If people had to get together as a species and create a list of some of the most annoying things that people have to deal with within a typical human lifespan, post nasal drip would surely be somewhere near the top. Post nasal drip occurs when your natural mucus production goes out of whack and increases to the point where you notice it.
Causes and Considerations
Every day, our bodies produce several pints of mucus to heat and moisturize the air we breathe to make it suitable for the carefully balanced respiration system. This mucus also serves to keep out dust, bacteria and other particles that could damage our lungs and get into our bloodstream. When bombarded by an excess of those particles, the system ramps up and increases mucus production.
While the best remedy for post nasal drip is to avoid as best possible whatever is causing it, this is not always an option, especially when allergy season comes along or when you have the bad luck of getting sick from a bacterial or viral infection in the upper respiratory system. While certain infections associated with post nasal drip such as a chronic or acute sinus infection may require doctor prescribed antibiotics, most conditions will resolve themselves in time given a normal immune system. The best thing one can do then, is simply treat the symptoms as they happen to minimize the discomfort or annoyance to our daily lives.
The most direct and efficacious way to attack post nasal drip will likely come in the form of steroid based nasal sprays. These sprays (which often require a prescription), have anti-allergic and inflammatory properties that can quickly deal with a runny nose, congestion and post nasal drip. The problem with these sprays is that can have harmful side effects, so they need to be used sparingly and in constant consultation with a physician. Another option comes in the form of oral steroids which can also be quite potent, and like the sprays, they can be harmful in the long term. Probably the most widely used and available medications useful in dealing with post nasal drip are antihistamines. These drugs help block some of the body's reactions to allergens that lead to post nasal drip. Claritin and Benadryl are most common. Nasal decongestants are another common branch of medications that are useful when experiencing post nasal drip. Spray versions such as Afrin will immediately help with the swelling in the nasal cavity and allow the mucus to pass more easily, yet they can become dangerous and addictive if used for more than a few days.
It is important to consider the potential side effects or dangers when using these medications. Still, these medications should help you deal with that incessant and distracting post nasal drip, giving you the relief to work, play or relax in peace.