How to remove phlegm from throat with home remedies
Everyone has experienced a phlegmy throat at one time or another. If you have this problem right now, you might find that your throat feels difficult to clear, uncomfortable and possibly even sore. You may also find yourself coughing to try to remove the phlegm and breathe more easily.
But what exactly is phlegm and how can you get rid of it? In this blog post, we discuss some simple home remedies for resolving this issue. You may also want to check out our advice on home remedies for sore throats.
What is phlegm?
Phlegm is the name given to the sticky, thick substance produced by the mucous membranes in the respiratory tract. It’s perfectly normal for your body to produce phlegm as it helps to protect you from germs and contaminants, such as dust and allergens. However, you may find that when you’re ill – with a cold or viral infection, for example – your mucous membranes may go into overdrive and you may produce more phlegm than normal. You may also produce more phlegm than usual if you have asthma, allergies, acid reflux or diseases that affect the lungs, such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Other contributing factors include exposure to dry air indoors, not drinking enough fluids and smoking.
How to remedy phlegm in throat
While phlegm has an important function in keeping our bodies healthy, too much phlegm can cause your airways to become clogged and uncomfortable. Of course, if your phlegm overproduction is caused by an illness that requires medical treatment, you should consult a health professional. However, there are a variety of things you can do to try to reduce the annoyance and discomfort of a phlegmy throat. Here are some steps you can take:
- Add moisture to the air
You can do this with a humidifier, by boiling water or by having a steamy shower. You might want to add some greenery to your rooms to help to keep your indoor environment from drying out in future too. You should also try to reduce your exposure to air conditioned air as this contains lower moisture levels, which can lead to excess phlegm production.
- Drink liquids
If you’re not drinking enough water or other liquids, your throat will be dry and phlegm will not be able to flow easily. To keep phlegm moving, ensure you stay hydrated. Drinking warm liquids can be especially beneficial.
- Avoid diuretics
While drinking fluids is important, you should stay away from drinks that cause you to lose water, such as tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages.
- Gargle salt water
Gargling salt water is believed to help loosen phlegm at the back of your throat, making it easier for you to swallow or cough it up.
- Lubricate with lozenges
Throat lozenges can help to lubricate your throat, making it easier to break up the phlegm in your throat. If you take a lozenge with anaesthetic and antiseptic, it will also help to numb your throat and fight infection.
- Stop smoking
Smoking can lead to your body making too much phlegm. The only way to counteract this problem is to quit smoking. If you’re a smoker, this may sound daunting but your healthcare provider can give you information, advice and support to help you to break the habit. For example, you may decide to use nicotine replacement therapy in the form of patches, gums or tablets to help you to quit.
- Keep your head elevated
Lying flat on your back can cause phlegm to build up in the back of your throat. This can lead to an uncomfortable night’s sleep as you cough to remove it. Elevate your head with an extra pillow while you sleep or rest in order to allow phlegm to flow freely.
Taking steps like these may help you to stay comfortable but remember that this advice is not designed to diagnose or treat any health conditions. You should always consult your healthcare provider for personalised medical advice.