Chest congestion, a feeling of tightness and heaviness in the chest, is often indicative of a respiratory infection. This difficulty in breathing occurs as a result of fluid accumulation in the lungs due to excessive mucus production.
Chest congestion can cause chest pain, breathing difficulty and wheezing, all of which can leave you worried, fatigued and sleepless. More often than not, it is also accompanied by a cough, a telltale sign that your body is desperately trying to eliminate excess mucus from your airways.
Home Remedies to Try Out
Drink Plenty of Water
Chest congestion is brought about by the presence of too much thick mucus in your airways. It’s for this reason why thinning mucus can put an end to the problem — your body will have an easier time coughing up excess mucus.
In order to thin mucus effectively, consider drinking plenty of water per day.
Aside from water, you may also consume other fluids to speed up the process of eliminating thick mucus. You can have plenty of soup and drink herbal teas most especially those with anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.
Try Essential Oils
Speaking of essential oils, it’s also a wonderful idea for you to try to address your chest congestion with aromatherapy — an all-natural form of ancient treatment that uses aromatic products such as essential oils for the attainment of or restoring optimum physical and mental wellness
Aside from the ones mentioned earlier, other essential oils perfect for relieving chest congestion are clary sage, eucalyptus, and rosemary.
You may take a whiff of any essential oil of your choice straight from the bottle or dilute with your preferred carrier oil and then apply on the chest area in order to have your upper airways opened up.
Gargle with warm salt water
Gargling frequently with warm salt water is a traditional remedy for chest congestion. It helps reduce the viscosity of the mucus for easy expulsion and soothes the irritation in the throat.
Consume a concoction of honey
Credited with potent antibacterial and antiviral properties, honey may help fight the underlying infection that is causing the buildup of mucus. Moreover, the humectant effect of honey can help water down the mucus trapped in your respiratory passages and can facilitate its expulsion.
Studies also found honey to be effective as a cough suppressant. However, the use of honey for clearing chest congestion in children resulted in mild side effects such as nervousness, insomnia, and hyperactivity.
Drink hot beverages
Hot beverages, such as herbal tea, green tea, ginger tea without milk, or black coffee, can help thin out the consolidated mucus and may help alleviate chest congestion.
READ ALSO: HOME REMEDIES TO GET RID OF GAS AND BLOATING
Preventive Self-Care Tips
Use a humidifier
Dry air can make chest congestion even more uncomfortable by coagulating or hardening the mucus, which can further block your breathing passages. A humidifier may specifically be helpful at nighttime when stuffy nose can cause sleep disturbances.
Take warm showers
Taking warm showers may help relieve chest congestion to a certain degree. The steam that you breathe while in the shower helps dissolve the consolidated mucus as it travels through the airway.
Maintain proper hand hygiene
Proper hand hygiene is one of the most fundamental steps in minimizing the risk of infection. You must frequently wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer to avoid picking up dirt and germs.
Elevate your head
Place an extra pillow under your head to keep it elevated while you sleep. Positioning your head this way may prevent the accumulation of mucus, reduce coughing, and facilitate easy breathing.
Drink adequate amounts of water
Drink adequate amounts of water to keep yourself hydrated. If possible, drink warm water as it may help soothe the throat and dissolve the mucus.
Include fruits and vegetables in your diet
Include vitamin-rich fruits and veggies in your diet. Fibrous fruits, such as apples and pears, may help in reducing phlegm.