Post-nasal drip is the flow of mucus from the sinus cavities into the back of the throat. The symptoms of post-nasal drip may include sore throat, constant cough, hoarse voice, a feeling of mucus stuck at the back of the throat and a persistent need to blow one's nose. Post-nasal drip is a constant dripping of accumulated mucus down the back of the throat which may be coloured, thick or even infected. Post-nasal drip is one of the most common characteristics of chronic rhinitis.
Post-nasal drip can be caused by colds, sinus infections, allergies or even dental problems. There are prescription medicines and over-the-counter treatments for this condition including antihistamines, decongestants, antibiotics and nasal sprays. There are natural treatments, as well, which may work and enable one to avoid the side effects of conventional medication. Drinking a lot of liquids is vital as liquids help to stimulate the flow of mucus and dilute it to an extent. Washing nasal passages with a saline solution on a regular basis also helps to wash away the bacteria and foreign particles which may be lodged there or in the sinus cavities. This will not treat the underlying cause of sinus infection.
Allergies are the body's inflammatory response to an outside substances known as allergens. Typical allergens include pollen, house dust, dust mites and cockroaches, mould, some foods and animal dander. The best way to avoid allergic reactions is to avoid allergens, but it may often be difficult or even impossible to do so. Certain preventive measures can be taken to minimise the allergies. These include using cotton fibres in bedding, wearing a pollen mask when cleaning the house or mowing the lawn, installing of a humidifier, eliminating all house plants and bathing house pets frequently.
Though nasal irritants do not evoke the typical reaction seen in common allergies, they do make these worse as is the case with vasomotor rhinitis. Nasal irritants include smog, exhaust smoke, perfume, aerosol sprays and cigarette smoke. Identification and treatment of allergens is a difficult task, and it is best to consult an allergy specialist to find out the possible allergens which trigger the allergic reactions. A careful history is usually taken by the physician, and some skin tests are performed to try and identify the normal environmental allergies.
For some, It may become necessary to use medication to cure rhinitis and post-nasal drip. There are several medications used to cure this condition. These include decongestant and steroid nasal sprays, oral steroids, antihistamines, oral decongestants, mucus thinning agents and allergy shots. Quite a few of these medications have serious side effects and must be taken on a short-term basis and monitored by a physician.
Since conventional medication for rhinitis and chronic post-nasal drip is usually strong and may trigger side effects, many of those who have these problems turn to natural methods to mitigate the more serious symptoms. These could be simple but effective measures like blowing the nose frequently, using a saline spray, practicing some relaxation techniques to reduce stress and cutting down on the intake of dairy products.