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What are Home Remedies for Post-Nasal Drip?

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Updated October 12, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: What are Home Remedies for Post-Nasal Drip?
Answer:

Post-nasal drip occurs when the mucus your body produces becomes abnormally thick or thin, and you become aware of mucus draining down the back of your throat. Post-nasal drip can be accompanied by sore throat, voice loss or hoarseness, and a persistent cough.

To cure post-nasal drip, you must treat the root cause of the problem. Finding the specific cause sometimes requires a physician, but conditions like the common cold may not always require a doctor's care. You should see a doctor if your post-nasal drip lasts longer than a few weeks, if you have difficulty swallowing and/or feel like you're choking, or if you suspect a bacterial infection.

The following home remedies are helpful in treating post-nasal drip, regardless of the exact cause, and can be used in conjunction with treatments prescribed by your physician. For more information on causes of post-nasal drip and treatment, read:

For Thick Mucus:

The following home remedies are most helpful if you have thick mucus.

  • Avoid dairy products.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Use a humidifier (cool mist is best).
  • Try an over-the-counter saline nasal spray.
  • Many people report that a neti-pot (device used for nasal irrigation) is helpful in relieving symptoms. While most studies on neti-pots show positive results, at least one study has shown that the regular use of neti-pots may increase your risk of developing a sinus infection. Therefore, you probably shouldn't use a neti-pot regularly and not at all if you suspect a sinus infection or are particularly prone to developing sinus infections.

For Thin, Watery Mucus:

If you have thin, watery mucus, try these home remedies for post-nasal drip.

  • Avoid spicy foods.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid spending a lot of time in cold temperatures -- for example, avoid exercising outside in cold weather.

For more tips on treating post-nasal drip at home, or to share your tips with others, you may wish to read:

Sources:

American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. Post-Nasal Drip. Accessed: September 30, 2011 from http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/postNasalDrip.cfm

Medline Plus. Nasal Discharge. Accessed: September 30, 2011 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003051.htm

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