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So, okay, between about 3 to about 6 years old (maybe a bit longer, if you’re a boy) there’s nothing more interesting than boogers. After that, to be honest, they’re pretty gross. Actually, they’re pretty gross all the time that’s why I’m listing down a few ways to get rid of mucus especially that it is flu and cold season. Mucus serve a few important functions, acting as a barrier between your body and germs, that’s why you get a buildup around your throat when you’re sick, and a stuffy or runny nose, too but it also makes breathing hard.
What is Mucus made of?
Mucus is a slippery liquid of water, proteins and salt. Membranes line the mouth, nose, throat, sinuses and lungs. It’s their job to remove toxins from your body. These can include allergies, pollen, bacteria, even white blood cells that have ramped up thanks to infection or illness.
What does Mucus look like?
Mucus can come in three major forms. If it’s viscus and runny, it’s mucus, if it’s hardened, we call it boogers or snot, and if it’s in your chest, particularly when you’re recovering from a cold, we call it phlegm.
It’s never very pleasant, but most of the time, it’s actually helping you. Its job is to help you remove excessive bacteria, or white blood cells while you’re sick. But sometimes, you can get excess phlegm or mucus that can make breathing difficult over time. You might develop bumps in your throat that make you feel uncomfortable. Some doctors recommend using antihistamines to get rid of the excess, but they can sometimes dry out the mucus, making it even harder to breath. Everything from allergies to excess pollution in the air can cause a phlegm buildup that makes breathing and sleeping difficult, in addition to being uncomfortable. Nobody likes that drawn out hacking cough, right?
There are a few more natural ways to treat a buildup of mucus in the body. I’ve listed a few here, to help you breathe a little easier!
- A breath of fresh air
If your home is dusty, or you live in an apartment with fewer windows, you’ll be more susceptible to dander, dust, pollen, and mold. Some people even find that summer months in cities with high humidity and high pollution rates are too much for them, and actually get a doctor’s note to move for part of the year!
If that’s not something you can do, find another way to get some fresh air. Open windows and doors when it’s stuffy. Take a walk and get some good old fashioned fresh air. Try to avoid any allergens or triggers you know about, like pollen, or dust. Breathe deep, away from the irritant, and you’ll be back to normal in no time!
If you don’t have a sauna, or steam bath, it’s not a good idea to visit the public ones while you’re sick! Instead, use a humidifier. Run it during the day, and keep it clean, and it’ll put more moisture in the air, to help break up excess mucus.
- Drink Liquids
You may have heard this when you’re sick a million times, but it really works! Lots of water, chicken noodle soup, or apple juice helps to keep the mucus from going solid. Staying hydrated means the mucus can move freely, taking all the nasty bacteria with it! Stay away from caffeinated drinks like black teas and coffee. Though they are warm and seem ideal for when you’re sick, they are a diuretic, and will actually dry you out faster.
- A Nasal Rinse
Using medication can have harsh side effects, and dry out your body, but using a salt water rinse in your nose is actually pretty harmless. You don’t want to overdo it, since it will actually wash everything from your nose, including some of the stuff that protects your body from infection. But if it’s not used too often, a saline solution is great for clearing out your nose. You inject it in one nostril, and then it’ll drain out the other, loosening any buildup as it goes. It’s a bit uncomfortable, but it’ll clean you right up!
- Buckwheat Honey
Honey has been used to treat colds and sore throats for decades. Now, recent studies point to buckwheat honey as a way to relieve cough and congestion. You can purchase it at most health food stores, and should take it just like you would cough medicine, a spoonful at a time, every few hours, til your symptoms ease. A lot nicer than cough syrup, isn’t it?
- Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus is an active ingredient in a lot of the rubs you get when you have a cold, like Vicks and the like. It’s got a strong smell, and can help clear your breathing. Buying the essential oil by itself is a more natural way to get the benefits than going to a pharmacy. And where medication only has one specific use, essential oils can be applied to almost any household or health issue you might have. This is another treatment you don’t want to overdo, but it’s a great natural way to get your breathing back to normal in a hurry, whether you’re using a diffuser, or you buy a balm to rub on your skin. Don’t put essential oils directly on the skin. They’re a concentrated subject, and, natural or not, they can be dangerous.
- Try Acupressure
Plenty of people doubt the effectiveness of acupressure. Acupressure is a traditional Chinese healing practice. It involves applying pressure to certain parts of the body. Don’t worry, there are no needles in this one! You don’t even need to go to a clinic. Find the spot where your big toe and second toe meet your foot. Feel around for your toe bones. Push down firmly on either side of the spot, both sides, with your thumbs. Hold for ten seconds.
You can also try a pressure point on your collar bones. There should be a hollow near the center of your chest, caused by the spot between both collarbones. Press on the edges of both your collarbones, with your thumbs, the same as you did with your toes. Hold it for ten seconds.
When To See A Doctor
As you can see, there are plenty of natural ways to get rid of excess phlegm. Having said that though, you know your own body. If you keep getting sick, or getting a hacking, phlegmy cough, it might be an indicator of a more serious issue. You may have something simple, like acid reflux or an allergy. But it may be a more serious problem like chronic bronchitis, or a lung disease or infection. If you experience chest pains, or cough up any blood, or have chronic shortness of breath, be sure to get to a doctor!
Otherwise, though, mucus is pretty harmless, and mostly helpful. As uncomfortable as it is, it helps while you’re sick, to keep your body clearing out the bacteria. Usually, once your cold runs its course, or your allergy goes away, you should be breathing normally again! If it’s taking too long for your liking, try these tips, and get some fresh air!
A family lifestyle blogger who left her corporate job in Cebu for a slower life in Iligan City, Philippines. Healthline – Best Mom Blogs 2017, ESCooped – Cebu’s Top Family Blogger 2016, Top 10 Blogs Voice Boks Comedy Edition, Bloggys 2015 – Finalist, Family and Relationships Category, featured on BlogHer.com and HumorWriters.org. Jhanis also works as a Freelance Writer/Content Creator and manages a small farm house decor business when she’s not taking naps.