Treatments for Postnasal Drip
Postnasal drip is a common condition where the sinus cavity empties into the back of throat and into the stomach. Healthy sinuses are constantly producing a thin layer of mucus that keeps them moist and clean, but when the sinus cavity becomes irritated it overproduces and thickens the mucus, causing discomfort and excessive drainage. Postnasal drip can affect people differently. Some experience it on a daily basis, while others may only experience the condition during a cold or allergic reaction.
In order to treat postnasal drip effectively, one must have the proper diagnosis. Postnasal drip is caused by seasonal allergies, sickness or irritation from the environment. People with seasonal allergies can easily recognize the postnasal drip as a result of the change in the seasons. Postnasal drip can also be caused by sickness, such as the common cold or sinusitis (sinus infection). Lastly, it can be caused by air pollution or the drastic change in air temperature and humidity.
If the postnasal drip is caused by allergies, take a 24-hour, over-the-counter antihistamine daily for the duration of the allergy season. If the condition is the result of the common cold, take an over-the-counter decongestant. If it’s due to a sinus infection, see a doctor to get on prescription antibiotics. If air pollution or environmental issues are the cause, use saline spray every hour and sleep with a humidifier at 40 percent humidity.
The treatment for postnasal drip is dependent on the cause. If the cause is from seasonal allergies, the condition can last as long as the season. For those who suffer from chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip may need to be treated throughout a lifetime. If it is the result of a common cold or sinusitis, then relief should only take three to five days depending on the duration of the cold or infection.
The most effective way to prevent postnasal drip is to take a decongestant at the first sign of sinus congestion or discharge. The decongestant will dry up the excessive mucus in the sinus cavity, preventing it from dripping in the back of the throat. Drinking at least six 8-oz. glasses of water will also help the body clean itself out and make the mucus thin and easily expressed from the body.
In severe instances, people who suffer from chronic sinus infections can experience adverse reactions from the overuse of antibiotics. Antibiotics are intended to be used very rarely, but they are the only effective way to cure infection. The overuse of antibiotics can make a person more susceptible to bacteria and immune to common antibiotics.