7 tips to help get rid of phlegm

Mucus or phlegm is a thick, yellowish liquid your body naturally produces from glands in the nose and throat. Unless we’re sick, we may not notice it at all. But how do you get rid of excess phlegm?
Why do you have excess phlegm?

First, it’s important to distinguish mucus from excess phlegm. The average person produces one to two litres of mucus per day. This serves to moisten and cleanse the nasal passages, while trapping bacteria and other irritants that could be harmful to your respiratory system. Excess phlegm in the head and chest is often the sign of infection like cold or flu, and usually dissipates as soon as the infection heals.

Those who suffer from seasonal allergies may experience excess phlegm in addition to sneezing, coughing and itchy eyes. Again, as the allergens in the air dissipate, the phlegm will usually subside.

Postnasal drip is when an excessive amount of phlegm accumulates in the nose and throat. The mucus drips down the back of the throat or is swallowed. This can lead to congestion and stomach upset.

Phlegm and mucus can be bothersome, but there are ways to treat phlegm it and get rid of its uneasy side effects.

Get a humidifier

Use a humidifier, especially in the dry winter months, to add moisture to the air. Help loosen phlegm due to cough or cold by inhaling steam from a hot pot of water or a hot shower. Try adding a few drops of tea tree or eucalyptus oil for added relief from congestion.

Eat right

Milk, meat and soy products can contribute to thicker phlegm. Avoid dairy products when battling a cold or allergy attack. Spicy foods and cayenne pepper as well as ginger have been found effective at loosening mucus. A well-balanced diet that contains lots of vitamin C-rich foods will help reduce mucus production.

Drink plenty of water

Hydration is important for your overall health. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Hot teas and broth can help moisten airways and provide temporary relief from congestion.


Gargle in the morning and before bedtime with a mixture of warm water and salt to break up mucus and phlegm.

Neti Pot

The Neti Pot is a small ceramic or plastic pot used for nasal irrigation. Flushing the sinus cavity with a saline solution can thin mucus, alleviate congestion and help reduce the pressure of a sinus infection. Create a saline solution with one teaspoon of salt to one pint of sterile lukewarm water.

Avoid smoking

Avoid smoke and harsh chemicals or fumes in cleaning products as they can irritate the lining of the nose and throat causing an overproduction of mucus.

Exercise regularly

When in doubt, sweat it out. Exercise that causes a sweat can help detoxify the body and reduce mucus production.

While these methods can help you get rid of or deal with excess phlegm, over-the-counter medications and nasal sprays may offer additional relief from pain and congestion. If an infection does not subside within five to seven days, ask your doctor if you need prescription medications or antibiotics for treating your phlegm.

7 tips to help get rid of phlegm
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