How to Get Rid of Mucus in Your Throat

This is how I feel when I have a sinus infection and am searching for relief.

The title is a search term that brought someone to my bolg.  For some reason, it really amused me.  Maybe because I’ve had issues with it.  Maybe because I woke up at 4:00 am with a sore throat, swollen glands, and totally congested.  So I thought I might address the issue.

So I promptly went and made dinner (smashed potatoes, a hamburger patty, and herb gravy for beef).  While cooking and eating dinner I watched Chalet Girl.  It didn’t bore or annoy me in the first 5 minutes.  This was good.  Bill Nighy came on the screen.  This was better.  It was at that moment I knew I would finish the movie and, at the very least, like it.  I loved it.  A winning skateboarder takes a job at a chalet in the Alps in order to help support her father after they were in a car crash that killer her mother.  She has never skied and this puts her in an awkward position with her coworker.  She comes across a snow board.  This resembles a skateboard.  So she gives it a go.  And the movie progresses from there.  Give it a go.  It won’t clear your throat but it will entertain you and distract you from it.  Just like it distracted me from writing the post after I got out the first paragraph.

One of the most common methods is decongestants.  After all, the mucus is coming from the sinuses.  The only problem with these is that sometimes they really dry you out.  You end up with dry mouth, dry nostrils, dry eyes, over dryness in more delicate areas.  And if it isn’t very effective, you can’t really take much else for a few hours.  I tend to fluctuate between using them a lot and using them as a last resort.  I’m in a ‘last resort’ sort of place now.

Soup is good.  Hot soup.  Steaming soup.  Spicy soup that gets the sinuses flowing and hot in temperature that  sort of ‘melts’ it from your throat.  I like Chicken Soup from Hell.   Dice up a chicken breast, brown in some olive oil.  Toss in onion and garlic. LOTS of onion and garlic.  Add water.  Add bullion. Add seasoning.  The most important being the cayenne pepper.   In fact, the chicken is just to give the soup some thing to actually eat in it.  The point is to get the onion, garlic, and cayenne into the system for their health and cold fighting properties. 

They say hot tea works, especially hot mint tea.  I never found this to be true.   Inhaling the steam while it cools enough to actually drink it just doesn’t get enough through the sinuses.  The hot tea helps the throat somewhat, but usually, once it gets to drinking temperature, it doesn’t clear the throat as well as soup in general does.  Now if you take a pure mint tea bag and use it as a smelling sachet, that does work clear the sinuses and eventually the throat.  A warning, you will be inhaling small particles of mint leaves and it will turn your mucus a deep green when you next blow your nose.

Nasal sprays work fantastic on the nose and can sorta clear the throat.  But they leave a horrible taste in the back of the throat, make the nose feel raw, can lead to increased sore throats, can lead to increased congestion when they wear off, and can result in a cycle of constant use to clear the increasingly worse congestion.  And you should never use them for longer than seven days.  So I’ll only use them at bed time if I’m too bad off to fall asleep.  I and use them very sparingly.

There is an old chorus trick of gargling or drinking lemon juice to clear the throat of mucus.  This can be somewhat effective.  But if you have an actual sore throat, this can also sting.   On a similar note, I’ve found gargling with strong alcohol (think vodka and such) to be helpful in the short-term.  The very short-term.  For 15 minutes or so.  probably not worth it really.  Unless it’s to get some relief while you are cooking soup or something.  Or you want a few drinks so you don’t care about the annoying, thick, choking mucus in  your throat that is really annoying you.

And then there is my personal favorite, the neti pot.  This like device washes the sinuses out with a saline solution.  It helps pull it out of the back the help clear the throat.  This also makes the mucus shift and makes you want to spit a few times which also helps.  You have to blow your nose a couple of times in the 5 or 10 minutes after using it so that helps too.  It really makes you feel better in the nose and throat.  And if you feel like you are coming down with a sinus infection, regular use every 4 – 6 hours helps prevent said infection.  By clearing it out regularly, it can’t build up a ‘pool’ of infected mucus in your sinuses and thus the body’s natural defenses are able to better fight off any infection and you can avoid having to over use antibiotics from the doctor. 

So, the neti pot is my favorite method of not only clearing my nose, but clearing out the thick gunk that builds up and coats the throat, so it feels like you cannot clear your throat.  That’s as long as I remember to actually use it. Some days, I don’t notice it until I’ve left for work and it will annoy me all day long.  I hate it when that happens.  I had bought a second one to keep at work and a second box of the saline, but somewhere along the line one set vanished and I once again must remember to carry mine around with extra packets of saline.

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7 Responses to “How to Get Rid of Mucus in Your Throat”

  1. If you don’t mind my asking, how difficult is using a neti pot the first time?

    Really, the very idea terrifies me, enough that I don’t trust asking Google about it. Look what it did with your search terms, for example. Google is just what we call Skynet before it becomes self-aware and writes off humanity with robots and lasers. Neti pots sound exactly like what I need, though.

  2. It is really easy. The first time I used it was a little awkward. But nothing panic inducing. Just follow the directions it comes with and it isn’t to hard. You put the saline packet in the pot, fill to the fill line with tepid water (to warm or to cold is not pleasant), put the one end in one nostril and tilt your head to the other side(leaning forward a bit) until the water starts pouring out the other nostril. Then do the other direction. Easy. But best to do leaning over a sink or in the shower.

  3. Hi there. I saw you over on Gin & Lemonade.

    This post struck home. I went to a hippie-dippie herb shop and the lady gave me the most helpful advice: while in the shower, sprinkle a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil on the wall, not where the water hits. Let the steam do its thing. We call it meucalyptus oil because, well, um…. !!

    • I would put a couple drops in a really hot bath. Or peppermint oil. But I lost my last bottle shortly after buying it and it isn’t cheap stuff. So I’ve not replaced it yet. But I have to be careful. To many drops irritates the skin. I’ll have to try that shower trick with it.

  4. Stitchersflock Says:

    Mint hot tea is my go to remedy for almost every ailment, it’s never let me done. Although, Gin (well ok PImms not Gin) and Lemonade is another favorite

    • Hot mint tea, pure mint, not a blend of mint and black, is my go to tea for most things too. And if I need to make a hot toddy for any reason, I do it in a base of mint tea rather than just hot water.

  5. Right the neti pot. I’ve heard good things but I’m with blue up there and have been a chicken shit. I could have used it a couple weeks ago. I startled myself and left my husband questioning his love and devotion when I snorted so loud it awoke me. He just started laughing and thought I was going to hock a big one. I disgusted myself.

    Hope you are feeling better.

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