Mucus serves an important function within the body, and it is produced by the tissues which line the nose, throat and mouth. It acts as a protective shield on these surfaces, keeping the tissue beneath from drying out. Mucus is also responsible for capturing undesirable substances such as dust or bacteria before they can enter the body and cause damage.
What is post nasal drip?
Post nasal drip is a scenario in which too much mucus collects in the throat or nose. While it is not an actual health condition, it could be a symptom of something that is. Some examples of conditions which may lead to post nasal drip include infections, rhinitis or sinusitis. The lining within a child’s nose normally produces healthy amounts of mucus so that the nose can be cleaned and protected from the entry of foreign particles. When a child catches a cold, allergies or sinusitis, post nasal drip may appear.
What are the symptoms of post nasal drip?
One of the most common symptoms associated with post nasal drip is the sensation of mucus leaking into the back of the throat. As a result, a child who has this condition will clear their throat frequently, or they will display a persistent cough. Because post nasal drip is itself a symptom for other conditions, there are many other symptoms that a child may display. Some of these include:
- Watery eyes
- Itching in the eyes or nose
- Difficulty breathing (if suffering from asthma)
- Halitosis (Bad Breath)
- Hoarse voice and stuffy nose
How is the diagnosis established?
When a child is brought to Dr. Samadi with post nasal drip, one of the first things he will do is determine the underlying cause. He will ask the parents about their child’s symptoms, and will examine the throat, ears or mouth of the child. He will want to know if the child has any allergies, or if there are any signs of an infection or fever. He may also perform X-rays. The mucus which appears in the nose may also provide clues as to the cause of post nasal drip. For instance, if the mucus is clear, this could be a sign of either allergies or a cold. If instead the mucus has a green or yellowish color, this is a sign of a bacterial infection.
How is post nasal drip treated?
Post-nasal drip treatment will depend on the underlying cause. If it is the result of an infection, this means a virus may be present and antibiotics won’t be effective. At the same time, decongestants can help a nose that is stuffy, and pain relievers will soothe the pain. If allergies are the cause of the post nasal drip, doctors at ENT for Children will recommend antihistamines. The child will need to avoid the source of the allergies so that post nasal drip doesn’t reoccur. Overall, while nasal drip isn’t serious in and of itself, and may clear up on its own, parents should contact us so that the underlying cause can be determined.