Postnasal drip is mucous that runs from the nose down the back of the throat, often causing a cough, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. The purpose of mucous is to lubricate and clean nasal passages. Under normal circumstances, the mucous is swallowed without the individual realizing it. When mucous production is excessive because of allergies, a cold or a sinus infection, the fluid can accumulate in the back of the throat and trigger the cough reflex. The cough may be worse at night, interrupting the patient's sleep.
Drink eight to 12 glasses of water or other beverages that do not contain alcohol or caffeine, notes the National Institutes of Health.
Avoid allergens that cause postnasal drip. Common causes include dust, pollen, mold, pets, plants, chemical fumes, grass or cleaning agents, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. If you are not sure of the cause, keep a calendar or journal of your symptoms to help you determine what triggers allergy symptoms.
Stop smoking and avoid second-hand smoke regardless of the cause of the cough, according to the Mayo Clinic. Smoke irritates the nose and mouth and increases coughing.
Turn on a humidifier or vaporizer to increase humidity in the room.
Rub your chest with an over-the-counter camphor or menthol preparation. Inhaling the vapors can soothe a cough.
Take an over-the-counter cough syrup preparation with dextromethorphan. Cough drops or honey in hot water or tea can also be soothing.
Administer saline--saltwater--eye drops or nasal spray that are available over-the-counter. Other over-the-counter nasal sprays may also be helpful but patients should take them for only three days at a time to avoid side effects, according to NIH.
Take over-the-counter antihistamines to reduce mucous production, according to NIH. Do not drive or use heavy machinery when taking these medications because they cause drowsiness.
Things You'll Need
Over-the-counter chest rub, cough syrup, cough drops or antihistamines
Saline nasal drops