We’ve all heard that sound. You’re sitting on the subway and the person next to you coughs as if he is going to hock up a lung any second. Or maybe you are the person who constantly clears your throat but no matter what you do, that stubborn phlegm won’t go away. You are not alone. There are many causes as to why we get phlegm build-up but fortunately, there are also many home remedies to use to get rid of the excessive phlegm.
Causes of Excessive Phlegm
People with allergies divide the calendar year into two parts: allergy months and non-allergy months. These are the people who have an app on their phone so they can check the pollen or mold count on an hourly basis. If you have allergies, chances are, you have phlegm build-up especially during a high pollen count.
Cold season usually begins in October and lasts until February or March. If you have a child in daycare, then the cold season is year-round. A cold, flu, pneumonia, bronchitis, or any other type of cold-season infection will cause excessive phlegm. The germs produce mucus, which either gets constantly trapped in your nose (and is the reason why you will go through three boxes of tissues) or it runs down your throat constantly making you clear your throat.
Smoking also causes excess phlegm. The chemicals in cigarettes are natural irritants on your throat, which causes congestion. (Not to mention the other health risks involved with smoking.)
So what can you do to get rid of this phlegm? Doctors say the best thing to do when you want to get rid of excess phlegm is cough it up and spit it into a tissue. Don’t be that person who coughs it up and spits it on the ground for all to see. That’s gross. It you are out in public, politely excuse yourself and go into the restroom.
You can also gargle with warm water and salt. This is an old remedy that has been used to help sooth sore throats as well. If you don’t like the taste of warm water and salt, use warm tea with lemon and honey. The acid in the lemon acts to break up the mucus while the honey works to sooth your throat. Eat warm soup such with light broth. Chicken soup is very good for your throat. Try to avoid creamier soup, as those will just add to the excess phlegm.
Try a steam treatment at home. Fill a bowl with hot water. Then drape a towel over your head and the bowl and breathe in the steam. It will help break up the mucus in your lungs. You can add eucalyptus oil to help clear out your sinuses as well. If that doesn’t work, take a long steamy shower. If you do take a long shower, however, remember to moisturize after so your skin doesn’t dry out. At night, use a humidifier in your bedroom, especially in winter. The furnace will cause dry air, which in turn causes dry mouth sinus problems and excessive phlegm.
If you don’t have time to try these home remedies or they don’t work for you, Doctors recommend Mucinex. It is over-the-counter, doesn’t make you drowsy and will break up the mucus quickly. It also lasts approximately twelve hours so you can make it through your workday and then some. Remember to carry some with you or keep some in your desk drawer so you are not “that guy” who is constantly clearing your throat all day.