Nasal mucus is a clear, sticky liquid that acts as a filter to prevent air particles from entering the body through the nose. It is a natural part of the body's defenses, but is sometimes produced in excessive quantities. In these cases it can be frustrating to have to deal with it, as it never seems to end. The best way to get rid of too much mucus in the nasal passages is to define its cause and treat the underlying problem. The most common factors responsible for this disorder are allergic reactions, non-allergic rhinitis, infections and some structural abnormalities.
Method 1 of 4: Seek Medical Advice
Step 1. See your doctor if you show signs of infection
If you have continual problems with mucus and nasal congestion, it is possible that bacteria have accumulated in the sinuses and an infection (sinusitis) has developed.
- Symptoms include prolonged sinus pressure, congestion, pain or headache for more than a week.
- If you also have a fever, it is definitely sinusitis.
Step 2. Check for changes in the appearance of the mucus
If it changes from a clear color to a greenish, yellowish color or becomes foul-smelling, it could be a bacterial infection within the nasal passages that becomes sinusitis.
- When these cavities begin to clog and congest, the mucus that is normally produced gets trapped - and with it the bacteria present. If congestion and pressure are not relieved, the bacteria can lead to sinusitis.
- When congestion and pressure are caused by a cold or the flu, sinusitis is viral in nature.
- Antibiotics are ineffective against an infection caused by viruses. If you have a viral cold or flu, you need to treat them with zinc, vitamin C, and / or pseudoephedrine.
Step 3. Take antibiotics as prescribed
If your doctor determines that you have developed bacterial sinusitis, they will prescribe this class of drugs. You have to make sure that you take them exactly according to his instructions and for the duration of the treatment.
- Even if you start to feel better quickly, you need to finish the course of treatment, otherwise bacterial strains that are resistant to the drug may develop. This is also important because some bacteria may persist inside the nasal passages.
- Be aware that some doctors may sometimes prescribe antibiotics before they know the results of tests that determine the source of the infection. You should have a bacterial culture to make sure you are prescribed the correct medications.
- If symptoms persist even after finishing antibiotic treatment, inform your doctor. He will likely put you on a second course, or prescribe you different antibiotics.
- If you often experience excessive mucus production, you should discuss with your doctor whether to perform allergy tests or take other preventive measures.
Step 4. Seek medical attention if problems persist
Sometimes mucus forms in excessive amounts on and off despite treatments.
- If you have recurring episodes of rhinitis or are continually producing excess mucus, you should talk to your doctor.
- You will probably have to undergo several tests and tests to determine if you have allergies to some elements you come into contact with at home or at work.
- Additionally, you may have developed polyps or other structural changes in your nasal passages that contribute to your persistent problem.
Step 5. Learn about structural alterations
The most common ones that can lead to excessive mucus production are nasal polyps.
- These nodules can develop over time; when they are very small, they often go unnoticed and cause no problems.
- When they are larger they can block the airways of the sinus cavities and cause irritation, which in turn leads to more mucus production.
- Other structural abnormalities, such as deviation of the nasal septum or enlarged adenoids, are also possible, but generally do not affect the amount of mucus present.
- Other factors responsible are lesions in the nose or surrounding area, which can sometimes cause symptoms such as mucus production. See your doctor if you have recently suffered trauma to the face or nose.
Method 2 of 4: Making Lifestyle Changes
Step 1. Use a neti pot
It is an instrument, also called neti lota, which looks like a small teapot. If used correctly it allows to expel mucus and irritants blocked in the nasal passages and to humidify the nostrils.
- The procedure involves inserting a saline solution or distilled water into one nostril and running it through the other, thus eliminating all unwanted irritants and germs.
- Fill the device with about 120ml of saline, then stand over a sink, tilt your head to one side and insert the spout into your upper nostril.
- Tilt the neti pot to pour the liquid into one nostril and let it flow out the other. Repeat the procedure, but this time pouring the solution into the opposite nostril.
- This process is called nasal irrigation, as you let the liquid flow through the nasal passages, getting rid of the mucus and irritants that stimulate its production. You can use the tool once or twice a day.
- Using the neti pot allows you to moisten the nose and reduce the symptoms of sinusitis. You can buy the tool at a pharmacy or in health food stores at an affordable price. Make sure you clean it thoroughly after use.
Step 2. Make the saline solution yourself
If you choose to make it at home, use distilled or sterilized water. If necessary, you can also use water previously boiled and left to cool. Do not use tap water without treating it, as it contains contaminants and irritants.
- Take 250 ml of water, add a pinch of sea salt and the same amount of baking soda. Don't use regular table salt. Stir thoroughly before using the solution with the neti pot.
- You can store the mixture for up to five days by keeping it in a sealed container, preferably in the refrigerator. Before using it, wait for it to come back to room temperature.
Step 3. Apply a warm compress to your face
The heat provides relief from sinus pressure pain and helps loosen mucus making it come out more easily.
- Wet a small towel or cloth with very hot water and place it on your face where you feel the most pressure.
- Usually the cloth should cover the eyes, the area just above the eyebrows, the nose and cheeks just below the eyes.
- Heat the washcloth every few minutes and reapply for continuous pain and pressure relief.
Step 4. Sleep with your head elevated
This can make it easier for mucus to drain from your sinuses at night and prevent it from building up.
Get adequate rest to keep your body strong and help it fight latent sinusitis that could be caused by excess mucus
Step 5. Keep your living environment humid
Dry air can irritate the airways and cause sinus problems, such as runny nose and congestion.
- Humidifiers are divided into two main categories, cold and hot (although there are different models for both types). If dry nasal passages are causing discomfort, irritation, and mucus leakage, you should consider getting a humidifier to put around your home.
- Houseplants are also helpful in releasing moisture into the air. They could be an alternative to using a humidifier or an extra remedy.
- There are other simple ways to get more humid air in your home, even if for a short time; for example, you can boil a pot of water on the stove, leave the bathroom door open when you shower, run hot water from the tap, or even hang out the laundry indoors.
Step 6. Take advantage of the properties of steam
The steam helps loosen the mucus in the chest, nose and throat, so it is more easily expelled.
- Boil a pot of water, put your face right on top of it and breathe in the steam for several minutes.
- For best results, cover your head with a cloth to breathe in more steam.
- You can also take a very hot shower if you wish to help loosen the mucus.
Step 7. Avoid irritants
If you expose yourself to irritants (such as smoke), a sudden change in temperature, or the strong odors of certain chemicals, you can stimulate increased mucus production. Sometimes the mucus moves to the back of the throat, causing postnasal drip, while other times the irritants can induce mucus production in the lungs, causing phlegm. In this case, you may feel the need to cough to expectorate.
- Stop smoking if you are a smoker. Also try not to expose yourself to secondhand smoke from cigarettes and cigars.
- If you know that smoking is a trigger for you, you should also avoid those outdoor situations where weeds burn or get upwind if you find yourself in front of a bonfire.
- There are other pollutants that, if inhaled, can cause airway problems. Pay attention to dust, animal hair, yeast and mold, both in the home and in the workplace.
- In addition, exhaust fumes, chemicals used at work, and even smog can trigger a mucus-producing episode caused by non-allergic factors. In this case, it is non-allergic rhinitis.
Step 8. Protect the nasal passages from sudden changes in temperature
If your job involves being outdoors exposed to cold temperatures, this can contribute to the buildup of mucus, which is then expelled when you enter a warmer environment.
- Take steps to keep your face and nose area warm when outdoors in cold climates.
- Wear a hat to protect your head, and consider putting protection on your face as well, such as a ski mask.
Step 9. Blow your nose
Blow it gently but correctly. Some experts actually claim that this action can do more harm than good.
- Be gentle when blowing your nose, and clean one nostril at a time.
- If you blow too hard you can cause small openings in the sinus area; if bacteria or other irritants are present, blowing your nose may cause them to penetrate even deeper.
- Always use clean material when blowing your nose and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards to avoid spreading bacteria or germs.
Method 3 of 4: Using Over-the-Counter Products
Step 1. Take antihistamines
These over-the-counter drugs are very effective in reducing nasal problems associated with allergen exposure and allergic rhinitis.
- Their function is to block the body's reaction induced by exposure to an allergen; the body, in fact, tends to release histamines, so antihistamines help the body to minimize its response to irritants or allergens.
- These drugs are most effective for people with known allergies; some of these can be seasonal, while others are perennial.
- Seasonal allergies are caused by the release of certain substances from plants in your area when they begin to bloom or blossom in the spring or fall. Autumn allergies are usually caused by ragweed.
- People with perennial allergies are sensitive to things that are often difficult to avoid. This could be anything from dust to pet fur to cockroaches or other insects that live near the house.
- Antihistamines are undoubtedly helpful, but those who suffer from severe seasonal allergies or have problems of this type all year round must undergo more intense therapies. Talk to your doctor to find suitable solutions for your specific case.
Step 2. Take decongestants
They are available from pharmacies in oral form or as a nasal spray. Those to be taken by mouth contain active ingredients such as phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine. Common side effects include nervousness, dizziness, a feeling of increased heart rate, slight rise in blood pressure, and sleep disturbances.
- Oral decongestants constrict blood vessels in the nasal passages, thereby constricting swollen tissues. In the short term, these drugs stimulate more mucus production, but relieve pressure and improve air circulation to help you breathe better.
- Medicines containing pseudoephedrine, such as Sudafed, cannot always be bought at pharmacies without a prescription, because they are often misused.
- Check at the pharmacy or doctor's office if you can buy them freely.
- Discuss with your doctor whether you can take oral decongestants, have heart problems or have high blood pressure.
Step 3. Use a medicated nasal spray
Decongestants in nasal sprays or drops may also be available over the counter, but should be used with caution. Although they help clear the nasal passages and relieve pressure quickly, if you use them for more than three days you may suffer from a rebound effect.
This means that the body gets used to the drug, so congestion or pressure returns, sometimes even more severe than before, when you try to stop using it. Therefore, make sure not to spray the decongestant for more than three days, to avoid this unpleasant phenomenon
Step 4. Consider using nasal corticosteroids
These are available in spray form and help reduce inflammation of the nasal passages, stopping rhinorrhea and excessive mucus production due to irritants or allergens. These drugs are used in the treatment of sinusitis or chronic nasal problems.
- Some of these medicines are available over the counter, while those with higher strengths require a prescription. Fluticasone and triamcinolone should be available at the pharmacy without a prescription, but ask your pharmacist for more details.
- Using nasal corticosteroids, patients often notice relief from the problem and excessive mucus production within a few days of starting treatment. Follow the instructions on the leaflet carefully.
Step 5. Use a saline nasal spray
This remedy also helps to free the nasal passages from mucus and at the same time to keep the nostrils moist. Use it according to the instructions on the package and be patient: from the first use you will notice an immediate improvement, but more applications will probably be necessary to get the maximum benefit.
- This saline spray acts similar to the neti pot. Provides moisture to damaged and irritated sinus tissues, plus helps get rid of unwanted allergens and irritants.
- It is effective for relieving rhinorrhea and reducing excess mucus responsible for postnasal congestion and drip.
Method 4 of 4: Using Natural Remedies
Step 1. Drink lots of fluids
Drinking water or other liquids helps loosen the mucus. You probably want to get rid of a stuffy or runny nose right away, but taking fluid substances actually helps loosen and drain the mucus. Drinking helps your body get rid of the mucus so it can recover to normal.
- Liquids are useful for two reasons. First, ensure the proper hydration level for your current situation, and you can also breathe in more moisture by consuming hot or boiling drinks.
- Any hot drink is fine, like coffee, tea, or even a cup of broth or soup.
Step 2. Make a Hot Toddy
To prepare this hot drink of Scottish origin you need to use boiling water, 45 ml of whiskey or another alcoholic, fresh lemon and a tablespoon of honey.
- Scientific studies have found that this drink offers benefits for treating nasal congestion, mucus buildup, sinus pressure, sore throat and other symptoms associated with colds.
- Limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages, as alcohol abuse worsens swelling of the nasal mucous membranes, aggravating the sensation of a stuffy nose and increasing mucus production. You should avoid drinking too much alcohol or too often, as this is not good for overall health.
- You can make a non-alcoholic Hot Toddy with your favorite tea, rather than alcohol and water. Always add fresh lemon and honey.
Step 3. Drink herbal tea
In addition to the benefits you can get from breathing in the steam emitted from a hot herbal tea, this drink offers additional benefits in alleviating the problems associated with sinusitis.
- Add mint to your hot cup of tea. This plant contains menthol, which is great when inhaled while sipping the hot cup of tea to relieve sinus pressure, congestion and reduce mucus.
- Mint is often used for this type of treatment, and the healing properties of menthol help soothe coughs and chest congestion.
- Do not ingest peppermint oil and do not give mint or menthol to babies.
- Green tea and its supplements have been found to contain substances that are useful for preserving overall health and can aid in treating the most common symptoms associated with colds. Increase your consumption of green tea gradually to avoid side effects, such as stomach pain or constipation.
- Green tea contains caffeine, as well as other active substances. People with certain medical conditions and pregnant women should consult their doctor before starting to consume this drink regularly.
- In fact, it can interact with the most common drugs, including antibiotics, birth control pills, anticancer drugs, stimulants and those for the treatment of asthma. Always have a medical check-up before making any dietary changes, especially when those changes involve taking herbal supplements.
Step 4. Get relief from other herbal products
Be very cautious if you choose to rely on herbal medicine and always consult your doctor before starting a treatment that includes taking these food supplements.
- Some research has found that the combination of certain plants may aid in treating sinus disorders. Herbal products available in supermarkets, health food stores, or health food stores contain a blend of healthful herbs.
- In particular, look for those that contain primrose, gentian root, elderflower, verbena, and sorrel. This combination of plant elements can cause some unwanted side effects, such as stomach pain and diarrhea.
Step 5. Evaluate ginseng
The American variety of this root is still undergoing research to verify its properties in the treatment of some diseases. Studies are showing promise in treating nasal and sinus symptoms that are often associated with the common cold.
- Ginseng root is thought to be "potentially effective" in adults in reducing the frequency, severity and duration of cold symptoms, including those of sinusitis. There are no data regarding the use of the plant on children.
- Among the side effects found in using this root are changes in blood pressure, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, itching, skin rashes, sleep disturbances, headaches, nervousness and vaginal bleeding.
- Among the drugs that interact most often with ginseng are those for the treatment of schizophrenia, diabetes, depression and anticoagulants such as warfarin. People who are undergoing surgery or who are undergoing certain chemotherapy treatments should not use the products of ginseng or its root.
Step 6. Take elderberry, eucalyptus and licorice
These plants are commonly used to manage excessive mucus production and sinus problems. If you are taking any prescription medications you may notice interactions, so you should consult your doctor before starting to take these herbs.
- People with certain conditions should not use the herbal remedies listed here. You should see your doctor first if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have diabetes, high blood pressure, have autoimmune diseases, kidney or liver problems, have low potassium levels, hormone-sensitive tumors or associated diseases, heart disorders or other conditions that predict regular intake of aspirin or blood thinning medications such as warfarin.
- Elderberry offers relief from excessive mucus and nasal problems. Standardized elderberry extract products contain vitamin C and other healthful plants that help get rid of congestion.
- Eucalyptus oil is the most concentrated form of this plant, but it is poisonous if swallowed. However, eucalyptus is present in many processed products, especially those specifically designed to relieve coughs. Eucalyptus products can also be applied topically, such as balsamic chest ointments, or are present in very low concentrations in balsamic candies. You can also add them to the humidifier to improve steam quality and relieve congestion.
- Licorice root is very popular as a herbal treatment. However, few studies have yet been performed on its effectiveness in treating congestion and excessive mucus production.
Step 7. Analyze the effectiveness of echinacea
Many people use it as a supplement to soothe nasal congestion, reduce the feeling of stuffy nose, loosen mucus, and treat symptoms associated with colds.
- Scientific studies have found no significant benefits in treating nasal congestion, draining mucus, or relieving cold symptoms.
- Echinacea is commercially available in a wide range of products derived from the different parts of the plant itself. There is no precise legislation that regulates the production of these supplements and it is not always specified which part of the plant was used, therefore it is not always possible to evaluate the effectiveness of the processed product.