Many people suffer from chest congestion. This is a common problem and this condition indicates other health conditions or diseases. Chest congestion can be caused by ailments affecting the respiratory system, due to common cold or due to heart diseases. The feeling of tightness, heaviness or pressure in the chest region is considered as chest congestion. Breathing becomes difficult due to the tightness or pressure in the chest. There will be restarted air flow through the air passages. Chest congestion implies to the obstruction in the flow of oxygen in to the lungs. Since chest congestion actually indicates the underlying health condition it is necessary to seek medical diagnosis as some of the causes may be life threatening. The buildup of mucus or fluids in and around the lungs results in chest congestion. The inflammation in the lower respiratory tract is an immune response to any infection, allergy, foreign body, bacteria or virus. The mucus accumulates in the chest region causing congestion.
The Causes Of Chest Congestion
There are a number of causes for chest congestion. They are common cold
- Gastro oesophagal reflux
- Pulmonary oedema
- Lung cancer
- Cystic fibrosis
- Airborne allergies
- Heart problems
Of these cases, the most common one is a common cold.
The Symptoms Of Chest Congestion
It is easy to identify the symptoms of chest congestion. The laboured breathing and restricted supply of oxygen to the lungs due to chest congestion makes a person feel tired. A cough and chest pain are the common symptoms associated with the condition. A cough is the natural method through which the body tries to get rid of the accumulated mucus or phlegm from the lungs. The mucus in and around the lungs trap the pathogens and pollutants entering through the respiratory tract. The important symptoms of chest congestion are
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- A runny nose
- Laboured breathing
- Discomfort in the chest
- Blood in phlegm
- Crackling noise while breathing
As chest congestion is a symptom of other disease or medical condition it may be accompanied by several other symptoms as well. If the chest congestion is caused by flu the associated symptoms include
- Body ache
If the breathing of the patient becomes more difficult or if there is blood present in the mucus while coughing, the condition may be serious and it is better to get a medical consultation. So, the symptoms of chest congestion mainly depend on the cause. The above symptoms either appear in isolation or sometimes occur together. If you make sure that the chest congestion is not due to any serious health conditions, you can opt for home remedies for chest congestion.
What Is The Role Of Chest Mucus?
Mucus has an important role to play in our respiratory system.
- They protect the walls of the respiratory system.
- They contain antiseptic enzymes and immunoglobulins which protect the system from infections and lung irritants.
- When we have the infection of the respiratory system the mucus is produced in large amounts and the immunoglobulins present in it fights with the foreign bodies invading the system.
- This mucous along with the dead immune cells and the invaded bacteria and virus is expelled out through coughing.
Chest Congestion In Children
Even small children suffer from chest congestion. They are more susceptible to infections which cause the chest mucus production. They are unable to clear the congestion or to avoid the discomfort. Try to reduce the mucus entering the chest of the children or babies by timely removal of the mucus buildup in the nose. You can use the home remedies for chest congestion removal if the problem is due to cold.
Methods To Remove The Chest Mucus
It is necessary to remove the mucus deposited in the chest region to get relief from chest congestion. Here are some tips to clear mucus from the chest.
- If you are a smoker, stop the habit. Smoking can aggravate the respiratory problems infections and lung problems. Smoking irritates the mucus membranes and causes the excess production of chest mucus.
- It is necessary to treat nasal and sinus infections as early as possible to prevent chest infections and deposition of phlegm in the chest.
- Some cough suppressants cause the build-up of phlegm in the lungs and this leads to prolonged chest infections.
- Drinking plenty of warm water will loosen the phlegm and helps them to get removed from the system.
- Practising ‘pranayama’ in yoga helps to improve breathing and increases the lung capacity.
The Importance Of Home Remedies For Chest Congestion
The natural treatments or home remedies are extremely useful if the chest congestion is not due to any serious conditions or if the problem is not persistent. The chest congestion due to common cold or flu can be easily relieved by home remedies.
- These remedies are effective in people of all ages.
- In situations where the use of pharmaceutical products has to be avoided such as pregnancy home remedies are the best options.
- They are safe to use as there are no side effects associated with it.
- They are easily available
Diet For Reducing Chest Congestion
A weak immune system causes the infections like flu, pneumonia etc. consume a balanced diet to improve the immune system and to get rid of congestion. Diet rich in vitamin C and vitamin E can boost your immune system. The mucus production in the body can be reduced by proper diet. Avoid dairy products if you are having chest congestion. Dairy products increase the mucus production. Onions, celery and garlic are effective in reducing mucus production in the body. Opt for warm foods when you are having chest congestion. Warm foods and drinks help to open the airways and this result in the easy elimination of mucus from the body.
Home Remedies For Chest Congestion
Home remedies are the treatments which are used by people generation after generation and they are the best way to treat non- serious ailments. Here are some of the options that have been around for years to cure chest congestion.
Onions can be used cooked or raw for reducing chest congestion. You can use the raw small onions or the shallots along with sugar to thin the mucous present in the chest. Chew and swallow about 5-6 shallots along with sugar before you go to bed at night. You can also use the big onions sautéed or curried to treat this problem. This is one of the most effective home remedies for chest congestion. The sulfur and quercetin present in the onion help to break down the mucus and eases the chest congestion. The next day morning you will be feeling better.
Whenever you feel thirsty drink hot water, anything hot will dissolve the thick phlegm associated with congestion. So, when you cough the phlegm will come out. You can also keep a hot water pack over the chest to ease of chest pain and to loosen the phlegm. Gargling with salty hot water for three to four times a day is also effective in reducing the mucus deposition.
This one of the common home remedies for chest congestion. Drinking hot chicken soup reduces the inflammation in the lungs. The black pepper used in soup reduces the production of mucus and soothes a cough. Chicken soup helps to speed up the movement of mucus through a body and it gets eliminated quickly.
Lemon And Honey:
Honey is a well-known cough suppressant. You can drink a teaspoon of honey alone or you can mix honey with warm water and drink it. This will reduce the congestion and cough for several hours. Honey has antibacterial properties which reduces the infection of the respiratory tract. You can mix a glass of hot water, a teaspoon of lemon juice and honey and drink it like tea. Breathing the steam helps to open up the nasal passages. Drink the mix three to four times a day to loosen the congestion.
If you are suffering from a cough and shortness of breath due to asthma attack then black coffee is a good remedy for your problem. Drink one or two cups of strong black coffee to get relief from breathing problem. Do not drink more than two cups as more caffeine can create an adverse effect in asthma patients. Excess caffeine can increase your blood pressure and heart rate.
Honey And Pepper:
Honey and pepper are effective in reducing the thickness of phlegm and helps in the easy removal of the phlegm from the respiratory tract and from lungs. Honey again help in reducing the infections as they have antiseptic properties. Take half a teaspoon of powdered black pepper and mix it with honey to make a paste. Swallow this paste at least thrice a day to get faster relief from the chest congestion problem.
Ginger tea helps in reducing the inflammations in the respiratory tract as it has analgesic and antibacterial property. Ginger candies can be used to soothe a cough due to cold. You can also take powdered ginger along with honey to reduce the problem of throat infections and chest congestion.
Increasing The Humidity Of The Room:
To reduce congestion and cough and to breathe properly add humidity to the room used by the person with chest congestion. Running a humidifier at night in the room adds more water vapour to the air. When this water vapour reaches the lungs, it helps to loosen the mucus and thus removal of mucus is made easy.
Inhaling Eucalyptus Oil:
Eucalyptus oil also has antibacterial properties and analgesic properties. Heat water in a pot and add three to four drops of eucalyptus oil into it. Cover your head as well as the pot containing the inhalation solution using a bath towel. This helps the vapours from the pot to reach into your nostrils. Breathe in, to get the vapours into your lungs. Repeat this treatment twice daily to get a faster result.
Drink lemon juice mixed with hot water and salt for three to four times a day. The vitamin C present in the lemon improves the immunity of the body and helps the body to fight against the virus causing cold. The acidic nature of the lemon water also reduces the thickness of the mucus.
Licorice is considered as a natural expectorant. Drinking tea made with ½ tsp licorice root thrice a day can soothe the irritated throats and inflamed lungs. If you have blood pressure, does not use this remedy.
Increase The Fluid Intake:
Drinking more fluids helps to break up the congestion caused by mucus. You can take soups, juices or tea to increase your fluid intake. This prevents the mucus from coagulating. Coagulated mucus is difficult to get removed. When you drink more fluids, it will be easier to cough up the loosened mucus.
Have Spicy Food:
When you have spicy food containing ginger, garlic chilli or black pepper they act like decongestants. You can get rid of unwanted bacteria from the body using the spicy food. The spicy foods loosen the phlegm. This is the reason why you have a runny nose when you eat the spicy food.
This natural herb helps to break up the mucus associated with cold and chest congestion. You can add this herb to a variety of dishes. They release the histamines which help in healing ailments.
Most of these home remedies for chest congestion help in reducing the pain and discomfort caused by chest congestion. One has to find out which one is effective for them by using different remedies.
Are you a person regularly suffering from the chest congestion due to the common cold? Are you looking for best ways to get rid of the chest congestion without the use of prescribed or over the counter medicines? Try the above methods to find the most suited method for removing cough and chest congestion.
Commonly Asked Question & Answers
Can your chest hurt from congestion?
Yes, the chest gets hurt from congestion.
What are the symptoms of chest congestion?
Chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness etc. are the symptoms of chest congestion.
What can I do for chest congestion?
There are few home remedies mentioned in our above article you can follow any one of them to reduce chest congestion.
- Is apple cider vinegar good for chest congestion?
Yes, it removes the mucus from the chest and reduces chest congestion.
- What does it mean when you have congestion in your lungs?
When the fungus or bacteria affects the lungs then it leads to pneumonia. Such condition is known as congestion in lungs.
What medicine should I take for chest congestion?
You can consume cough medicines containing expectorant which thins down the mucus around the lungs.
What helps loosen phlegm?
Drinking warm water can help in loosening of phlegm.
Is it a good sign when coughing up thick mucus?
No not at all, if the mucus gets thick then you can consult the doctor.
What are the differences between chest congestion and wheezing?
In congestion, the mucus is thick whereas in wheezing it is not so. The shortness of breathing in congestion is due to the mucus around the chest and in wheezing it is due to the contraction of air pipes.
How dangerous is chest congestion in a 1-year-old?
It is highly dangerous in infants so immediately you should consult a doctor.