Separate fact from fiction with our top 10 best ways to remove phlegm from your throat – reviewing the most effective ways to relieve the symptoms of your cold or flu!

Start treating your cold by not taking antibacterial drugs.

Yes – antibiotics are the very last thing you need!

Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, not viral infections! Your cold or flu is most likely caused by a virus. While you can treat the symptoms of your cold or flu, there is no medicine that actively “kills” the virus. It just doesn’t happen. Your body is the only tool you have. By taking unnecessary antibiotics, you contribute toward the spread of bacterial resistance – weakening your body when, at a future date, your body needs those medicines. Avoiding antibiotics is always a great first start!

That’s why your body needs to be in tip-top shape. It takes months of preparation – through exercise, healthy eating and essential minerals – to prepare your body and reduce the severity of your cold. However, when symptoms do emerge – there are many great, effective steps you can take to reduce their impact.

Let’s get started!

1. Honey and Lemon Cocktails

Coughing is a reflex process used to eliminate the source of irritation from your throat – often caused by the mere presence of phlegm.

It’s ill-advised to forcefully expel the phlegm, as this force can damage the lining of your throat – prolonging the cough in the long-term. Combining honey and lemon, then, and immersing this mixture in hot water acts as a more comforting alternative. Many over-the-counter preparations already contain both of these ingredients, highlighting their therapeutic potential in alleviating both phlegm and throat irritation. Of course, preparing your own honey and lemon drink is never a hard task; a drink with antibacterial properties and the ability to help regenerate any damaged lining of the throat.

2. Always Stay Hydrated

The common cold and flu can take its toll; running down the body’s infrastructure in 7-10 day battle. And that’s where hydration comes in.

Dehydration is a common symptom of a cold or flu. And, unlike the virus itself, you can actually do something to tackle it. Try to consume at least 2L of fluids each day; but ensure that these fluids are healthy choices. Fluids doesn’t mean ‘anything goes’. To the contrary, it means choosing liquids such as nutritious soups, flavoured teas, and even plain, cold water. Add fresh lemon juice to cold or hot water for that extra kick. While vitamin C doesn’t help to cure the cold, it does help to prime the immune system in the long-term. It’s also refreshing to drink, helping you to distract from the stuffiness caused by the phlegm. Water also helps to keep the lining of your throat moist.

3. Gargling Salt Water

Using salt can help facilitate phlegm movement and removal. However, this depends on the amount of salt you use.

Using too much salt can dry the back of your throat. This is the very last thing we want, as it can exacerbate your cough. Using a modest amount of salt, though, is both acceptable and therapeutic. Simply add two-to-three teaspoons of salt to a 200mL glass of water. Stir the salt into the solution to dissolve. There’s no point adding the salt if, when you take a mouthful, the salt remains bedded to the bottom of the glass. If you find it difficult to gargle salt water due to its taste, use a smaller amount of salt and progressively add more for future gargles. Repeat this process several times each day.

4. Consume Hot Drinks

Hot drinks have the effect of loosening phlegm from the lining of the throat.

This can help in two ways. First, it can assist the passage of phlegm from the throat to the acidic environment of the stomach. Second, it can help loosen phlegm, helping you to cough the phlegm up. When intentionally trying to cough up phlegm, try not to act too forcefully. This can damage the lining of your throat, worsening the cough.

Not all hot drinks are recommended, though. For example – hot alcoholic drinks, such as heated whiskey, may offer short-term relief but they can contribute to longer-term dehydration. This becomes more true with the more alcoholic drinks (whether hot or cold) you consume. Try to moderate your alcohol intake during the cold or flu.

5. …and Consume Hot Foods!

Hot foods can also have a soothing effect. Like hot drinks, they can also loosen any phlegm in your throat.

Spicy foods are particularly effective in this regard. Spicy foods aren’t for everyone, that’s for sure. But you can add as much, or as little, spice as you wish. There is no obligation to consume Indian-style curry’s anytime soon. Steam – both from hot foods and drink – also offers effective relief both for nasal congestion and any dryness at the back of your throat.

6. Inhale Steam

And one of the best ways to exploit the therapeutic power of steam is as follows.

The process is simple. First, find a large bowl and fill that bowl with boiling water. Maximize the transfer of steam from the water to our nostrils by placing a towel over your head. This ensures that as little steam escapes as possible. But you must be careful. You must be sitting comfortably and in a place where you’re unlikely to move or shift. You need to remain as still and undisturbed as possible. This precaution helps to avoid any unwanted accidents.

7. Rest, rest…rest

It’s impossible to overestimate the therapeutic value of rest; a way to “reset” your body and allow natural processes to take over.
Resting affords your body the space and time it needs to ward off an infection. Dehydration can set in if you’re too actively throughout the day, particularly during hot and humid days. Similarly – try to avoid too much exercise during the day. Exercise – like alcohol – can exacerbate both dehydration and exhaustion during an active infection. Outside of infections, though, exercise is very important. The more body fat you lose, the better prepared your body will be to combat a potential infection.

Think of rest as an investment – something you can profit from in the long term. It reduces the duration of your cold or flu, riding the body of any unwanted phlegm – helping you get back to work sooner. Keep your home clean and uncluttered, too – you’d be surprised at the long-term health effects of a clean home.

8. Refrain from smoking

If you’re a smoker, you might think it’s time to look away. You couldn’t be more wrong.

Irritants from smoking only serve to worsen the cough, prolong phlegm presence and production, and slower the overall recovery period. It’s recommended that smokers should, if they cannot stop smoking during this period, at least cut down on the amount they smoke. Similarly, you should avoid toxic products in general – whether they be fumes from paint or domestic cleaning products.

9. Grab a Tissue!

The best way to remove phlegm for other people is not to spread the infection in the first place. That’s where tissues come in.

You should try your best to limit the spread of the virus to other people. If they took sufficient precautions, after all, then you might not have contracted the virus in the first place. Learn about how viruses spread and make a positive effort to limit that spread. One of the simplest ways to achieve this is by using tissues. Always cough into tissues; that ensures the viral particles do not spread around the room. Open windows to ensure adequate ventilation. Keeping the heating on can also create optimum conditions for viral growth. By taking these steps, and by informing others of these steps, it remains one of the best ways to remove phlegm from your throat – a prophylactic approach.

10. Using Ginger and Turmeric

Ginger and turmeric are, for many, acquired tastes. But their use is an established way to help remove phlegm build-up.

Try to incorporate ginger and turmeric into your meals. You could add ginger or turmeric to teas – infused or otherwise or even by adding a small quantity to your food. Ginger and turmeric are versatile foods. Ginger is a natural decongestant and has been used to treat colds and flu for hundreds of years. Turmeric is associated with its own unique range of antiseptic properties. Together, they work to reduce the duration of your cold or flu.

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