Flem–or phlegm–is the sticky, runny mucus that hangs and drips down from the back of the throat. It is most often caused by the common cold and is not only an irritating symptom but also an unfriendly and unprofessional one, particularly when you find yourself coughing and spluttering during meetings or conversations. There are several ways to deal with phlegm in the throat and most of them use everyday items or foods that you can find around the house.

Break up and loosen the mucus by gently coughing or inhaling steam. Loosen the phlegm and you will immediately feel more comfortable and your throat more relaxed. Inhale the steam by boiling some water and pushing your head close the vapors. Add eucalyptus oil, carom seeds or vaporizer rub mixture to open your airways; this will drain the mucus faster.

Avoid smoking or drinking caffeinated drinks; both can heighten the severity of your cold or flu-like symptoms, thus making the build up of phlegm more regular and severe. According to Home Remedies “even passive smoke inhalation can worsen the infection.”

Drink plenty of fluids. In particular, drink eight glasses of water a day; not only will this thin and break up the mucus in your throat, but it will also hydrate your body and help prevent your cold or flu symptoms–if you have any–from getting worse. Also drink hot liquids such as herbal teas or chicken broths to moisten your throat and relieve the coughing that mucus causes.

Eat frozen foods to numb and soothe the throat. Products such as ice cream and cold milk are commonly considered to produce more mucus; however, according to James M. Steckelberg MD “milk doesn’t cause your body to make more phlegm. In fact, frozen dairy products can soothe a sore throat and provide calories when you otherwise may not eat.”

Drink an herbal home remedy. Although there are several variations and versions of these wonder cures, the Home Remedies website suggests mixing 1/2 tsp. of turmeric with 1/2 tsp. of salt to a cup of milk. Drink this twice daily.