To better understand how to treat post-nasal drip cough, it’s essential to first understand what it is and why it occurs in the first place. If you are chronic sufferer of post-nasal drip cough, you know that it can be very frustrating, so having a better understanding of it can help you know what the best treatments are and how to go about preventing post-nasal drip from happening at all. This way you’ll never have to worry about those pesky coughs that occur.
What is post-nasal drip?
Post-nasal drip is essentially mucus (a moist substance along the nasal passages that help fight off bacteria) accumulation in the back of the nose that drips down into the throat. When you have post-nasal drip, the mucus tends to be thicker than normal and is in rather large amounts. This can cause a person to have trouble swallowing and may also get a cough or sore throat. Post-nasal drip also gives the feeling that a person needs to constantly clear his or her throat to try to cough up the mucus; however this is not always beneficial as it cannot always be brought up.
Symptoms of post-nasal drip
For those who are sufferers of post-nasal drip, you know very well the symptoms to look out for such as dripping liquid (mucus) in the back of your throat, trouble swallowing, sore throat, and the constant need to clear your throat which can turn into a chronic cough. Ear infections are also sometimes associated with post-nasal drip in several severe cases when the excessive mucus ends up blocking the sinus passages.
Causes of post-nasal drip
Post-nasal drip can happen for many different reasons. Some of the most common causes are as follows:
- Illness-colds and flus usually produce the most mucus
- Sinus Infection
- Dry air (heat from a furnace in the winter)
- Foods (ones that make the nose run or that tend to build mucus like dairy products)
- Cleaning products
Causes of post-nasal drip cough
A cough is not necessarily something to be worried about, especially if it’s not ongoing. The body needs us to cough to help remove mucus from the upper airway passages as well as soothing irritation along the airway. There are many different types of coughs including a productive cough that helps produce mucus rather than suppressing and allowing it to come up and clear the throat and chest. Many times people get these coughs while they are sick with a viral infection or chronic lung disease. Post-nasal drip causes draining down the back of the throat and can cause a productive cough. A cold or asthma can provide someone with a less wet cough called a nonproductive cough, which is a dry cough that can sometimes cause the throat to become sore.
A chronic cough tends to arise when a person has post-nasal drip. The reason being is that the person feels that they need to constantly clear his or her throat or there may be a chocking sensation. More often than not a cough due to post-nasal drip is commonly worse at night when the person is lying down. The mucus can cause major irritation to the throat and due to the inflammatory mixtures from the post-nasal drip, coughing can become constant.
Treatment for post-nasal drip cough
In order to help treat the cough that post-nasal drip can produce, you must first understand how to treat the dripping in the back of the throat. You need to determine what the post-nasal drip is caused by such as a cold, allergies or other infection. Over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines that include antihistamines and decongestants are usually what are used the most for people with post nasal drip and cough. These medicines help dry up the mucus and will then stop you from needing to cough up anything from the back of your throat.
Sometimes a humidifier, air purifier or a vaporizer can also help rid you of your post-nasal drip. These devices will help clear and bring more moisture into the air, which can really benefit those who have trouble with dry air in their home. Clearing the air is essential but sometimes between that and the medications you’re taking your nose still might need some extra help. Another option is to use saline nasal spray to help moisturize the nasal passages and help flush out that excess mucus.
Getting medical attention
You might want to first talk with your medical professional to see what causes your post-nasal drip before you start taking any medication. They can also tell you which over-the-counter drug will work the best for your symptoms and will help reduce the mucus rather than making it more excessive in order to produce a stronger productive cough. Some medications can cause drowsiness and have several side effects so it’s smart to check with your doctor especially if you’re on other medications. Your doctor can also provide you with a prescription if needed. Sometimes the simple over-the-counter medications won’t help rid the symptoms you have depending on what is creating the post-nasal drip problem in the first place.
Preventing post-nasal drip and cough
While there are many treatment plans for post-nasal drip, it is even more comforting to know that there are some ways to prevent the drip from occurring. By cleaning your home often you will help rid it of dust, hair, pollen and other allergens. Air filters are also a great option that will keep your air clean and help build moisture in it to help ease dryness. Washing sheets and covers are also a smart idea so that you can keep your sleeping and sitting area clean and free from anything that might cause you to get an allergic reaction. Without post-nasal drip, you won’t need to worry about the chronic cough that can tend to follow.