Friday, February 24, 2012

Phlegm

For past year or so I have been experiencing throat phlegm almost daily and requires continuous clearing of my throat. The phlegm is still there even after I have "cleared" it, and the condition lasts all day. I am a semi-professional bass singer. Curiously, my upper range seems only mimimally affected but severly affects my low range. I am taking medication for a GERD condition that has completely eliminated heart burn, so I don't think that is the cause of it. However, I do have a low grade condition of Barrett's esophagus. I have ordered a clearing agent called "MucusClear". What do you suggest? Thanks for your help.

Melissa Kim M.S., CCC-SLP replies...

There are a number of strategies to thin mucous, the first being adequate hydration. Drinking at least 64 ounces of non-caffeinated fluids per day is necessary to keep mucous thin and clear - more if you exercise or drink caffeine or alcohol. Using a humidifier in your home can also be helpful, particularly in the winter months when indoor air is excessively dry secondary to forced air heating. Our physicians also regularly recommend Mucinex - use the version that is guaifenesin alone (the active ingredient), rather than that accompanied by the "D" component (a decongestant), which can be drying.

If mucous continues to be an issue despite all of these strategies, consult an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician for further evaluation.

Best of luck to you.

Melissa Kim M.S., CCC-SLP
Speech Pathology Coordinator

Clinical Specialist, Head & Neck Cancer Rehabilitation
The M.J. Dance, Jr. Head & Neck Center at GBMC 

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