Mucus is a normal part of life that we normally pay no attention to. We may even forget that there is mucus at the right parts of our respiratory tract, keeping us healthy by trapping germs and escorting out of the body. Sometimes, the consistency and volume of mucus changes. Slight changes such as mucus becoming thinner and more fluid may be a minor nuisance. Thick mucus, on the other hand, can be a problem that causes a persistent sensation of matter running down the back of the throat. Here, we offer a few common reasons why post-nasal drip may develop and what you can do to reduce or eliminate this problem altogether.
Potential Causes of Post-Nasal Drip
Virus or Infection
If you’ve ever had the flu or a common cold, you may know that unpleasant feeling of post-nasal drip. The reason mucus thickens when we are sick is that the body is trying to capture germs from the respiratory tract. If you suspect that post-nasal drip could be related to a cold or virus, one thing you can do is consume plenty of liquids. Yes, there really is some merit to that whole chicken soup strategy. If a cold persists beyond 10 days or if mucus becomes odorous, a course of antibiotics may be needed to address an issue such as a sinus infection.
We are in that time of year when allergy-sufferers begin to prepare for the worst. Allergies to pet dander, pollen, grass, ragweed, or other substances are known for their effect on the eyes, nose, and throat. Some people with allergies also develop post-nasal drip when exposed to particular allergens. Avoidance is a strategy, though not one that offers many benefits. Adding a HEPA filter in the home may provide some relief, especially to pet allergies, but medication may be warranted if symptoms become persistent. If post-nasal drip is a common problem that you suspect may be related to an unknown allergy, your ENT doctor can perform simple tests to determine how to improve your quality of life.
There are several reasons why post-nasal drip may occur. When post-nasal drip becomes a problem, a medical examination and consultation are beneficial steps toward breathing easier. To learn more about allergy testing and treatment for post-nasal drip, call our St. Louis office at 314.473.5433.