Natural Winter Illness Remedies : How to Get Rid of Post-Nasal Drip & Coughing

How to Cure Postnasal Drip

Three Methods:

Postnasal drip occurs when excess mucus accumulates in the back of the throat and creates the feeling of dripping mucus. The condition can lead to a chronic cough or a sore throat. The treatments for postnasal drip focus on the cause of the excess mucus, which may be an allergic reaction or non-allergic rhinitis. A visit to a physician to determine the cause of the condition is an important first step to alleviate postnasal drip.


Removing Allergens from Your Environment

  1. Remove allergens from the environment when possible.Allergens such as dust, pollen, pet dander and mold can irritate the nasal cavity and lead to postnasal drip.
    • Bathe pets to remove dander that may cause an irritation leading to postnasal drip. It may be necessary to remove pets from the home if the allergic reaction and postnasal drip is severe.
    • Remove (flowering and non-flowering) plants from the home.
    • Enclose unused pillows and mattresses in plastic to minimize allergens while sleeping.
  2. Use an air purifier to remove allergic irritants from the environment.A humidifier can add moisture to the air, which relieves the irritation in the nasal cavity. When the nasal cavity is irritated, it produces excess mucus as a response.
  3. Consult an allergist or take an allergy test.Chronic postnasal drip could be caused by an underlying food allergy that you don't yet know about or have recently developed. Check with an allergist to see if you could be allergic to something and not yet know it.
    • The two main allergies are to gluten/wheat and dairy. Dairy is often linked to sinus, upper respiratory, and throat problems, while wheat is often associated gastrointestinal tract problems.
    • Since dairy is a likely culprit, phase dairy out of your diet for one month. If you experience no change in your symptoms, you've ruled out dairy as a possible allergen. If you experience an improvement in symptoms, you know that your body reacts to dairy by producing more mucus, although studies indicate a no clear link between dairy and mucus production.

Using Doctor-Recommended Treatments

  1. Drink plenty of fluids to remain hydrated.Dehydration can aggravate the symptoms of rhinitis and postnasal drip. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can cause dehydration. Water is the best choice to remain hydrated while suffering from rhinitis and postnasal drip.
    • Look at your urine to determine if you're getting enough water during the day. If your urine is yellow, you're probably not getting enough water. If your urine is clearer, with at most a hint of yellow, you're probably drinking enough water.
  2. Blow your nose frequently to remove excess mucus in the nasal cavity.Blowing the nose can remove irritants, which causes a buildup of mucus. For mucus that cannot be cleared after blowing the nose, some people prefer snorting and spitting the excess mucus from the back of the throat, avoiding bad breath and dry mouth.
  3. Rinse the nasal cavity to remove mucus causing irritants.Over the counter saline kits and nasal sprays are available to rinse the nasal cavity. The saline solution flushes the irritants from the nasal cavity, thins the mucus and relieves the membranes in the nose.
    • Try using a Neti pot to clear out the mucus in the sinus and the back of the throat. Be aware, however, that by using a sinus irrigation device you could be removing natural antimicrobial agents that get rid of enemy bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
  4. Use over-the-counter decongestants to relieve the symptoms of excess mucus buildup and postnasal drip.Oral decongestants narrow the blood vessels to reduce the amount of congestion in the nasal cavity.Decongestants are also available in a nasal spray.
  5. Use decongestants for only three days in succession.If symptoms don't get better after three days, discontinue use of decongestants.Use of decongestants after three days may be more harmful than helpful.
  6. Remove mucus with mucus-thinning medications.Medications such as guaifenesin (Mucinex) are sold OTC and taken in tablet or syrup form.
  7. Ask your doctor for prescription medications to relieve irritation and mucus buildup.The physician can prescribe corticosteroid, antihistamine and anti-drip sprays to relieve postnasal drip.
    • Corticosteroid sprays treat the inflammation that occurs with non-allergic rhinitis.
    • Antihistamine sprays can effectively treat allergic rhinitis causes of postnasal drip but are not effective for non-allergic causes.
    • Anticholinergic or anti-drip sprays are medications used in asthma inhalers, which can help treat postnasal drip as well.

Using Unverified Natural Remedies

  1. Make a salt water gargle.Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to eight ounces of warm or lukewarm water and gargle after lifting your head back. To help cut the mucus even more, add the juice of 1/2 lemon to the salt water and gargle.
  2. Do a round of house cleaning.If allergens are haunting your sinuses, the only home treatment you may need is a treatment of your home. Try the following suggestions to remove dust, pollen, and dander from your residence before they come back to bite you — in the nose.
    • Wash your clothes, sheets, pillowcases, and mattresses in hot water regularly. Hot water will kill any bacteria that may be causing your symptoms.
    • Use HEPA air filters in your home. HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air, and is an industry standard tested by the government.
    • Vacuum regularly with true or absolute HEPA filters. Vacuuming with HEPA filters ensures that any allergens are picked up during the vacuuming process.
  3. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods.All three may make mucus production worse.
  4. Use steam treatments with herbs or oils.Try out a DIY steam treatment by covering your head with a towel and placing it a safe distance from a pot of warm water. Make the steam treatment aromatic by adding tea (ginger, mint, or chamomile, for example) or essential oils (lavender, rosemary, etc.).
    • Take a warm shower. Let the steam of the warm water work its way into your lungs and sinuses while you bathe.
  5. Try the lime cure.For this you'll need 3 cups of tea (1 huge cup) and hot water. Add sugar to taste and a little honey. Squeeze in the juice of 1/2 dark green lime. Drink this concoction first thing every morning without food. The lime will clean your liver and your stomach (full of last night's mucus due to the postnasal dripping) and you'll feel lots of energy throughout the day.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    How do you sleep well without having mucus trying to choke you?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Before you get in the bed, take a steamy bath and lay in it, breathing deeply to loosen mucus. This will clear your airways and help you to feel much better ahead of time. Before you lay down, drink plenty of water, as it will keep the mucus from becoming thick while you sleep. Elevate your head above your legs (at least 150 degrees). You could also set a little fan on low to keep the air moving around you.
  • Question
    How do I stop coughing from this? The spray I have isn't working.
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    I have had post nasal drip most of my life. One of the only things I have found to help the cough is cough syrup with hydrocodone. Codeine cough syrup helps a little but not as well.
  • Question
    Could a broken nose cause a buildup of mucus?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Depending on when and where you broke your nose, this could lead to a deviated septum of sorts, causing blockage and buildup in the sinuses. It's best to be examined by the right physician to see how bad the blockage might be and find out about possible ways to correct it.
  • Question
    Can postnasal drip cause pain in the ears?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, the inner ears are connected to the sinuses. Ibuprofen will help with getting rid of this negative sensation.
  • Question
    Does a deviated septum make postnasal drip symptoms worse?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It can. I had a deviated septum and it gave me repeated sinus infections. Apparently,the deviation blocks drainage, resulting in infection, and the infections leads to postnasal drip.
  • Question
    Does a high temperature usually accompany a postnasal drip?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Postnasal drip usually doesn't come with fevers, unless you tend to have fevers associated with allergies (such as seasonal allergies). If you do have a high temperature, it's more likely that you're sick with a cold or a similar ailment.
  • Question
    If I have postnasal drip, is it possible to have excessive coughing?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, with a sense of gagging on lumps of mucus, especially first thing in the morning. Sip water with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime in it to avoid coughing. If you just cough and cough, you will set up irritation that causes mucous, and you can damage your voice if excessive.
  • Question
    What should I do about periodic nasal drip that causes pain in the nasal cavity?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Schedule a visit with you doctor. Although post nasal drip is common with allergies and colds, a sharp pain is not normal and could be a sign of another illness or condition. Your doctor will be able to provide you with professional medical advice and guidance.
  • Question
    Can post nasal drip cause recurrent ear infections?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It seems like it makes you more prone to upper respiratory infections. I recently had an ear infection and have no idea where it came from. I have had post nasal drip for most of my life, so I would suspect it can lead to more ear infections, but it would be best to discuss this with your doctor.
  • Question
    My postnasal drip gives me a bad taste in my mouth at night and I can't sleep. How can I make this better?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Try a Ricola Original Herb cough drop before bed. They taste good and the honey in them will help your throat.
Unanswered Questions
  • Can post nasal drip cause a wheezing sound in my throat/chest?
  • How long after quitting smoking does post-nasal drip endure?
  • My granddaughter has been coughing for three weeks, she .doesn't stop, and gets worse at night. The doctor doesn't take it seriously. What can I do?
  • I have swelling in my throat voice box and breathing tube from post nasal drip and reflux. What should I do about post nasal drip? I do everything right.
  • Can post nasal drip cause tinnitus?
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Quick Summary

To cure postnasal drip, add 1/2 a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and gargle with it, which can help clear up mucus in your throat. You can also try taking a hot shower or holding your head over a bowl of steamy water since steam can clear up your sinuses. If you want to flush out the mucus in your nose, use an over-the-counter nasal spray or a Neti pot.

Did this summary help you?
  • Try not to be too warm, as this will often trigger more coughing.
  • Don't lie down as the mucus will often trigger more coughing.
  • Check to make sure it is post nasal drip and not reflux.


  • Decongestants can cause high blood pressure, heart palpitations, insomnia, loss of appetite and anxiety. Decongestant nasal sprays should not be used longer than three or four days to relieve postnasal drip. The medication may cause congestion to return with increased symptoms when stopped.
  • Steroid medications can cause serious side effects if used long term. A physician must monitor the use of these medications.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic mattress covers
  • Air purifier
  • Humidifier
  • Over the counter medications

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Sources and Citations

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