Sinus drainage manifests itself in two forms: a runny nose or postnasal drip, which is the dripping of excess mucus in the back of the throat. Sinus drainage is commonly the result of a common cold or seasonal allergies. When the sinus cavity becomes inflamed or irritated, it begins to swell and secrete more mucus, making it difficult for proper drainage. Sinus drainage can cause an ear infection or a sinus infection if not properly treated. Use home remedies as a first line of treatment when you experience sinus drainage.
Drinking plenty of fluids will help keep the mucus secretions thin and flowing. The lack of hydration can lead to thickening of the mucus, causing greater congestion, and raising the risk of infection. Drink at least six, 8-oz. glasses of water daily. Drinking hot liquids, such as herbal teas may also help to loosen and thin mucus membranes
Increase the humidity of your home or the room in which you sleep. Lack of moister can irritate the sinus cavity further, causing more congestion. Running a humidifier and maintaining a humidity level of 45 to 50 percent can help provide relief for sinus drainage. Taking a hot shower, or placing your head over a pot of boiling water a few times a day may also help provide relief from sinus drainage. Do not use excess humidity, as it can make your nose stuffy.
Saline sprays help to relieve runny noses and postnasal drip. Saline drops are safe and effective for everyone, including newborns and children. For children, typically two to three drops are put in each nostril, as often as needed. In adults, two to three sprays are usually recommended up each nostril, and then gently blowing the nose to expel any excess mucus. Clean the tip of the saline bottle after each use with warm soapy water to prevent the spread of infection. Do not share a saline nasal spray with anyone.
Sinus drainage may be caused by household irritants, including cigarette smoke, allergens or dust. Reduce your symptoms by avoiding these irritants. Clean your air ducts and vents regularly. Open your windows when using strong cleaning solutions. Remove pet hair from household surfaces to reduce dander allergens.
Emily DeSerio has been a freelance writer since November 2009. DeSerio works in the mental health field as a clinical social worker. She began her higher level education at the University of South Florida (USF) with a B.A. in English and went on to complete a Master of Social Work degree at USF as well.