Certain treatments, such as moisturizing, using a humidifier, and taking over-the-counter medications, can help clear excess mucus from the throat and chest.
What causes phlegm in the throat?
Phlegm is the thick, sticky stuff that builds up in the back of your throat when you’re sick. At least most people notice it. But did you know that this mucus is present all the time?
Mucous membranes produce mucus to protect and support the respiratory system. These membranes line your:
Mucus is sticky and can trap dust, allergens, and viruses. When healthy, the mucus is thin and noticeably less. When you are sick or have too many particles, the mucus thickens and becomes more noticeable as it traps these foreign substances.
Phlegm is a healthy part of your respiratory system, but if it makes you uncomfortable, there are ways to thin it out or reduce it.
Read on to learn about some natural remedies and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and when you might want to see a doctor.
- Humidify the air
Humidifying the air around you can help keep mucus thin. You may have heard that steam clears phlegm and congestion, but this idea is not scientifically supported.
Instead of steam, you can use a cool mist humidifier. You can safely use this moisturizer all day long. You should change the water daily and clean your humidifier according to the package directions.
- Keep moist and warm
Drinking plenty of fluids, especially warm fluids, helps flush out mucus.
Water and other liquids help to move mucus, so it loosens congestion. Sip on liquids like juices, soups, and broths. Other good liquid options include decaffeinated tea, warm fruit juice, and lemon water.
Your drink shouldn’t be the only thing warm. You should be too! Keeping warm is an easy home remedy to soothe the respiratory system. This is because you are better able to cope with diseases that produce more mucus (like a cold) with body heat.