there is a thick, sticky substance in the back of your throat. This is phlegm. At the very least, that is when the majority of individuals become aware of it. But you probably weren’t aware that you constantly produce mucus.
Phlegm is produced by the mucous membranes of your body in order to protect and support your respiratory system. These membranes line your:
mouth \snose \sthroat \ssinuses \slungs
Since mucus is sticky, it has the ability to bind particles such as dust, allergies, and viruses. When you are healthy, the mucus is watery and difficult to detect since it is thinner. Phlegm can become thicker and more apparent when a person is unwell or when they are exposed to an excessive amount of particles since the phlegm is able to capture the foreign elements.
Phlegm is a natural and necessary component of your respiratory system; however, if it causes you discomfort, there are techniques to lessen its thickness or eliminate it altogether.
Keep reading to find out about various natural treatments, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, and instances in which you might need to consult a medical professional.
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1. Add moisture to the atmosphere
Keeping the air around you moist can assist in maintaining a thin layer of mucus. You may have heard that steam can clear phlegm and congestion, but there is not much scientific basis for this theory. If you want to clear your congestion and phlegm, try taking a hot shower.
You might use a humidifier that produces a cold mist instead of steam. This humidifier is safe to use continuously throughout the day. It is important to remember to clean your humidifier and replace the water in it every day in accordance with the directions provided on the product packaging.
2. Make sure you stay warm and hydrated.
Consuming an adequate amount of liquids, particularly warm liquids, can facilitate the discharge of mucus.
The movement of mucus is assisted by liquids such as water and other liquids, which can help remove congestion. You could try drinking liquids like juice, soup, or broth that is clear. Tea without caffeine, warm fruit juice, and water with lemon are three other excellent beverage options.
It is not acceptable for your beverages to be the only thing that is warm. You ought to be as well! Maintaining a warm body temperature is a simple and effective home treatment for easing irritation in the respiratory system. When your core temperature is higher, your immune system is better able to fight off illnesses like the common cold that generate an overproduction of mucus. This is due to the fact that your body temperature is higher.
There are a variety of ways to keep warm, including:
showers at a warm temperature dressed in thicker gear to ward off the chilly temperatures
putting on some extra blankets and snuggling up in bed.
3. Consume substances that are beneficial to respiratory health.
You might want to try eating and drinking things that contain lemon, ginger, and garlic. Even though there isn’t much data to back it up, a poll that was conducted in 2018 revealed that these may help treat colds, coughs, and excess mucus.
Spicy foods that contain capsaicin, like cayenne or chili peppers, may also help temporarily clear the sinuses and start the mucus moving. This is because capsaicin is a component of spicy meals.
According to research published in 2016 by Trusted Source, the following foods and supplements may help in the treatment of some viral respiratory infections and may also minimize the risk of developing those diseases:
ginseng roots licorice roots berries of licorice
You could also be curious about the time-honored remedy that a lot of people turn to when they’re sick: chicken soup. Does it also assist in clearing the chest of phlegm? There is evidence to imply the answer is yes.
Some people find that drinking chicken soup helps them recover from colds faster and eliminates extra mucus. This is due to the fact that chicken soup slows down the movement of neutrophils in your body. White blood cells known as neutrophils are responsible for warding off infections. When they move more slowly, they spend a longer amount of time in the parts of your body where the infection is present.
In general, additional research is required to verify the benefits of these foods; nonetheless, the majority of individuals can safely experiment with including these components in their diets.
If you are already taking any prescribed drugs, you should consult your physician before introducing any novel components into your diet.
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4. Gargle salt water or use saline
Gargling with warm salt water may be helpful in clearing mucus from the back of your throat. It might even assist to ease the discomfort of a sore throat.
Gargling with salt water can be done easily by following these steps:
Combine one cup of water with one-half to three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt. The most effective solvent is warm water because it can dissolve salt more rapidly. In addition to this, it is recommended that you drink water that has been filtered or that has been bottled, as this type of water does not contain irritating chlorine.
Take a small sip of the liquid while tilting your head back at a very modest angle.
Instead of swallowing the liquid, simply let it run down your throat.
Gargle for thirty to sixty seconds, then spit out the water after gently blowing air up from your lungs while gargling.
It is necessary to repeat.
Saline is a simpler and more effective alternative to gargling salt water that can be used to thin phlegm if you do not wish to gargle salt water. Saline is a saltwater solution that can be used as a nasal spray or in a neti pot. You can use saline in either of these devices. It is a natural technique to clean up mucus and congestion in the sinuses, and it is accessible over the counter.
After using a saline solution on a regular basis for more than a week, according to research that was published in 2018Trusted Source, the thickness of mucus begins to decrease.
5. Use eucalyptus oil
It is possible that using eucalyptus essential oil will assist in clearing out excessive mucus in your chest. It does this by breaking up the mucus in your lungs, making it easier for you to cough it up. On the other hand, if you suffer from a persistent cough, the eucalyptus may help to alleviate your symptoms.
You can use a balm that contains this substance, or you can use a diffuser to inhale the vapor that the diffuser produces.
The FDA does not monitor or control the purity or quality of essential oils, despite the fact that research suggests they may have positive effects on health. Before beginning the use of essential oils, you should have a discussion with a trained medical expert first, and you should also do research on the quality of the goods offered by each business. Before testing a new essential oil, you should always perform a patch test first.
6. Make use of medicines available without a prescription
You could also try over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. For instance, decongestants have the ability to reduce the amount of mucus that drains from your nose. Although it is not technically phlegm, the mucus in question can cause chest tightness. Decongestants work by lowering swelling in your nose and opening up your airways so that you can breathe more easily.
Oral decongestants are available in the form of the following:
tablets or pills liquids or syrups flavored powders
In addition, there are a lot of different decongestant nasal sprays that you can buy.
Mucus can be made thinner with medications such as guaifenesin (Mucinex), which can be taken to prevent it from collecting in the chest or the back of the throat. This particular prescription is known as an expectorant, which means that it facilitates the process of coughing up mucus by reducing its viscosity and making it more fluid.
This over-the-counter remedy, on average, will last for 12 hours, but you should follow the recommendations on the packaging. There is a children’s version available for youngsters older than 4 years old.
Eucalyptus oil is typically included in chest rubs like Vicks VapoRub and is used to alleviate coughs and, in some cases, eliminate phlegm. You can apply it to your upper chest, neck, and shoulders anywhere from one to three times per day. The full-strength version of Vicks should not be given to children under the age of three; however, the manufacturer does provide a baby-strength formulation.
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7. Consider the use of prescribed drugs.
Your physician may recommend medications to treat the underlying causes of your symptoms if they determine that you have a certain illness or infection. If you suffer from a persistent lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis, there are certain drugs that help reduce the thickness of your mucus.
Nebulized hypertonic saline is a medication that is administered to the patient via inhalation. Because it is more concentrated than a saline solution available over-the-counter, it often proves to be more efficient. The increased concentration of salt in your respiratory tract is the key to its efficacy. It is available in a variety of intensities, and it can be applied to individuals aged 6 and up.
The therapy with hypertonic saline only gives brief relief and is associated with a number of potential side effects, including the following:
a hacking cough, painful throat, and chest pain
Patients diagnosed with cystic fibrosis frequently make use of the mucus-thinning drug known as Dornase-Alfa (Pulmozyme). Nebulizers allow for easy inhalation of the substance. Additionally, it is appropriate for people of age 6 and up.
While you are on this drug, you can experience a rash or perhaps lose your voice. Other adverse effects include the following:
throat discomfort fever dizziness
When you should go see your physician.
Phlegm that is excessive or particularly thick from time to time is typically not a cause for alarm. Because it has gathered and become dry during the previous night, you might notice it in the morning. It’s possible that you’ll be more aware of your phlegm if you’re sick, if you suffer from seasonal allergies, or if you’re dehydrated.
If you find that you are experiencing uncomfortable phlegm on a frequent basis, you may consider scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician. A phlegm accumulation may be the result of a number of different health issues, including the following:
acid reflux allergies
disease of cystic fibrosis (although this condition is usually diagnosed early in life)
lung disorders such as chronic bronchitis and others
If you’ve been having trouble with your phlegm for more than a month, you should make an appointment with your primary care physician. Notify your primary care physician if you experience any of the following additional symptoms:
a hacking cough Pain in the chest from blood
a wheezing sound in the chest and shortness of breath
It is imperative that you keep in mind that mucus is constantly being produced by the body. When you have a lot of mucus in your nose and throat, it’s usually a sign that your body is fighting off an infection, whether it be a cold, allergies, or something more serious.
There is a wide variety of medications and treatments that can be adapted to accommodate varying degrees of severity and personal preferences. Medications available over-the-counter (OTC) and home treatments are also excellent places to begin.
Even though there is not a substantial amount of data on the efficacy of many home remedies, the vast majority of individuals shouldn’t have any need to be concerned about using them. On the other hand, over-the-counter (OTC) saline solutions and drugs have been the subject of research and have shown to be effective in many instances.
In most circumstances, severe cases of excessive mucus can be managed with medication that has been given by a doctor.
Even though excessive mucus is generally treatable at home, you should still see a doctor if any of the following apply to you:
You are concerned about the amount of phlegm that you have, and the amount of phlegm that you have significantly risen
You are experiencing other symptoms that are causing you concern.