It’s that time of year again. The time of year where sickness prevails and we all search for home remedies to make us feel better. Chest congestion is a common sickness symptom that often accompanies a common cough or other upper respiratory tract infections. These infections tell your body to overproduce mucus, which results in a congested chest. When your chest is congested it feels tight and you may be able to hear a wet wheezing sound coming from inside. It’s not very fun, but it’s pretty common, so if you’re dealing with a congested chest, take a look at 8 natural chest congestion remedies to help you feel better sooner.
What is Chest Congestion?
In the simplest terms, chest congestion is the build up of liquids and mucus in the lungs. It’s typically accompanied by a wet cough that brings up thick mucus. Chest congestion is a symptom of respiratory infection like a cold or more serious infections like bronchitis. You may notice your chest feels heavy and tight, and you may even feel like it’s hard to breathe. Symptoms are often the worst in the morning and include excess phlegm (this is your body trying to get rid of the virus or bacteria in your lungs); coughing that excels sputum; and shortness of breath.
What Causes Chest Congestion?
Chest congestion is caused by excess fluids (mucus and phlegm) accumulating in the lungs due to the overproduction of mucus membranes. When a virus or bacteria is inhaled, it causes an infection that leads to chest congestion and also causes inflammation. This prompts your body to produce excess mucus in your airways to try to remove the irritant and reduce inflammation. If your body is unable to get rid of this thicker mucus in the usual ways, it gets stuck in your lungs, resulting in congestion.
When Should I Worry About Chest Congestion?
Most of the time, chest congestion isn’t cause for concern. However, you should see a doctor if chest congestion is accompanied by fever, weight loss, chest pain, difficulty breathing or nose bleeds, or if it lasts for more than two weeks.
8 Natural Chest Congestion Remedies
1. Drink Lots of Liquids
Staying hydrated is key to clearing out chest congestion, since it thins mucus, making it easier to cough it out. Warm liquids in particular provide the best relief from congestion, clearing out mucus in the chest and nose. You can benefit from drinking water, broths, chicken soup, herbal teas, and warm apple juice.
Honey is a go-to remedy for any respiratory tract infection. It has powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties and provides effective relief for chest congestion. Drink hot water with one tablespoon of honey every 3 to 4 hours until you feel relief from your symptoms.
3. Turmeric Milk
Add turmeric powder, black pepper powder and honey to warm milk to help ease chest congestion. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of the turmeric and black pepper powder can help relieve symptoms, and you already read about the benefits of honey above.
4. Use Steam/Humidifier
If you want to loosen mucus and reduce congestion, keeping the air you breathe moist is key. There are a few ways you can go about this. A humidifier can be used at night to help you sleep better. Keep your bedroom door and window closed to keep vapour from escaping, and make sure to clean it regularly to remove bacteria that can make symptoms worse. You can also fill a large bowl with hot water and lean over the bowl with a towel draped over your head to contain the steam. Gently inhale the steam to loosen mucus.
5. Essential Oils
Certain essential oils loosen mucus in the chest and make it easier to breathe. Peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil work particularly well, but you can also use lemongrass, rosemary and tea tree oils. Essential oils can be used in a diffuser or added to hot water in a steam inhalation, as we described above.
6. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint contains menthol, which helps thin mucus and loosen phlegm. Pure menthol is poisonous and should never be ingested, but peppermint tea is safe to drink. You can buy it in tea form or make your own by adding a few fresh peppermint leaves to hot water.
Gargling with saltwater can remove mucus from the back of your throat, helping you breathe better and easing symptoms of chest congestion. Add half a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water and stir until the salt dissolves. Gargle with the mixture, allowing it to sit at the back of your throat for a moment. Repeat several times a day to clear out chest congestion.
8. Make Your Own Vapour Rub
A vapour rub can help soothe the symptoms of chest congestion. You rub it on your throat and chest to let the vapour reach your nose and mouth. Make your own vapour rub by adding an essential oil such as thyme or eucalyptus into a carrier oil such as coconut oil and applying it directly on to your skin. Mix one drop of essential oil with one teaspoon of carrier oil. Remember to test the mixture on a small area of your skin first to check for irritation.
Like any type of sickness, chest congestion is not fun to deal with. It’s irritating and can cause unpleasant symptoms. Kick chest congestion to the curb with these home remedies that are sure to make you feel better faster!
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