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By Deni Hui, The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy

Curist delivers FDA-approved allergy medicines to your door at half the price of traditional brands. We hope everyone stays safe and healthy during this time.

Have you ever felt like there is mucus dripping into your throat from your nose or mucus collecting in the back of your throat? Have you ever felt the constant need to clear your throat? If that’s the case, you may have postnasal drip. Continue reading to learn more about what can cause a postnasal drip and how you can best manage it!

What is Postnasal Drip? How Do I Know if I Have Postnasal Drip?

Every day, glands in the linings of our nose and throat produce mucus. Mucus is a thick, wet substance that moistens these areas to help trap and destroy foreign matters such as bacteria or viruses. Mucus is normally swallowed unconsciously, but when our body starts to produce more mucus than normal, you may feel it accumulate in the back of your throat. This is called postnasal drip. As the excess mucus collects and drips down the back of your throat, it can cause the sensation of tickling in the back of your throat, leading to irritation, cough, sore throat, and frequent throat clearing.

Why Do I Feel Like I Have Mucus Stuck in My Throat All The Time?

When your body starts producing excessive amounts of mucus, you may feel it accumulate in the back of your throat, thus the feeling of mucus having “stuck” in your throat all day. You may also notice an irritating feeling of it dripping down the back of your throat. These signs indicate that you have postnasal drip.

What are the Symptoms of Postnasal Drip?

The most common symptoms of postnasal drip include:

  • A need to constantly clear your throat
  • Cough that tends to worsen at night
  • Hoarseness
  • Nausea (due to extra mucus going into the stomach)
  • Scratchy throat or sore throat

Sometimes, individuals may develop complications of postnasal drip such as painful ear or sinus infections. These are typically due to excess mucus backing up into the ears or clogging the sinus passages. If you think this may be happening to you, make sure to consult with your healthcare provider.

How Do I Know if I Have a Sore Throat or Postnasal Drip?

Even though postnasal drip can feel like a sore throat, they are not the same. Sore throat and postnasal drip each has their own unique set of symptoms.

For postnasal drip, the constant presence of mucus draining down your throat can cause irritation and make you feel the need to clear your throat frequently. Because of this, postnasal drip can often lead to a sore, irritated throat.

Sore throat, on the other hand, presents with symptoms that differ from a postnasal drip. You may experience pain in your throat when speaking, swallowing, or opening your mouth. You may also notice having red or swollen tonsils.

What Causes Postnasal Drip: Sinus vs Allergies vs Weather?

Postnasal drip can be caused by a number of conditions. Being able to identify the cause of your postnasal drip quickly can help ensure an adequate and effective treatment for you.

Postnasal Drip from Sinus Problems

Postnasal drip can be caused by problems related to your sinus. Common sinus related problems that may cause postnasal drip include:

  • Common cold
  • Flu
  • Sinus infections (sinusitis)

These sinus related problems can all cause excess mucus buildup that you may feel in the back of your nose and throat, leading to the constant need to clear your sinuses.

Postnasal Drip from Allergies

Allergies are one of the most common causes of postnasal drip. Allergens such as pollen, ragweed, pet dander, or dust can trigger a postnasal drip as the body starts to produce excess mucus to eliminate foreign substances that enter the body.

Postnasal Drip from Weather

Sudden changes in weather can trigger a postnasal drip. Cold weather or dry air, especially, can irritate our nose and throat. Our body will produce mucus in an effort to humidify and warm the passages to ease irritation. The excessive amount of mucus produced can lead to a postnasal drip. 

In most cases, postnasal drip is annoying but not dangerous. If you continue to experience symptoms more than 10 days or notice other, unexplained fever (> 100.4 F), bloody mucus, foul smelling drainage, wheezing or shortness of breath, seek medical attention right away.

What is the Best Antihistamine for Postnasal Drip From Allergies?

Everyone’s body is different, and potential side effects of various antihistamines are different, so there are a few options to consider. At Curist, we recommend that the best antihistamine for postnasal drip is Curist Allergy Relief (levocetirizine). Curist Allergy Relief is a third-generation antihistamine that is powerful at reducing symptoms and minimally sedating. Fexofenadine (brand Allegra) and loratadine (brand Claritin) are good second-generation antihistamines that are non-sedating and could be good for mild to moderate postnasal drip symptoms.

Curist Mucus Relief (guaifenesin 600 mg) and Curist Mucus Relief Max Strength (guaifenesin 1200 mg) are also effective medications in thinning and loosening your mucus, clearing congestion, and making it easier for you to cough out through your mouth. Both could be helpful additions to your medicine cabinet while having postnasal drip.

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This content is for informational use only and does not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is not a substitute for and should not be relied upon for specific medical recommendations. Please talk with your doctor about any questions or concerns.