Never “hold” a cough; it serves to remove mucus from the respiratory system. Gargle hot salt water and drink plenty of fluids, do steam treatments, or consume medications. Also consider natural remedies and avoid foods that encourage mucus production, such as dairy products. Finally, find the cause of the production of phlegm (allergies, for example), and treat it.
Method 1 of 4: Taking Basic Measures
Step 1. Cough to remove phlegm from the throat
When mucus builds up in the throat, it can be cleared by coughing. Go to an isolated place, such as a bathroom, and try to soften the mucus in your throat by coughing or clearing your throat; however, do not use too much force or do this over and over again, as this can end up causing damage and pain.
Step 2. Gargle with hot salt water
Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in 240 ml of hot or lukewarm water; bring it to your mouth, tilt your head back and, without swallowing, gargle in your throat.
Step 3. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day
The right fluids can help soften the phlegm trapped in your throat as it moves into your esophagus. Try the following methods to reduce mucus:
- Hot tea with lemon and honey. It's one of the main ways to fight mucus. The acidity of the lemon serves to loosen the phlegm, while the honey coats the throat with a protective layer.
- Hot soup. Chicken soup is one of the best options due to the lightness of the broth and helps to release the phlegm. Use lighter broths instead of thicker, creamier soups.
- Fresh water. As soon as you feel thirsty, drink as much water as you need to feel full.
Step 4. Try the steam “treatment”
This type of mucus fight involves the entry of hot steam through the sinuses and throat, releasing the lodged phlegm. Use the following techniques to relieve symptoms:
- Wrap a towel around your head and inhale the steam from the hot water. Better yet, dip the tea bag (the chamomile one works great) in a large container and carefully lower your head over it, breathing in the steam.
- Take hot baths. After long showers, it is important to hydrate yourself, as hot water removes moisture and essential oils from the skin.
- Use a humidifier or vaporizer. Turn on the device in your bedroom, but don't overdo it; the ideal is not to leave the place too humid.
Step 5. Use mucus-fighting remedies
Medicines with guaifenesin are useful to soften and thin the phlegm. Look for expectorant medications, which indicate that the action is on the elimination of phlegm.
Method 2 of 4: Administering Natural and Herbal Remedies
Step 1. Use eucalyptus oil
Eucalyptus oil has long been used as a natural product to reduce mucus buildup. The most effective way to administer it is to apply it on the upper part of the chest along with a base oil – coconut, for example – and then pour a few drops of eucalyptus over it, rubbing both on the patient's chest. This may cause a little more coughing than usual at first, but after a while, the phlegm will start to come out of the throat.
- Put a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the vaporizer. It is another form of effective treatment. Never consume this type of oil orally.
Step 2. Add turmeric powder to liquids to keep the digestive tract functioning properly
Turmeric also works as an antiseptic. Place 1 tablespoon turmeric and 1 tablespoon honey in 240 ml of hot water to dissolve the mixture. Drink the liquid and repeat the procedure for best results.
Step 3. Eat spicy dishes to thin and soften the mucus
The list of spicy foods that can help release phlegm is long; some of them are:
- Wasabi or horseradish.
- Peppers such as jalapeño or Anaheim.
- Ginger and even garlic.
Method 3 of 4: Avoiding Foods and Products That Lead to Mucus Production
Step 1. Do not consume milk and dairy products
Although many dispute the evidence that dairy products encourage the production of phlegm, the best thing to do is to avoid them when you notice a worsening after the consumption of milk or dairy products. This is due to the high fat in the milk, making the mucus thicker and irritating the area.
Step 2. Avoid soy products
Soy derivatives such as soy milk, tofu, and tempeh are high in protein and healthy, but can increase the viscosity of phlegm by accumulating it in the chest. If possible, be careful and do not consume soy foods.
Step 3. Stop smoking
It's one more reason – among so many – not to smoke anymore, if you haven't already stopped. Smoke irritates the throat, worsens respiratory function and causes congestion.
Step 4. Avoid other irritants such as strong chemicals and paint smell
Ink and cleaning products such as ammonia can inflame the nostrils and throat, increasing the production of phlegm.
Method 4 of 4: Diagnosing the Problem
Step 1. Check if you have a cold
You will probably be able to tell if there is a cold. But do you know why they are accompanied by persistent phlegm? Mucus performs two functions:
- It coats the organs, keeping them moist and not letting them dry out.
- Mucus also acts as the “first line of defense” against pollutants and bacteria, which attach themselves to it before infiltrating the rest of the body.
Step 2. Find out if there is post-nasal drip
Postnasal drip is characterized by excessive production of phlegm, which ends up going down the throat instead of out of the nose. The condition can be caused by colds and allergies, a deviated septum, side effects of certain medications (including those for high blood pressure) and smoke from irritants. If you notice that the discharge has an unpleasant odor or has been present for more than 10 days, consult a doctor.
Step 3. Find out if the phlegm production is being caused by an allergic reaction or a seasonal allergy
Any type of allergy can stimulate the production of mucus, which in this case will be very clear; when the “culprit” is a cold or flu, it takes on a greenish-yellow color. If you are susceptible to allergies, do not leave the house when the pollen index is high and do not get close to:
- Animal hair.
Step 4. Pregnancy can exacerbate phlegm production
If you recently discovered pregnancy, it may have caused your phlegm to build up. Although there is no solution other than consuming decongestants such as Claritin, this should be reassuring as you will know that the exaggerated mucus buildup is temporary.
- Drink lots of water.
- Stay away from paint and smoke as they will make your throat even more clogged.
- Eat spicy foods.
- Sleep well.
- Start the day with a glass of hot water with a generous spoonful of honey.
- Rest well and drink a hot cup of herbal tea.
- Drink tea or any other hot beverage.
- Hot water, lemonade, honey and a little cinnamon are good options.
- Every half hour, gargle with salt water if necessary.
- Go to the emergency room when you notice that there is blood or a greenish-yellow color in the expectorated mucus.