DEAR DOCTOR K: The worst part of a cold for me is the postnasal drip that lasts for weeks. Can I do anything to stop it?
DEAR READER: I'm also a frequent sufferer from postnasal drip, so I'm pleased to say there are treatments that can help.
Postnasal drip is discharge from your nose and sinuses that drips down the back of your throat. If it were coming out through your nostrils, you'd call it a “runny nose.” Following colds, the discharge typically is thin and white. If you get a sinus infection, the discharge can be thick and colored yellow, brown or green.
One of the first things to try is a saline spray. Saline washes remove mucus, irritants and allergens from your nose and moisturize your nasal passages. Many saline sprays are available over-the-counter. To use these products, gently squirt the saline solution into each side of your nose while you're bending over the sink or standing in the shower. The solution should flow into one nostril and out the other. You may rinse your sinuses as needed, depending on your symptoms.
Also try filling a basin with hot water and inhaling the air just above the surface. And use a humidifier at night.
AT A GLANCE
Nasal irrigation is a little complicated. But it is also very effective in clearing the thick mucus: