Excessive mucus can cause a plethora of problems in the human body. Humans can experience excessive mucus in the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. These organs are lined with membranes that secret mucus. Mucus helps the body expel germs that make us sick. Excessive mucus can make it difficult to sleep and to breath. The cause of excess mucus varies. Identify the cause of excessive mucus to decide which path of treatment to take.
Excessive mucus in the nasal passages may be a result of an environmental allergy. Symptoms of allergy that accompany excessive mucus in the nose include watery eyes, itchy throat, sneezing and sinus infection. Seasonal allergy symptoms resolve themselves when the allergen is no longer airborne. A chemical allergy can cause your nose to become suddenly congested with mucus. Ask your doctor to perform allergy tests.
People with asthma have an irritated lining of the air passages by nature. Asthmatics produce more mucus. Thick mucus plugs may form in a severe asthmatic and obstruct the airway completely. Inhaled medications, such as Albuterol, will help the bronchial tubes dilate. Use a cool-mist humidifier in a small space to loosen up mucus.
Infants and toddlers may develop excess mucus related to croup. Croup is a viral infection of the trachea and larynx. These organs become inflamed and clogged with sticky mucus. The excessive mucus can make it difficult to breath. Excess mucus will cause the child to make rasping sounds, called stridor, when breathing. Croup usually clears up within a week. The University of Michigan website recommends warm mist as first aid for croup. Take your child into the bathroom and let the shower run as hot as possible. The steam should break up the mucus. Take your baby to the hospital immediately if he loses the ability to swallow or if his lips turn blue.
The common cold can cause excessive mucus in the sinuses and throat. It is a common misconception that green mucus is a viral infection and yellow is bacterial. Colds are always viral and antibiotics will never help. People with a cold may experience postnasal drip. Postnasal drip occurs when excess mucus drips from your nose down your throat. This can make breathing difficult.
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes characterized by excess mucus. Bronchitis may be accompanied by a cough. Coughing is the body's way of expelling mucus. Bronchitis can be caused by a virus or a bacteria. Your doctor will perform tests to see if antibiotics will be useful. If bronchitis is caused by a virus, over-the-counter products can help thin out the mucus and make it easier to cough out. Use a cold-mist humidifier to keep the mucus thin. If breathing becomes painful and you develop a fever, your doctor will evaluate you for pneumonia.