This is part 1 in a 2-part mini-series about coping with phlegm during the cold and flu season.
Phlegm is your body’s way of fighting a respiratory infection. The next part of this series will cover which herbs and spices can help reduce your phlegm build up.
Brace yourselves, phlegm is coming. It usually accompanies typical winter maladies like the common cold and flu.
Besides being annoying and slightly disgusting, what exactly is phlegm?
Phlegm is the mucus your lungs generate to help expel irritants that come from an infection. Basically, when you have infections like bronchitis, the common cold and the flu you generate phlegm to capture the virus, bacteria, and inflammatory cells that are causing the most damage.
So naturally, you want to be able to get rid of phlegm before it builds up too much. This can be a bit tricky because phlegm can be a particularly stubborn guest.
Symptoms of phlegm build up are difficulty breathing, a continuously runny nose, constant coughing, a perpetual need to clear your throat, feeling slightly feverish, and feeling weak.
You should normally be able to cough phlegm out. However, some phlegm build up can seem never-ending or especially persistent.
The good news is that you can treat phlegm build up naturally, and I have the perfect compilation of tips to help you out.
How to Get Rid of Phlegm
Lemons have wonderful antibacterial properties and healthy doses of vitamin C. The acid in the lemon juice is so potent you can even use it to clean up your cutting boards.
Vitamin C is a wonderful immunity booster because it helps several immune system cells ready to combat infections.
There are two ways to use lemon to help break up your phlegm. First, you can add two teaspoons of lime juice and one tablespoon of honey to a glass of warm water, drink this at least three times a day.
Your other option is to grab a slice of lemon, sprinkle salt and pepper on it, and then suck the lemon juice out. It will help bring your phlegm out efficiently. Although this method is for those who can actually brave the taste. I’d recommend doing this twice a day.
Inhaling steam is one of the best ways to help loosen up phlegm. By having steam in your respiratory system, you’ll be able to make your phlegm a bit more liquid, hence easier to get rid of.
I personally prefer taking a 10-minute hot shower. Make sure you keep your bathroom closed to keep all the steam in. It’s also extremely relaxing. However, make sure you moisturize after it to keep your skin healthy.
Alternatively, you can boil water and place it in a basin. Afterward, cover your head with a towel and inhale the steam for about ten minutes. You can use this simple remedy a couple of times of a day.
3. Salt Water
Saltwater packs the triple threat being a powerful antibacterial agent, helps relax your throat, and helps fight inflammation. To take full advantage of it, simply gargle a one-fourth teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water.
Rinse and repeat multiple times a day.
Honey has been categorized as a demulcent, which is a substance that helps provide relief to your throat. Honey also has dextromethorphan, a substance used by cough medicine to help treat respiratory tract infections.
The best thing about honey is that it’s incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet if you want to treat phlegm.
Simply add a pinch of black pepper to tablespoon honey. The pepper will aid in fighting the infection and the honey will help soothe your mucous membranes.
Alternatively, you can add one tablespoon of honey to a glass of water and drink it multiple times a day.
One important note: if your phlegm is still persistent after multiple weeks or if it’s acquiring a hue of green, yellow, or blood-colored, you should see your doctor as soon as possible because you might be dealing with a strong infection like bronchitis.