Patient Question: COVID Mucus
/ Categories: WELLNESS, 2022

Patient Question: COVID Mucus

Patient Question: I am 3 weeks post COVID. I have no cough, but I still have mucus in the back of my throat. It is uncomfortable. Please let me know what I can do to help with the mucus. Sharon G.

Provider Answer: Thanks for your question, Sharon. 

It is common during a course of illness with COVID-19 for respiratory secretions to thicken. About 30 percent of people with COVID report this as a symptom. This can manifest as increased mucus from the upper respiratory region such as the throat, sinuses, and nasal passages. It can also develop in the lower respiratory tract as phlegm or sputum from the lungs.

Mucus helps to moisturize the upper respiratory system and traps pathogens and irritants. Producing phlegm encourages your body to cough, which helps expel viruses, bacteria, or other foreign particles. These mechanisms are protective to the body but it becomes aggravating when the secretions are more noticeable and affect air movement through the nose or lower airways.

There are several things you can do to help with these symptoms. Interestingly, a lot of the remedies incorporate more liquids, which is beneficial to your whole system.

  • First, be sure to drink plenty of water. Hydration is key to help the body make mucus thinner and less disruptive.
  • Breathe in more water vapor. You can take a hot shower without the fan running, breathe in the steam from a bowl of hot water, or sleep with a humidifier running.
  • Try a nasal irrigation device or soothe your face with a warm wash cloth or compress
  • Natural oils from peppermint or eucalyptus can help relieve congestion and mucus. A few drops can be added to a homemade heat pack, or you can hang eucalyptus branches in the shower. Do not ingest any essential oils.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine intake, as these have a dehydrating effect and will make mucus thicker and harder to clear.
  • Gargle with warm salt water.
  • You can also use deep breathing exercises.
  • There are natural decongestants and expectorants as well to consider. Ginger can relieve congestion. Try adding fresh ginger to tea. Honey has been shown to work as an expectorant and can also be added to warm water/tea. Do not give honey to anyone under the age of 1.
  • If the non-pharmacological methods don’t work for you, you can try an over-the-counter nasal decongestant to reduce mucus (active ingredient: pseudoephedrine) or expectorants to help cough up phlegm (active ingredient: guaifenesin).
  • If you continue to have difficulty, talk to your doctor. They can investigate your condition further and possibly provide additional therapies.

I hope that these tips help you cope with this symptom until it resolves entirely.

Crystal Labbe-Hasty, PA, is a physician assistant at SVMC’s Respiratory Evaluation Center/ExpressCare in Bennington. The practice is part of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and Southwestern Vermont Health Care. 


Theme picker

Theme picker

Theme picker

Our Services


A commitment to excellence and a patient-centered approach sets Southwestern Vermont Health Care apart.

 Cancer Care
 Primary Care
 Rehab & Residential Care
View All Services

Theme picker

Theme picker

Theme picker