Getting rid of mucus and phlegm can seem like an endless task when you are sick or suffering from allergies, but there are steps that you can take to speed up the process of expelling excess phlegm from your system. Mucus and phlegm are necessary to protect your respiratory system, but when you are sick, the buildup gets to an annoying and uncomfortable level. When your body is functioning normally, mucus membranes produce phlegm to coat your nose, mouth, throat, lungs, and sinuses to help filter out particles that are not supposed to be inhaled, such as dust, allergens like pollen, and viruses that make you sick. Buildup of phlegm can come as a result of an allergic reaction, a sickness, or simply because too many of these foreign particles have built up in your mucus. Keep in mind that usually coughing comes with excess phlegm, and this is healthy and helps you to remove the phlegm from your system, as long as you are not hacking or causing further irritation from your coughs. This article will offer tips to combat bothersome phlegm and will offer information such as how to make a natural nasal spray at home.
Knowing that phlegm serves a purpose is useful information, because you do not want to become obsessive and dry out your mucus membranes when they have a purpose to serve. But when it becomes a bother, these steps can help you to rid yourself of that annoying excess mucus.
Extra humidity helps
Using a humidifier when sick can help you to loosen and thin the extra phlegm that is in your system, which makes it easier to get out. Although many people might think that steam helps remove phlegm, there is no supporting research on this notion, and it can actually become harmful if the steam you are inhaling is hot enough to burn you. Make sure to change the water in your humidifier daily and clean the humidifier according to manufacturer specifications.
Natural nasal spray
Making your own saline solution at home is simple and effective when used in combination with a delivery device such as a Neti pot or even just by cupping it in your hands. To make a natural nasal spray, mix three teaspoons of salt (free of additives) and a teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of distilled water. After mixing the room temperature water with the ingredients, lean over your sink and tilt your head to one side while pouring the solution into your nostril. Try to get the solution to feed in towards the back of your head, not the upper part of your head, and allow the solution to flow, do not force it in. The solution will run out of the lower nostril. Tilt your head as needed to keep the solution from running down your throat. Afterwards, blow your nose and spit out any that might have gone down your throat. Repeat this process for both nostrils. If the solution is stinging you, remix your solution with less salt.
Drink water and warm fluids
Staying hydrated is a key to keeping your mucus from thickening up too much. And warm liquids, such as tea, broth, and soup can help loosen mucus buildup even more than cold liquids. Stick with decaffeinated beverages if possible and try to kill two birds with one stone by consuming warm drinks with Vitamin C to help fight your cold.
There are foods that can help too
Although the scientific research behind many foods helping respiratory issues is lacking, there is enough personal testimony on many foods to suggest that some can boost your respiratory health. These foods include lemon, ginger, garlic, pomegranate, berries, and more.
Salt water is your friend
Although gargling warm salt water might not be the most enjoyable experience, there is science to back up why it works. When you gargle warm salt water, where the dissolved salt will absorb liquids from your mouth and throat that helps to kill germs and ease inflammation while also experiencing the benefits of warm liquids mentioned earlier, such as loosening up phlegm. Warm water also helps to dissolve the salt faster and more thoroughly. Mix a half of a teaspoon of salt in cup of water and gargle some for half a minute to a minute and repeat this process as necessary.
Utilize eucalyptus oil
Eucalyptus oil can be beneficial in the form of either an essential oil or a balm. It helps to ease the severity of any coughing that you might have while still helping to loosen phlegm. If you have a diffuser already, there are many eucalyptus oil vapors that you can use.
Decongestants can work wonders to help open up your airways, allowing you to breathe and lessening the amount of mucus that drips from your nose. If a decongestant is not used, it can cause that mucus to drip from your nose and create a chest congestion issue, causing further discomfort. Decongestants come in many forms, and whatever form suits you should work. Products such as guaifenesin help to loosen mucus so that you can cough it up. Rubs such as Vicks are eucalyptus oil products that bring the benefits of eucalyptus oil mentioned earlier. Always make sure when using an over-the-counter medication to treat the illness of a child that the product is suitable for children, many of these products have children’s strength versions that are suitable for children.
If you are regularly experiencing respiratory complications or increased severity of respiratory complications, a prescription medication could be hugely beneficial. Some conditions such as cystic fibrosis can lead to excess mucus and phlegm and can be helped with prescription medication. Hypertonic saline is a saline solution that can be inhaled, bringing similar results to gargling salt water, but in a more effective and thorough delivery than gargling. Also, since it is a prescription medication, there are other beneficial ingredients and amounts included.
You may not want to exercise if you have an underlying respiratory issue such as asthma, since increased activity in combination with excess phlegm could lead to wheezing or in extreme cases, and asthma attack. But for those who simply experiencing phlegm as a result of a cold, getting up and walking or doing other light exercise can help you to cough up phlegm easier. Make sure not to over do it if you are sick, getting adequate rest to allow your body to recover is important as well.
Cough in a way that promotes mucus expectoration
Believe it or not, there are techniques that can help you to cough better when removing mucus. One method that might work is to inhale deeply and hold your breath for a few seconds, then use your abs to exhale that air. Make sure when using this technique not to hack or clear your throat, since that can cause irritation. Another method is to inhale deeply through your nose, then exhale via three short huffs from your mouth, and repeat as necessary. These can help you to rid yourself of mucus buildup quicker.
When dealing with sickness, it is never beneficial to be overly stubborn about avoiding a doctor’s appointment. However, phlegm is usually not a large reason for concern, it is something that all of us experience at one point or another, but it can become an issue large enough to get checked out by a doctor if certain symptoms persist or worsen. One example of when you may want to consider contacting a physician is if the phlegm buildup is overly common or chronic, which could be indicative of a condition such as acid reflux, asthma, allergies, bronchitis, or cystic fibrosis and need to be addressed and treated by a professional. Also, prolonged phlegm buildup could be an issue that requires a doctor’s attention, so if you have experienced phlegm buildup for longer than a month, you should see a doctor. Other symptoms that could be indicative of larger issues include expelling blood when coughing up phlegm, chest pains, trouble breathing, or wheezing. Although a doctor’s visit usually is not necessary for phlegm-related complications, you should keep an eye out for these symptoms and it is always better to be safe than sorry and see a doctor for your own peace of mind.
Although phlegm usually is not a cause for concern, it is uncomfortable, and you should address it to the best of your ability by following these tips and consulting a doctor if needed. Hopefully when applying these tips to your routine while sick or suffering from allergies, you can get to feeling better and healthy quicker. If you neglect the situation and fail to follow tips such as these, you will likely suffer more discomfort and experience symptoms of phlegm buildup for longer, so use these tips to feel healthy faster!