How to Deal With Throat Congestion

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How to Deal With Throat Congestion

PlushCare Content Team

Written by PlushCare Content Team

PlushCare Content Team

PlushCare Content Team

The PlushCare team is composed of medical doctors, registered nurses, and health experts who enjoy writing about health topics. Our content is reviewed by our team of medical professionals to ensure accuracy.

January 14, 2021 / Read Time 3 minutes

What is Throat Congestion?

Throat congestion is an annoying side effect of a common cold, sinusitis allergies, or any other condition that clogs your airways. Throat congestion can be very frustrating and leave you constantly clearing your throat, coughing and unable to breathe properly.

Read on to learn more about throat congestion and how to get your symptoms under control so you can get your breathing, and your life back to normal.

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What is Throat Congestion?

Throat congestion happens when mucus from your nose drips down the back of the throat, also called, postnasal drip and gets stuck.

If your nasal passage is congested but your body is still producing mucus to fight off harmful bacteria or pollutants, that mucus needs somewhere to go. Unfortunately, that place is your throat.

Throat Congestion Symptoms

You are likely suffering from throat congestion if you have:

  • A sore throat

  • A productive cough, meaning you are coughing up mucus and phlegm

  • An inability to clear your throat

  • A runny nose

  • Sneezing

  • Breathing difficulty

  • Swallowing difficulty

  • Change in voice hyponasal speech

  • Loss of smell

  • Loss of taste

  • Mild headache and body ache

  • Low fever

How to Get Rid of Throat Congestion

While the symptoms of throat congestion can be painful and frustrating, there are lots of ways to get symptom relief, including:

  • Take a hot shower: Breathe in the steam from the hot water. It will help loosen thick mucus membranes, making it easier to cough them up and blow them out.

  • Use a humidifier: Humidifiers moisten the air you breath. This moisture has a similar effect as the steam from a hot shower; it thins thick mucus allowing you to expel it easier by coughing and blowing your nose. Try adding eucalyptus oil to the humidifier to get even more relief. This essential oil has been shown to aid congestion by fighting off harmful bacteria.

  • Keep Hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids helps thins mucus from the inside out. Drinking water is the best way to do this but if you prefer to drink something else just make sure it is caffeine free because caffeine is dehydrating. When your body is dehydrated your mucus becomes thick and sticky. This creates an excess of phlegm and makes you prone to buildups because it is much harder to break up the mucus membranes.

  • Up your lemon, ginger, garlic, and spice intake: These ingredients have been linked to respiratory health. While more research is needed, ingestion is not harmful, and is very helpful to some, so it is worth a try. 

  • Try drinking lemon ginger tea and adding extra garlic to your food. Spicy foods containing capsaicin like chili peppers can also break up mucus. Just be careful not to exceed your spice limit, as this can be very uncomfortable.

  • Gargle warm salt water: try gargling warm salt water for 30-60 seconds: This helps remove any phlegm that is stuck in the throat. The salt also helps to kill bad bacteria promoting relief and recovery. While this may taste yucky, it can be worth the results.

  • Try an over the counter decongestant: consult one of our caring online doctors to find the best one for you.

Remember, the more mucus you get out of your body the better so keep hydrated, keep your environment moist, and don't hesitate to cough and blow your nose as much as possible. If your symptoms don’t improve and throat congestion becomes a regular occurrence, contact your doctor for an official diagnosis and treatment plan.

Think you may be experiencing symptoms of throat congestion?

Book an appointment with a PlushCare physician and get a prescription treatment today.

Read More About Throat Congestion


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