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Do you hear a wheezing sound or something like a low rumble when you breathe? This is exactly what chest congestion sounds like. Usually, chest congestion occurs when the climate gets cooler, but that doesn’t stop it from affecting you even if it’s summer. Chest congestion is an umbrella term that includes any condition that involves too much mucus buildup in the lungs. This condition is often accompanied by the common cold or other upper respiratory tract infections.
You can describe chest congestion as this heaviness or tightness in your chest that makes breathing difficult. Sounds formidable, doesn’t it? Fret not! There are various home remedies for chest congestion and one of the most effective one involves combining steam therapy.
Causes of Chest Congestion
When the mucous membranes go into an overdrive, it increases the production of mucus and phlegm, which accumulate in the lungs. This phlegm soon starts accumulating in the lungs and causes chest congestion. Take a look at what triggers the mucous membranes and are considered as the primary causes of chest congestion.1
Airborne particles:It is common knowledge that the air isn’t as clean as you expect it to be. It contains dust and other allergens. Though these airborne particles are quite harmless, when they get trapped in the mucus membrane of the nose and airway, the problem arises. There are tiny hair-like structures called cilia that transport these particles along with the mucus to the throat. This mucus is what makes your chest feel congested.2
Bacteria and viruses:The other prominent causes of chest congestion are bacteria and viruses. When a bacteria or virus enters the body, it causes an infection, which sometimes leads to chest congestion. Typically, in the beginning, these bacteria and viruses act like allergens; they enter the body through the mucus membrane and are transported through the cilia. The only difference is that these elements cause inflammation, which signals your body to produce excess mucus in the airways to remove these particles. When the body fails to expel this thick mucus by its usual methods, it gets stuck inside the lungs, causing chest congestion.3
Symptoms of Chest Congestion
Do you know what helps you avail timely treatment? Identifying the symptoms. Take a look at the symptoms of chest congestion and look for appropriate home remedies for chest congestion immediately.
Coughing:Let’s all agree that a cough is always the harbinger of something more serious. There are two types of cough—productive and non-productive cough. When you are suffering from chest congestion, you are likely to experience productive cough, which expels sputum. The presence of excess phlegm in your chest is what triggers the cough reflex. Though you might not appreciate the coughing fits, this chest congestion cough is what helps in removing the germs and clearing the airway. In fact, chest congestion and cough go hand-in-hand.4
Excess mucus and phlegm:When excess mucus and phlegm are produced, the body tries to expel it via cough. This coughed up phlegm is called sputum and the colour varies from clear to green to brown.5
Shortness of breath:With the presence of phlegm in your lungs, it will be difficult for the lungs to function normally or filter air. This inevitably results in the shortness of breath caused by chest congestion.6
Other Home Remedies for Chest Congestion
When you identify the symptoms, it becomes easier to cure chest congestion. Though there are medicines for chest congestion, you can use home remedies to treat it when you experience the first symptoms. Here are some popular home remedies for chest congestion:
Stay hydrated:This might sound like a clichéd advice but drinking lots of fluid works wonders for treating chest congestion. Liquids tend to thin out mucus. In fact, warm liquids are known to clear out the mucus in the nose and chest. So, to relieve this congestion, you can treat yourself to:
Though you are allowed your share of liquids to treat chest congestion, it is advisable that you stay away from coffee, alcohol, and caffeinated sodas as they have a dehydrating effect.7
- Warm water
- Chicken soup
- Green tea
- Warm apple juice
Use a humidifier:Another way of treating chest congestion is to get a humidifier. When you add moisture to the air, it helps in loosening the mucus that is weighing down your chest. It makes it easier for you to cough up the mucus.8
Honey to your rescue:Honey is one of the most-opted home remedies when it comes to seeking relief from cold, cough, and its symptoms. It can soothe the irate throat and its sticky nature does a commendable job of expelling mucus from the membranes.9
Over-the-counter expectorant:Over-the-counter expectorants bring relief from chest congestion but do not cure it completely. A chest rub does a wonderful job of reducing the symptoms of chest congestion and offers immediate relief. However, refrain from using topical rubs for chest congestion in kids below two years.
Chest congestion is quite common, and these remedies will definitely give you the relief you need. However, if you have trouble breathing, or experience shortness of breath, or if the mucus turns black, visit your doctor immediately.