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Dealing with Post-nasal Drip

Did you ever take notice of times when you had a runny nose that was accompanied by a tickle in the back of your throat which triggered you to cough or clear your throat? That is probably post-nasal drip following an allergy, upper airway infection (i.e., common cold), inhalation of irritants in the air (i.e., fumes or dust) or even an exposure to a cold and dry weather.

Regardless of the cause, the problem with post-nasal drip is the steady trickle of mucus from the back of the nose that irritates the throat, a nagging cough or other symptoms. While post-nasal drip as a symptom of an upper airway condition is very common, there are several things that a person can do to deal with post-nasal drip. These include home remedies and over-the-counter medications:

     • A humidifier may help moisturize airways and improve symptoms

     • Being hydrated is beneficial in thinning the mucus

     • Sleeping propped up on pillows will keep the mucus from collecting at the back of the throat

     • Nasal wash or irrigation is effective in clearing away excess mucus

     • Decongestant and antihistamine medications help in controlling the swelling and production of mucus

In most cases, post-nasal drip is uncomfortable but is generally not dangerous. However, experiencing the following symptoms should prompt someone to consult a doctor:

     • Unexplained fever

     • Bloody mucus

     • Wheezing or shortness of breath

     • Foul smelling drainage

     • Persistent symptoms despite treatment

For allergies, it is also good to consider the environmental factors by dusting and vacuuming often at home. Covering mattresses and pillowcases and using air filter can help reduce exposure to allergy triggers.

Nasal washing using a nasal spray or irrigation solution helps in keeping the nasal passages clean. It also helps prevent attendant complications by flushing away irritants that cause allergy such as dirt, dust, pollens and infectious agents like bacteria and viruses. Nasal saline spray or irrigation has been reported to relieve symptoms of allergic rhinitis and improve the quality of life.

Though this condition may linger for weeks or months, most of the causes can be quickly identified and generally improve with appropriate treatment.


Treatments for post-nasal drip.

Rabago D, Zgierska A. Saline nasal irrigation for upper respiratory conditions. Am Fam Physician. 

Health tips, Nasal Spray, Sore Throat