No, I am not talking about an irritating tap, although to be fair, if I hear one I will hunt it down and deal with it immediately because the sound of water dripping is my number one irritating sound. I am talking about something even worse. Post Nasal Drip.
It is common at this time of year because it is the cold and flu season. Post Nasal Drip is essentially how all the gunk from your sinuses gets down onto your chest and gives you that trademark graveyard hack that we all know and love. If you want to totally gross out some dinner guests sometime, you can tell them that on an average day we will swallow down a quart or two of mucus. It sounds worse than it is, because this mucus is the good kind – clear, watery and great at keeping the membranes in the nose clean, moist and free from infections. However, if you get allergies or a stinker of a head cold, then the mucus producing glands go into overdrive and the, how can I put this nicely, overflow, goes down your throat. Ugh.
So how do you deal with it? Well the first thing is to make sure you are well hydrated. Lots of lovely water and hot liquids will help keep the mucus free flowing so you don’t notice it too much. Not too much whiskey in the hot toddy tough. Alcohol will dehydrate you and cause more of a problem.
If you really suffer with post nasal drip, then consider moving to more temperate climes – a really cold climate will exacerbate a post nasal drip issue. The nose is kind of an air conditioner for the body, running the humidity and temperature levels that make everything else run properly. If you are constantly going from dry indoors to humid outdoors and from hot house to freezing polar ice cap, then your nose will be working overtime. The best advice is to keep indoors damp(ish) using a humidifier if you live in a dry climate (not necessary in the UK) and don’t set the indoor thermostat to tropical – keep it cool as you can stand. Ours at home is at 17 degrees. Partly so we have somewhere to go when it gets really cold (limit of 20 degrees though… if we need it to be warmer, then we will go and fetch another sweater) and partly because we do not like hot, hot, hot.
If you have chronic post nasal drip, then you might have an allergy. Go and get it checked and see if you do. Dust mites are a common cause, but then so is animal dander. If you do get congested, try using an over the counter decongestant – although don’t use it for long periods of time. Go back to the tried and tested inhalations with some nice powerful essential oils in the water. Rosemary and Eucalyptus are great, but a teaspoon of Vicks Vaporub does WONDERS. Take Honey and Lemon for the inevitable tickly cough that will result as well.
Also, ask your doctor to check if you have a deviated septum. The septum is the wall inside your nose that divides it in two. A sharp blow or even a birth defect can cause the septum to be twisted or deviated to one side. A sharp turn in the septum can cause mucus to accumulate and when it all collects, then it drips down the back of the throat. It might be an idea to check if this an issue. There is a simple surgical procedure which can be done to correct the issue.