Post Nasal Drip Infection

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Post nasal drip is caused when mucus flows backwards from the sinus cavities into the back of the throat. Aside from the constant dripping of mucus, other common indicators of post nasal drip are irritation and congestion. Post nasal drip won't go away quickly on its own. If not properly treated, it can last weeks, months or sometimes even years. It can even lead to sinus infection or nasal polyps, which are small, sac-like growths lining the nose and comprised of inflamed tissue.

The Facts

Post nasal drip includes some symptoms that are different than those from a common cold. Because post nasal drip causes mucus to drip down the back of the throat, symptoms include a sore or infected throat, constantly coughing or the feeling of having to constantly clear the throat, a hoarse voice, and the constant feeling of wanting to blow the nose.

Effects

As a result of the increased mucus production, the body is left unable to transport mucus effectively. This causes the mucus in our bodies to become thick, which blocks the nasal passages and sinus cavities. This is the reason why the mucus then begins to drip down the back of the throat--it’s the only alternative exit. Our reaction to increased mucus production is different than that of our body's; we attempt to get it out by blowing our noses, coughing, or forcing the mucus up from the back of our throats then swallowing it. If, however, there is a mucus infection or any bacteria present in the mucus, it can be transferred into the ears, forced into sinus cavities, or cause both chest and throat infections.

Considerations

Consider making your own salt-water solution to cure your post nasal drip by adding two to three heaping teaspoons of kosher salt and a teaspoon of baking soda to one pint of room temperature water. Store the solution at room temperature and always mix it before each use. Use a plastic syringe to inject the solution into your nostrils to help flush out your nasal passages.

Prevention/Solution

Drinking large amounts of water throughout the day is not only good for you, but it will help cure post nasal drip by stimulating mucus flow, thus preventing it from becoming too thick. You can also ask your doctor or a local pharmacist what over-the-counter saline solution will be best for you. These preservative-free solutions enable you to wash your nasal passages and clear them of any harmful bacteria or foreign particles that may be trapped inside.

Causes

Post nasal drip can occur for a wide variety of reasons: rhinitis, acute or chronic sinusitis, acid reflux, or by seasonal or persistent allergies. Some birth control pills have also been found to cause post nasal drip because of their elevated levels of estrogen. Other causes include large consumption of dairy products, smoking, and throat and swallowing disorders, such as esophageal motility disorder.

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