10 Home Remedies for Chest Congestion
Chest congestion is usually associated with some form of a respiratory infection. In mild cases a cold and in more serious cases bronchitis. Chest congestions is a heavy and tight feeling in the chest, often accompanied by difficulty breathing. A familiar feeling if you’ve ever been sick. Excess mucus and phlegm accumulate in the lungs because the membranes responsible for mucus production are overproducing.
This overproduction of mucus happens because viruses and bacteria irritate the membranes causing inflammation. The extra phlegm is produced by these membranes to remove what is causing irritation, and bring down inflammation. When you’re sick, this phlegm will accumulate causing chest congestion.
There are a few symptoms to look for if you suspect chest congestion:
* SHORTNESS OF BREATH: The large amount of phlegm that builds up in your lungs is going to make it difficult for them to function normally and allowing air to filter through. This excess amount of phlegm can result in shortness of breath and is often a sign of a more serious infection such as bronchitis
* EXCESS PHLEGM: As mentioned above, the body is going to produce excess phlegm to try to get rid of the virus or bacteria in your system. The phlegm you cough up can be different colours, but generally it’s some shade of green or brown.
* COUGHING: A cough which brings up phlegm is called a productive cough. Its purpose is to get rid of the excess and clear the germs and bacteria out of your airways.
It’s important to note that chest congestion could mean bronchitis or even pneumonia. These can be dangerous conditions and if you have a high fever (above 39.4’C or 103’F) that accompanies your chest congestion, it’s a good idea to see a doctor who will most likely prescribe antibiotics. If you’re doing okay, then it’s a good idea to try to tackle your symptoms in a natural and healthy way, avoiding pharmaceuticals if at all possible, Here are 10 home remedies for chest congestion:
#1 – Warm Fluids Hydration goes a long way in thinning out mucus and making it easier to cough it up. Hot or very warm fluids have been found to give quick and long-lasting relief from congestion and other symptoms like sneezing, sore throat, chills and a constant cough2. Drinking anything warm can be helpful, but these are generally the most helpful3: * Natural broths * Herbal teas * Black or decaffeinated tea * Warm water with lemon and honey
#2 – Essential Oils There are some essential oils which can be quite effective when it comes to loosening the mucus and helping to stop the growth of bacteria in your respiratory tract. The most effective oils for this are:
* Tea tree oil
* Cinnamon bark
There are three main ways of inhaling essential oils: * Directly from the bottle * Using a diffuser * Adding a few drops to a bowl of hot water in a steam inhalation. You’ll want to cover your head with a towel and make sure to start with only one drop of essential oil. The fumes can quickly become overwhelming if you add too much essential oil
#3 – Steam Keeping moisture in the air can be quite helpful when it comes to loosening mucus, reducing coughing and congestion. There are a few different ways you can use steam to help you clear up your chest5.
* Using a cool mist humidifier in your bedroom at night (make sure to keep the windows and doors to your bedroom closed for the best results)
* Steam vaporizer
* Inhaling steam – you can fill a bowl with hot water and cover your head with a towel. As mentioned above, this is a great time to use essential oils to help clear out your congestion as well
* Hot shower or a bath. It’s a great idea to add a bag of Iodine-bromine salt (usually comes in 1000g or 1kg bags) to your bath. This will rise with the steam and is great for inhaling and helping you get rid of your chest congestion
#4 – Saltwater Using a mixture of warm saltwater to gargle can help remove the phlegm and mucus from your throat, and help ease the symptoms of chest congestion. You can add half to a full teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water and stir until all the salt has dissolved. Gargle the mixture allowing it to go down as far as possible without causing discomfort or making you cough the mixture up. You can repeat this several times per day.
#5 – Honey and Lemon Mix honey and lemon juice in a glass of warm water, two or three times per day. Honey is a natural decongestant and helps soothe the throat. The vitamin C from the lemon juice helps boost your immune system. Although it’s important to note that boiling water can destroy the vitamin C in lemon juice so you’ll want to avoid doing that. Make sure to let the water cool for about 5 minutes after bringing it to a boil before adding lemon juice.
#6 – Vapor Rubs Vapor rubs are applied topically, but they also contain de-congestive ingredients. You can also use camphor and menthol ointments, which are the active ingredients in vapor rubs. Rub it onto your chest every night as long as you have the symptoms, and make sure to cover yourself with your blanket thoroughly. This will help clear your chest quicker.
#7 – Exercise This might seem to be counterintuitive when you’re sick, but with a little care this can be quite an effective way of getting rid of the mucus in your system. You’ll want to take care not to expose yourself to any conditions that may aggravate your illness, but walking, light jogging, biking and other aerobic exercises can help loosen up the build-up of mucus in your chest9. Just make sure not to strain yourself as it could hinder your recovery.
#8 – USING SPECIAL COUGHING TECHNIQUES There are a few ways to clear your airways that can help clear more mucus out of your system10.
* DEEP COUGH: You can do this by taking a deep breath and holding it for a few seconds, then using your abdominal muscles to push out that air. Avoid hacking when doing this
* HUFF COUGH: Breathe in through your nose, and use your abdominal muscles to breathe out of your mouth in three short huffs. This helps expel the mucus by putting the air behind it and pulling it away from the walls of the lungs
#9 – Chicken and Vegetable Soup Made on a natural broth, of course, this can help strengthen your body to help fight the infection. The warmth of the soup can help loosen and dilute the mucus and make it easier to pass.
#10 – Strengthen Your Immune System Doing this regularly will help you keep tabs on what is happening with your blood pressure, and will also help you track how your new lifestyle changes are affecting it. You’ll also be able to see the results of your labors and have some hard-earned pride in the changes you’re making.
Making any big changes in your life is never easy, but following these steps and getting your blood pressure under control naturally is a more healthy and long term alternative than just taking prescription medicine. If your doctor insists on pharmaceuticals then you should still implement these steps into your life, as drugs only treat the symptoms and lifestyle changes can tackle the causes of your health issues.
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Chest Congestion References and Chest Congestion Information
* Pub Med (Medical Study): https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19145994/
* Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/
* Oxford Academic (Scientific Study): https://academic.oup.com/jac/article
* Healthline Magazine: https://www.healthline.com/health/steam-inhalation#benefits
* Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles
* Official Journal of the American Academy of Paediatrics: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/126/6/1092
* Medicine Net: https://www.medicinenet.com/treating_congestion/article.htm
* eMedi Health: https://www.emedihealth.com/chest-congestion-relief.html