Video transcription

Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we're going to talk about how to get rid of post nasal drip and cough. What do we mean when we say post nasal drip? Well, it's pretty straightforward. The nose is connected to the back of the throat and when you get a runny nose the mucus and secretion strip down the back of the throat, that can be really annoying. It can cause some sore throat and as that stuff drips down into the lungs, you have a reflex to cough it back up and get it out of the lungs, so post nasal drip can also cause cough. Getting rid of it depends on what is the cause. There are several things that can cause post nasal drip. The most common is probably a cold. In medicine we call that a viral upper respiratory infection or a viral rhinosinusitis and really the only thing to do for that is wait until it's over. Rest will help, a vaporizer may make you or your child more comfortable if they're having this. Some adults find help with a neti pot which is like this tea pot that almost looks like a Genie's lantern and use it to introduce a little bit of saline or salt water up into the nasal passages that can help open them up and wash them out a little bit but don't overdo that either. Anything can be overdone. So, several times a day is fine but every five minutes is probably way too much. In children the use of the neti pot has not been as well studied and very few children are able to really tolerate it and cooperate adequately with it. Now, in young infants, you can use a little bit of nasal saline, just a little salt water dribbled in the nose, two or three drops and sucked back out after a few seconds with a suction bulb which may help clear the nasal passages. Now if you're runny stuffy nose and cough are coming from a sinus infection, how do you know? Well, they've probably been going on for more than ten to fourteen days. You may have had a fever for greater than three days or a fever greater than 104 degrees. In these cases, we often use antibiotics. Whether the antibiotics work is another question altogether. In children there is some evidence that antibiotics can help with a bacterial sinus infection like I just described. In adults the evidence is not as good. So while we do it frequently, you might talk to your doctor and say hey, are you really sure this is going to help? Now, if this is from allergies, there are some great allergy medicines out there. The best are the nasal sprays with steroids in them, Fluticasone or Flonase is now over, it's not over-the-counter but it is generic so it's inexpensive and it works fantastic but there are several other competing brands, most of them are more expensive because they're still branded. But they work great. An antihistamine can be a helpful medicine as well. The most common and popular right now are Sertrazine, Zyrtec or Loratadine which is sold branded as Claritin. So you can use those. They don't tend to make people quite as drowsy as some of the older antihistamines and they last longer. It may be difficult to tell which thing you've got. You may have two or three going on at once. So, if you're post nasal drip and cough are not getting better relatively quickly or if there is something unusually severe about them, for gosh sake, check with your doctor and see what needs to be done. Talking about relieving post nasal drip and cough, I'm Dr. David Hill.