Phlegm is a type of mucus that is produced by the lungs and nasal passages. It is a thin, watery, and typically clear liquid. When phlegm becomes thicker, it can be yellow, green, or brown in color. Phlegm is normally expelled from the body through coughing or sneezing. However, sometimes phlegm can become stuck in the throat, which can be uncomfortable.
Ways to get rid of phlegm and mucus at Home
If you are looking for ways to eliminate excess mucus and phlegm at home, here are a few remedies you can try:
1. Drink lots of water
Drinking plenty of water helps thin out mucus so that it can be cleared from your system more easily. Try to drink 8-10 glasses of water per day. You can also drink warm liquids such as herbal tea or chicken soup, which can help soothe sore throats caused by coughing.
2. Gargle with salt water
Gargling with warm salt water can help break down mucus in your throat and relieve irritation. Simply dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and gargle for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Spit the solution out afterward. Do this several times per day as needed.
3. Use a nasal spray
Over-the-counter nasal sprays like Afrin can help to clear out your sinuses and reduce the amount of phlegm and mucus in your nose. Just be sure not to use them for more than three days in a row, as they can cause rebound congestion if used too often.
4. Vicks VapoRub
This popular over-the-counter topical ointment contains menthol, eucalyptus oil, and camphor, which can help to break up congestion and relieve chest congestion. Simply apply a small amount of VapoRub to your chest and throat and breathe in the fumes to help loosen the mucus. Keep in mind that VapoRub should not be used on children under the age of 2.
5. Herbal teas
Drinking herbal tea can help to break down mucus and flush out phlegm. Teas made with ginger, peppermint, or eucalyptus are especially effective at clearing congestion. Add honey to help aid excess coughing.
6. Gently blow your nose regularly
Use a tissue to blow your nose frequently throughout the day to help clear mucus from your nasal passages and prevent buildup.
7. Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, which means they make you urinate more frequently and can actually dehydrate you, making your mucus thicker and harder to expel. So, it’s best to avoid them when you’re trying to get rid of phlegm and mucus.
8. Steam with essential oil
Inhaling steam can help to thin out mucus and make it less sticky, making it easier to blow out or cough up. To make your own steam inhaler, simply pour boiling water into a bowl, add a few drops of essential oil like eucalyptus or peppermint, put a towel over your head, and inhale the fumes for 10 minutes.
9. Use a humidifier
Dry air can cause your mucus to become thick and sticky. Using a humidifier in your bedroom help to keep the air moist and will prevent your mucus from becoming too thick. It also helps you to cough it out easier.
10. Chili peppers
Eating chili peppers can help to clear mucus and phlegm from your system. The capsaicin in chili peppers is a natural decongestant that can help to open up your nasal passages and clear out your excess mucus. You can add chili peppers to your food.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes phlegm in the throat?
There are a few different things that can cause phlegm to build up in the throat:
- Allergies: When you have allergies, your body produces more histamine. This increase in histamine can lead to inflammation and excess mucus production.
- Cold or Flu: An infection such as a cold or the flu can cause your body to produce more mucus as a way to protect itself from the infection.
- Dry air: Breathing in dry air can irritate your nose and throat, which can lead to increased mucus production.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): GERD is a condition where stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus. This can irritate the throat and cause mucus to form in an attempt to protect the throat from stomach acid.
- Sinus infection: A sinus infection occurs when the sinuses become inflamed. This can cause an increase in mucus production as well as a buildup of pressure in the sinuses, which can lead to pain and congestion.
What are some foods that get rid of phlegm?
There are actually quite a few foods that can help get rid of phlegm. These include ginger, onions, garlic, cayenne pepper, honey, lemon, and apple cider vinegar. All of these foods have natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce congestion.
Should I be worried about phlegm in my throat?
In general, phlegm in the throat is nothing to worry about and will go away on its own within a few days. However, if your phlegm is accompanied by other symptoms like fever, chest pain, or difficulty swallowing, it could be a sign of something more serious, and you should see a doctor right away.
Why do I have thick mucus in my throat every morning?
If you have thick mucus in your throat every morning, it could be due to a postnasal drip. This happens when excess mucus drains from the sinuses into the throat overnight. In most cases, postnasal drip is nothing to worry about and can be treated with over-the-counter medications. However, if you also have other symptoms like a fever or difficulty breathing, it could be a sign of a more serious infection, and you should see a doctor right away.
ALSO READ: 13 Ways to Get Rid of Your Cold or Cough