Mucus and phlegm are an unavoidable result of the cold winter months. A mucus build-up, if left untreated, leads to a cough, a sore throat and possibly an infection. Over-the-counter antihistamines break-up mucus and eliminate coughs and sore throats. Such products are also known to cause drowsiness or a loopy feeling. Loosening mucus without prescriptions or other medicines, allows you to eliminate phlegm and sinus drainage, without experiencing an unwanted sleepy or hazy feeling.
Cough, or otherwise clear your throat. This action breaks apart clumps of mucus, helping it to pass either through, or out of your body.
Drink plenty of fluids. Drinking the proverbial eight glasses of water per day loosens and thins mucus, preventing it from building up in your throat and chest.
Add moisture to the air by using a humidifier or boiling water on your stove. The excess humidity moistens mucus and moisturises your airways, making it easy for the mucus to pass through your body.
Use a saline nasal spray and/or gargle with salt water. The salt, combined with the liquid, moisturises dry nasal passages and also prevents mucus from clumping up inside your nose and throat.
Eat spicy foods. Foods such as chilli peppers and Wasabi Peas, thin mucus and expel it from your body via the mouth or nose.
Brew homemade peppermint tea. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a tea made up of 1 cup boiling water and 1 tsp dried peppermint leaves, loosens mucus and eliminates a sore throat. Let the mixture cool before drinking, and drink the tea three to five times per day. The University of Maryland website doesn't recommend giving such a tea to infants or small children.
Avoid foods such as dairy products, caffeine, overly salty foods and soy products.
The MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia website recommends contacting a doctor if the mucus build-up lasts for longer than three weeks, or longer than 10 days -- if dealing with a child under the age of three.