When you have the flu you will find that you may start having trouble breathing. Influenza (flu for short) is actually a highly contagious viral infection that affects the respiratory passages where symptoms include fever, severe aches and pains all over the body, headaches, a dry cough, either a dry or sore throat and a cold. Often the flu can lead to more complicated bacterial infections such as ear or sinus infections and even bronchitis and pneumonia.
When you’re sick you will notice that you may have trouble breathing due to your respiratory passages have become irritated and the consistency of the mucus has changed. Naturally mucus lines the throat and nasal passages, but when sick, the consistency changes causing you to clog up your throat and nasal passages and even have a runny nose. Other symptoms include coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and a rasping sound in your chest, which can cause mild to moderate to discomfort. Whilst the mucus build-up in your nose is easier to clear out, the mucus in your throat is much more difficult. When the naturally sticky mucus changes character it may also become thicker making it more cumbersome to expel from your body.
Causes for Excessive Mucus Build-up
Allergies can irritate your respiratory passages and cause mucus in the throat when the likes of pollen, smoke, pollution and even food items such as lactose intolerance. These cause the mucus membranes to act up. If you have such allergies, you should take precautions to avoid these triggers.
Smoking is one of the main causes of excess mucus in the nose along with phlegm build-up in the throat. This is due to prolonged smoking, which causes inflammation of the mucus lining. The same goes for excessive consumption of alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
Some food groups can cause reactions where increase in mucus has been noted especially at the onset of a cold, flu or fever. Dairy products, eggs and wheat based can cause such reactions.
Sinus Infections can also cause inflammation in the nasal passages and thereby the sinuses will secrete more mucus. This acts as a defence mechanism to fight the invading bacteria. This excess mucus may become thick and accumulate in the throat to be later expelled.
Treatments for Excess Mucus
There are many ways in which you can treat the excessive mucus by using the likes of the below.
- Decongestants: This causes the blood vessels of the nose to narrow, reducing the blood flow to the area thus producing less mucus and feeling less congested. They are best used for colds when you are having difficulty breathing but not for thickened mucus.
- Saline Nasal Sprays: These sprays allow you to loosen up mucus to avoid it getting crusty.
- Nasal Drops: They may either be of the decongestant or saline variety. It will carry out one of the two solutions mentioned above.
- Expectorant Cough Medication: What this does is thin out the mucus in your throat to allow you to cough it up, and clear up your cough