Phlegm in the throat is not only a nuisance, it can be debilitating if your job performance depends on how effectively you can use your voice. (This includes singers, teachers, presenters, salespersons, telemarketers, customer service staff, emcees, and just about everyone else.)
What is phlegm?
Before you blame phlegm for plaguing your throat and voice, it’s important to know that phlegm actually plays a crucial function. The mucus that lines your throat actually helps to lubricate it and remove unwanted substances before they go into your body. When you’re ill, phlegm is also one way that your body expels toxins.
But of course, too much phlegm causes issues with everyday life. And while medication is certainly an option, we believe that the best solutions for eliminating phlegm and soothing sore throats are natural, drug-free ones.
Adequate hydration is crucial to a speedy recovery. We recommend keeping a bottle of warm water near you – at work and at home – and taking regular sips of warm water throughout the day.
Warm liquids will help to remove congestions by moving excess phlegm from your throat. It can also prevent more phlegm from building up, while helping your body to recover. Not a fan of plain water? Hot teas, soups and lemon water will work too.
Eucalyptus oil to the rescue
If you feel that the phlegm is originating from mucus in the chest, you can try this natural eucalyptus oil remedy. Simply apply a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to your chest, then ‘rub it in’ with your hand. Alternatively, you can use a diffuser and inhale the vapour.
As a bonus, these solutions can also help to relieve any accompanying chesty coughs that you may have. While this remedy is safe for adults, we advise checking with your doctor before applying essential oils on children.
The “damp cloth” technique
Don’t ignore this deceptively simple method or the rudimentary ‘tool’ you’ll be using – a humble face towel. (Although any clean piece of cloth will do.)
Here’s what to do. First, prepare a bowl of warm water. Then, dip a face towel into the warm water and place it on your face as you lie down and relax. That’s it, it’s this simple.
As you inhale, the damp face towel returns moisture to your nose and throat, alleviating phlegm and mucus production. Additionally, the relaxing heat is calming and can reduce headaches and other discomforts.
Smoking (and inhaling second-hand smoke) aggravates the body, especially the throat. When your body believes it’s being polluted by smoke, it produces even more phlegm as a way to eliminate toxins from your body.
Don’t worry, we’re not insisting that you stop smoking completely. But you must do so (at least) temporarily to allow your body to recover.
Minimise usage of decongestants
Often, phlegm comes together with a cold and a stuffy or runny nose. If you have a decongestant, you may to make a choice – is it more important for you to have a clear nose or phlegm-free throat?
That’s because while decongestants can alleviate problematic noses, some may also make phlegm more difficult to remove.