Have you ever experienced postnasal drip? Most people have, but don’t know the terminology to describe the sensation. Below is everything you didn’t know (and perhaps didn’t want to know) about postnasal drip.
What Is Postnasal Drip?
Within the nose and throat are glands that produce mucus to fight infections, catch foreign particles and moisten the breathing passages. Postnasal drip occurs when excess mucus is produced, often causing a sensation of mucus draining from the nose down the throat.
What Are the Symptoms of Postnasal Drip?
The most common symptom of postnasal drip is the sensation of mucus draining into the throat. This can cause other symptoms, including:
- Persistent cough
- Sore/scratchy throat
- Bad breath
- Nausea due to mucus draining into the stomach
What Are the Causes of Postnasal Drip?
There are many possible causes of postnasal drip. Common ones include:
- Bacterial infections
- Certain medications
- Cold temperatures
- Common cold
- Deviated septum
- Dry air
- Nasal polyps
- Sinus infections
- Spicy foods
When Should You See a Doctor for Postnasal Drip?
Postnasal drip is rarely a sign of anything serious; it is normally just a mild nuisance. However, you should see a physician if symptoms last longer than ten days and/or seem to be worsening. You should see a doctor right away if you also experience fever, wheezing, breathing difficulties or mucus with a strong odor.
How Is Postnasal Drip Treated?
You can purchase over-the-counter medications such as decongestants and antihistamines to ease the symptoms of postnasal drip. Other home remedies include using a saline nasal spray or rinse, staying hydrated and sleeping with your head elevated.
How Can You Prevent Postnasal Drip?
In most cases, postnasal drip is a symptom of a cold, infection or allergies. Avoid getting sick by being proactive with hand washing and avoiding contact with others who are sick. If your postnasal drip is due to allergies that are not managed by over-the-counter medications, schedule an appointment for an allergy test. Once your doctor identifies what you’re allergic to you can proactive avoidance or begin taking immunotherapy shots.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call San Diego ENT today.