Increased upper airway secretion

Increased Upper Airway Secretions: Causes and Treatment

Increased secretions in the upper airway, including the nose, throat, and trachea, can cause significant discomfort and interfere with normal breathing. Upper airway secretions can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or environmental allergies. Treatment can vary depending on the underlying cause.


Common symptoms of increased upper airway secretions include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty sleeping


The most common causes of increased upper airway secretion are viral infections such as the common cold, the flu, or allergies. Other causes may include environmental irritants, smoking, certain medications, and underlying medical conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


To diagnose the cause of increased upper airway secretions, your doctor may perform a physical exam and ask questions about your symptoms and medical history. Your doctor may also recommend additional tests, such as a chest or sinus X-ray, blood tests, or an allergy skin test.


Treatment for increased upper airway secretions will depend on the underlying cause. For a viral infection, such as the common cold, treatment may include bed rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medications to reduce symptoms. For allergies, your doctor may recommend an antihistamine or an immunotherapy regimen. In some cases, your doctor may also recommend nasal irrigation or a decongestant. If a bacterial infection is present, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.


You can reduce your risk of increased upper airway secretions by avoiding known triggers and taking steps to boost your immune system. These include:

  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Avoiding exposure to smoke and other environmental pollutants
  • Washing your hands frequently
  • Avoiding contact with people who are sick
  • Taking preventative allergy medications as prescribed

It is important to speak with your doctor if you are experiencing increased upper airway secretions. Your doctor will be able to determine the underlying cause and recommend the most effective treatment.