Trouble in breathing due to infection in the lungs is troublesome and causes congestion in the chest. Infections can be triggered due to various viruses, bacteria or allergic reactions, leading to fluid accumulation and mucus in the lung disturbing regular breathing and sleep patterns.
For treatments, various options are available to prevent chest congestions caused due to conditions like bronchitis, pneumonia, congestive heart failure, tuberculosis, and a common cold.
Try these natural remedies for instant relief from chest congestion.
What causes mucus in the chest?
When you breathe, you inhale particles that are floating around in the air like dust, allergens, bacteria or viruses. Usually, these particles are trapped in the mucus that covers the mucus membranes of your nose and airways. Then tiny hairs called cilia transport the mucus (with the trapped particles) toward the throat. From there it can be coughed out, also known as expectorating.
Staying hydrated thins mucus, making it easier to expel by coughing.
According to a 2008 study, hot beverages provide “immediate and sustained relief” from congestion and accompanying symptoms, such as sneezing, a nagging cough, a sore throat, and chills.
A person can benefit from drinking:
- decaffeinated black or green tea
- herbal teas
- warm water
Some of these drinks are available for purchase online, including decaffeinated tea and herbal teas.
Keeping the air moist can loosen mucus and reduce congestion and coughing. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend using a cool-mist humidifier or steam vaporizer.
People with difficulty sleeping may wish to use a humidifier at night. To maximize the effects, keep windows and doors closed.
Humidifiers must be cleaned regularly to remove bacteria and other pathogens that can make symptoms worse and lead to infection.
Other ways to increase moisture in the air include:
- Inhaling steam: Fill a large bowl with hot water. Lean over the bowl and drape a towel over the head to contain the stream. Gently inhale the steam to loosen mucus.
- Having a hot shower or bath: The hot water will fill the room with steam and help to alleviate symptoms.
Breathe in the steam for as long as is comfortable, then drink a glass of water to prevent dehydration.
Gargling with a mixture of salt and warm water can remove phlegm and mucus from the back of the throat and ease symptoms.
Add half a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water. Stir until the salt dissolves.
Gargle with the mixture and allow it to sit in the back of the throat momentarily. Repeat several times a day as needed.
Honey is a popular home remedy, and research suggests that it has antiviral and antibacterial properties.
A person can consume 1 tablespoon of honey every 3 to 4 hours, until the symptoms ease. Honey is not suitable for infants under 12 months of age. A range of honey products is available for purchase online.
Foods and herbs
Foods most commonly used to alleviate coughs, colds, and a buildup of mucus include:
- spices, such as ground cayenne and other types of chili pepper
Some research suggests that the following can help to treat respiratory viruses that may be responsible for excess mucus:
- licorice root
When to See Your Doctor for Chest Congestion
See a physician if you develop a fever higher than 100 degrees F, you’re having trouble breathing (or you’re wheezing), you’re coughing up blood or your chest cold is keeping you up at night, recommends the Mayo Clinic. Other indications that it’s time to see a doctor for your chest congestion are yellow or green mucus, if you’re experiencing wheezing or shortness of breath, or your cold doesn’t start getting better in seven to 10 days.
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