What is Chest Congestion?Chest congestion is the buildup and inflammation of mucus in your lungs and bronchi. This leads to a wet, “productive” cough, which produces phlegm, alongside symptoms of wheezing, sore throat, and even trouble sleeping. The most common causes of chest congestion may include a viral or bacterial infection such as a cold or flu, asthma, allergies, acid reflux, bronchitis (chronic), COPD, and other possible lung conditions. While occasional chest congestion is normal to experience, and no need for concern, if symptoms become chronic, and happen frequently, it is recommended to see your doctor especially since fluid build up can lead to secondary infections such as pneumonia.1 Here are some easy, natural remedies for treating dry cough and congestion at home, how they are effective, and how you can implement them into your daily regime so you can start feeling better fast!
What Can You Do For Chest Congestion at Home?Hydration: Did you know that when fighting an infection your body expends more energy than usual, thus requiring an additional amount of water to be consumed? While staying hydrated when you are healthy is extremely important, it is even more imperative that you stay on top of your fluid intake to help thin mucus and allow for more mucus to move through the lungs and bronchi. If you are looking for fluids other than water to also help soothe irritation, especially from a nagging cough that can be associated with chest congestion, make sure to drink hot beverages such as broth based soups and hot teas to help do the trick! Saltwater: A remedy that has been around forever, gargling salt water is an easy addition to your morning and/or evening routine to help relieve symptoms of chest congestion. It has been shown to thin mucus and may even help to soothe a sore throat too.2 Add Steam: This is a simple and effective way to not only provide a little relaxation BUT it does an amazing job of opening up air passageways so you can breathe easier. You can spend a few extra minutes in a hot (but not too hot) shower, or do so the old fashioned way — run hot water in your sink, then cover your head and faucet with a towel, providing a barrier to keep the steam centralized. Breathe in the steam for 1-3 minutes, or what feels tolerable/comfortable. According to Norman Edelman, MD, chief officer of the American Lung Association, if you are someone who suffers from asthma, it is advised to utilize this technique with caution, or eliminate altogether, as it may constrict airways. Invest in a Humidifier: Moisture in the air is one of the best solutions to help loosen and thin out the mucus in your chest. Alan Mensch, MD, a pulmonologist from New York, does point out that while it is an easy 1st step in relieving chest congestion at home, it does not work for everyone. “If it works for you, just make sure to do so safely. Humidifiers can breed mold and fungi on their own, which can cause additional infections. They are safe, just make sure to clean your humidifier, regularly, per the manuals instructions (Mensch).”3
The art of using herbs and botanicals as a natural way to treat and fight an infection(s) has been around for centuries. It is important to understand, though, there are no real guidelines or dosage instructions that are specific to their usage. With the potential to reduce inflammation, clear mucus, and help soothe irritation from a cough, make sure to follow instructions — if included — carefully. The following essential oils can be used topically, diluted to inhale, and/or diffused for maximum benefit.4
Fight off and recover quickly from colds, flus, coughs and allergies in the healthiest, way possible.
- Tea Tree
- If you are allergic to bees/bee pollen, it's best to avoid consuming honey since the risk of allergic reaction is greater.
- Children under the age of 1 year old should not be given/consume honey.
- If you are diabetic, monitor your blood sugar levels since they could rise upon consumption.
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