Mucus Relief: The Best Mucus Medicines to Get Rid of Phlegm
Mucus relief isn’t optional. If you’re wondering how to get mucus out of your throat, you need answers.
Here, we’ll cut through the noise to get you easy-to-understand information about clearer breathing and mucus-busting medicines.
Why Mucus Relief? Understanding the Role of Mucus and Phlegm
Mucus has a bit of a bad reputation. We rarely think much about mucus unless we’re having an issue with it, after all. But mucus is a hugely important bodily substance. Without it, we’d experience significant challenges.
Mucus, a slippery and sticky fluid produced by the body’s mucous membranes, acts as a line of defense against irritants that the body doesn’t want in its system.
So, for example, mucus can trap microbes, dust, and foreign particles carried in through the air we breathe. This prevents those irritants and pathogens from making their way into our lungs, protecting us from infections and inflammation.
That’s not all. Mucus also moisturizes the air we breathe as it enters our respiratory symptoms. This further protects our sensitive internal systems from dust, dryness, and irritation.
That’s when everything goes according to plan.
There are cases where the human body makes a little too much mucus – including:
When the body makes too much mucus, that can lead to frustration, pain, and difficult-to-manage symptoms.
Do You Need Mucus Relief? Here’s How to Tell
Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms?
- A persistent cough. Coughing is one of the ways your body naturally gets rid of excess mucus. If you keep coughing, there may be a reason why.
- Difficulty breathing. If you have too much mucus in your system, it could obstruct your airways. This may make it hard to breathe.
- Constant throat clearing. A consistent and significant amount of mucus in your throat could lead to frustrating, hard-to-clear mucus buildup. If you’re constantly trying to clear your throat but don’t feel like you’re making progress, you could have excess mucus.
- Sinus congestion. Mucus overproduction can lead to nasal passage blockages. This, in turn, can cause stuffy noses, pressure in the face, and even headaches.
First of all, if any of these symptoms (especially difficulty breathing) constitutes an emergency situation, call for help at once.
However, if you’re looking for mild to moderate relief or long-term support, prescription medication and mucus relief products may be able to provide what you need.
How to Get Mucus Out of Throat
To get mucus out of your throat, get hydrated. This will thin the mucus, making it runnier and easier to expel.
A few ways to do this include:
- Drinking water.
- Gargling with warm salt water. (This should soothe your throat, too.)
- Inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water.
If your throat is sore, drinking ginger tea with honey may help you feel better. If you cannot clear your throat effectively after taking these steps, talk to your doctor.
How to Get Rid of Phlegm
Before we answer this question, we’ll quickly answer another:
What’s the difference between mucus and phlegm?
Although these terms are often used interchangeably, the two substances are different. Mucus is a slippery material made by membranes along the entire respiratory tract – including, for example, your nose.
Phlegm is a similar slippery substance produced specifically in the lungs. It’s usually a bit thicker than other mucus. The mucous membranes in your lungs will produce phlegm in response to inflammation, making phlegm an expected visitor when you’re suffering from bronchitis or pneumonia.
Getting rid of phlegm can be complicated. A few options to try may include:
- Staying hydrated, gargling saline, and inhaling steam (as discussed above).
- Taking an expectorant, such as OTC guaifenesin, to break up your phlegm and make it easier to expel.
- Drinking tea with honey and lemon, which can help soothe your throat.
- Elevating your head while sleeping to prevent phlegm from accumulating.
If phlegm production and buildup is an ongoing concern for you, it may make sense to try avoiding irritants (such as polluted air and smoke) or even inflammatory foods (such as, for many people, dairy) to see if this helps your symptoms at all.
If you cannot achieve relief on your own, which is entirely understandable and even likely, talk to your healthcare professional. There are OTC and prescription medications that can make managing excess mucus and phlegm much easier for you.
The Best OTC Mucus Medications for Effective Relief
If mucus and phlegm are persistent issues for you, OTC (or over-the-counter) medications can get you the relief you need.
Here are three of the most common types of OTC mucus medications.
Expectorants help loosen and thin mucus in the airways – much like the above strategy of staying hydrated. Expectorants can be much more effective, especially if hydrating naturally doesn’t seem to do the trick. After taking expectorants, patients should experience cleared congestion and improved breathing.
One popular expectorant is guaifenesin, an active ingredient in Mucinex. Mucinex is a brand of mucus medication that can help make coughs more productive and lead to easier breathing.
How Much Do Expectorants Usually Cost?
You can buy 40 pills of Mucinex through NorthWestPharmacy.com for around $34.00.
Mucolytics are medicines that break down the structure of mucus.
When broken down, mucus is much easier to expel. This produces a similar result as expectorants, just in a different way.
One popular mucolytic material is acetylcysteine, the active ingredient in Mucomyst Inhalation Solution. Mucomyst Inhalation Solution is often recommended for patients with cystic fibrosis, COPD, and tuberculosis to aid with mucus and phlegm removal and, therefore, lung function.
How Much Do Mucolytics Usually Cost?
You can buy one vial of Mucomyst Inhalation Solution through NorthWestPharmacy.com for around $22.00.
Decongestants are medicines that work by narrowing nasal passage blood vessels. This reduces swelling in these constricted areas, which indirectly helps reduce congestion by creating more room to breathe around built-up mucus.
Vicks DayQuil Complete is a common decongestant. It’s also a combination product that contains other inflammation- and pain-reducing ingredients like acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, guaifenesin (an expectorant!), and phenylephrine. Often, patients with a cold or flu take Vicks DayQuil Complete for timely relief.
How Much Do Decongestant Medicines Usually Cost?
You can buy one bottle of Vicks DayQuil Complete through NorthWestPharmacy.com for around $16.00.
The Best Prescription Mucus Medications for Effective Relief
Over-the-counter medicine can be enough for many people, but if your mucus or phlegm issues are severe or particularly persistent, prescription options may offer more potent ways to achieve the results you need.
Common prescription mucus medications include:
Inhaled corticosteroids are strong anti-inflammatory medications that are delivered (via inhalation) directly into your airways.
This reduces swelling, inflammation, and mucus production in the lungs. People with conditions like asthma and COPD often experience good results with this type of medicine.
Common inhaled corticosteroids are:
Antibiotics are effective medications that treat bacterial infections.
If the cause of your mucus overproduction is a bacterial infection – as is the case with bacterial bronchitis and pneumonia – an antibiotic may be helpful for you.
Generally, antibiotics are prescribed in short multi-day doses, where you’ll take the medication for about 5 days before reassessing the situation. If you’re taking antibiotics, be sure to follow your doctor’s directions exactly; don’t stop before treatment is done, even if you feel better!
Common antibiotics for mucus production and related challenges are:
Bronchodilators are medications that relax the muscles around a patient’s respiratory system. This allows the airways to open up, which can drastically improve airflow.
Bronchodilators are usually prescribed for conditions such as asthma and COPD – where inflammation and excess mucus can result in airway obstruction.
Common bronchodilators are:
Need More Mucus-Related Tips to Achieve Relief?
Sometimes, even with the best prescription or non-prescription mucus medications, it’s still a good idea to try and create the most helpful environment and lifestyle possible to help reduce mucus production triggers.
Here are some ways to help make that happen.
Tips to Prevent Excessive Mucus Production
- Avoid allergens and irritants. Keep an eye on the air quality rating in your area, or, if you know that you’re susceptible to a specific type of seasonal allergen, just be aware that it may be time to pull out a mask or prep a mucus relief medication, just in case. Steering clear of fireplaces and other sources of secondhand smoke can also help avoid excess mucus production.
- Maintain good indoor air quality. Give your respiratory system a safe place to return to! When you’re at home, keep your air clean by using air purifiers to reduce airborne pollutants, or even investing in a humidifier during dryer seasons to keep the air moist.
- Keep your nose and throat clean. Keep neti pots or saline nasal sprays on hand to help physically clear excess mucus and allergens from your nasal passages. If you can, gargling with warm salt water on a regular basis can also be helpful.
When to See a Doctor
There are situations in which excess mucus can be more than just frustrating. If you find yourself experiencing any of these challenges, it’s likely a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional.
Talk to a doctor if…
- You experience persistent symptoms. Excessive mucus shouldn’t last for more than a week or two, especially if you don’t know why your body’s making so much mucus.
- There’s blood in your mucus. Black, brown, or red mucus could be a sign of a more worrisome condition. Talk to your doctor if you see it!
- You have other symptoms. If you have excessive mucus and you also experience a persistent cough, unexplained weight loss, or a fever, that could indicate that you have another health issue in need of attention.
In Need of Effective Mucus Medicine? Start Here
Whether you deal with seasonal congestion or you have a chronic condition (like COPD) that necessitates strategic mucus management, it’s critical that you’re able to find and afford the mucus medication you need to thrive.
Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. Excess mucus production can happen for many reasons, and every patient may require a slightly different strategy to achieve the relief they deserve.
You need to be able to access several different options, so you can work with your doctor to figure out your best possible remedy.
And then, of course, once you determine your ideal mucus medicine strategy, you need to be able to afford your medication. For American patients, this isn’t always something you can assume. That’s why, at NorthWestPharmacy.com, we’re happy to provide a reliable way for Americans to buy the medication they need (for less!) and ship it from Canadian pharmacies directly to their front doors.
Here’s how it works: Scroll through our neatly organized online pharmacy aisles, find your required mucus medicine, select the dosage you need, and click “add to cart.” Then, follow the prompts onscreen to check out through our secure payment portal. That’s it!
Interested in learning a little more about what we offer before you buy? Peruse our consistently-high ratings, or give our seven-day-a-week customer service team a call at 1.866.539.5330 (or send us an email). You can also place your order over the phone. The team at NorthWestPharmacy.com looks forward to supporting you and your respiratory health!