Before you run off to the doctor or pharmacy with postnasal drip or allergies, check to see what you have on hand at home to help. You might be able to manage your condition entirely with a few simple home remedies. Saltwater, drinking plenty of fluids and using a humidifier are just a few things available for postnasal drip, while allergies might require a change in lifestyle, such as installing air conditioning in your home or car.
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Post-Nasal Drip and Allergies
Postnasal drip occurs when excess mucus gathers in the back of your throat. Its most common causes are colds, allergies, flu, tonsillitis or gastroesophageal reflux, also called GERD. Some symptoms of the condition include bad breath, difficulty breathing, constant spitting or swallowing, coughing, a cracking voice or burning at the back of the throat. Allergies can come from diverse causes, but most are contact, food or inhalant allergies. The biggest offenders are dust, pollen, pet dander and mold. Allergies are one of the causes of postnasal drip. Foods are also a source of allergies, with seafood, nuts and eggs being common culprits.
Remedies for Post-Nasal Drip
MayoClinic.com recommends staying away from irritating substances such as cigarette smoke. Sudden temperature changes can be problematic as well. The website recommends drinking plenty of water to help flush the mucus, using a humidifier to put moisture in the air and using nasal sprays or rinses with saline solution in them. "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies" suggests using a neti pot to flush your nasal passages with saltwater. The pot resembles a small teapot without a handle. You use it by leaning over the sink, putting the spout in one nostril and letting the solution run out the other. Then reverse, and blow your nose through both nostrils. The book also recommends staying away from dairy products such as milk and ice cream because they increase mucus production, and trying to relax. Stress seems to be a factor in chronic nasal problems. Meditation and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress.
Remedies for Other Allergies
Allergies occur when the body's immune system becomes sensitive to a substance that is not normally harmful. For some people, they are just an irritating fact of life, while for others they can be life threatening. People with constant allergies to pollen, mold and dust mites should consider air conditioning their homes and cars and investing in a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air. People with pet allergies who want to keep their pets can isolate them from parts of the house. Make the room you spend the most time in your haven away from them. Get rid of your carpets because they make a perfect place for dust and molds as well as pollen and pet dander. Wear a mask over your face when you do any activity that might exacerbate your allergies.
Seek medical attention if you have allergies and have ever experienced the following symptoms during an attack: a wheezing sound when you breathe; chest congestion that makes breathing difficult, often accompanied by wheezing or asthma; welts, also called hives, which occur after exposure to an allergen. Welts may be an early warning sign of life-threatening anaphylactic shock. It often occurs with bee stings, but can happen with other allergies as well.