What's in this article?
What is Mucus?
Mucus also known as sputum is a sticky, gelatinous material that lines your lungs, throat, mouth, nose, and sinuses.
It’s produced by membranes in the nose and sinuses known as the mucous membranes.
The body produces a lot of mucus about 1 to 1.5 liters per day. We don’t tend to notice mucus at all unless its production is increased or the quality of mucus has changed, as may happen with different illnesses and conditions.
What areas of the body produce mucus?
Mucus is produced in many sites in the body by mucus glands in the lining tissues of multiple organs, including the:
- nose, and
- gastrointestinal tract.
Neti pot help you get rid of mucus
Neti pots and other methods for nasal irrigation work using the same principle:
- A saline (salt water) solution is injected into one nostril.
- This loosens up all the mucus in the nasal cavity.
- The water drains out the other nostril.
Be sure that any solution you use for nasal irrigation is made with sterile (such as previously boiled) water.
Treatment for Mucus
There are several ways to get rid of mucus, including the following treatments:
Decongestants You can use an over-the-counter (OTC) nasal or oral decongestant to reduce the amount of mucus in your lungs or nasal passages.
These medications clear up thick mucus but shouldn’t be overused, since they can lead to side effects or complications.
Decongestants work by narrowing the blood vessels in your nasal passages, restricting blood flow and reducing the amount of mucus produced in the area.
If overused, these drugs can actually dry up your mucous membranes and thicken the mucus they produce, leading to congestion.
Decongestants have also been linked to side effects such as dizziness, nervousness, and high blood pressure.
Antihistamines These medications are designed to block or limit the activity of histamine, a substance your body produces during an allergic reaction.
Antihistamines are great for treating symptoms such as an itchy or runny nose, but they can cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, and headache especially if they’re overused.
Expectorants Many cold and flu medications both OTC and prescription contain expectorants, which make mucus thinner and easier for your body to get rid of.
Guaifenesin is an example of a commonly used expectorant.
Nasal irrigation This is a natural method for getting rid of excess mucus. It can be performed using a neti pot, a bulb syringe, or a squeeze bottle containing salt water.
All of these methods work by pumping salt water into your nostrils to loosen up the mucus in your nasal passages and flush it out.