Chest congestion is most commonly caused by the common cold, respiratory tract infections, the flu, and allergies. Congestion may also be caused by bacterial infections and viral infections. Symptoms may be accompanied by other cold symptoms including sinus infection, chest pain, a stuffy nose, and a sore throat.
Symptoms of chest congestion include tightness along the breastbone, shortness of breath, and excess mucus. A deep cough and wheezing are also symptoms of chest congestion. Find out how you can get rid of chest congestion fast with these natural remedies.
8 Home Remedies For Chest Congestion
One of the best ways to get congestion relief is to drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated helps to thin out mucus, making it easier for you to expel when coughing. Warm beverages such as herbal tea are a particularly good choice when it comes to clearing out congestion. You can also choose warm. Liquid foods such as soup to help stay hydrated. Chicken soup or vegetable soup can help replenish vitamins and minerals your body needs to fend off an infection.
2. Take A Hot Shower
Moist air is your best friend when you’re suffering from any type of congestion. The warm, hot air in a shower helps to thin out mucus, making it easier to breathe. The warm water also helps you relax, alleviating aches and pains. You can soak in a hot bath for 20 minutes or simply take a hot shower. Keep the shower doors closed tightly to keep all the hot steam in like a sauna.
You can increase the effects of a hot bath or shower by adding essential oils to the mix. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil or peppermint oil to the hot water. These oils are known for their antibacterial properties and refreshing aromas that work to open up airways.
3. Facial Steam Bath
A steam bath can help you breathe easier by thinning out mucus. The effects are similar to a hot shower but target congestion in the sinuses and chest more effectively. To do a steam bath, bring water to a rapid boil in a wide-brimmed pot on the stove. Remove from heat and drape a towel over your head and neck. Breathe in deeply and use a tissue to get rid of loosened mucus. If the steam becomes too hot, simply take the towel off for a few seconds before returning to the heat.
4. Use A Vapor Rub
Vapor rubs contain decongestants that can help to eliminate stubborn mucus and open up airways. Most vapor rubs contain menthol or camphor — two ingredients that can be used to treat upper respiratory tract infections and improve ease of breathing. In fact, research published in Pediatrics found that vapor rubs significantly decreased coughing episodes and congestion levels (1).
5. Eat Honey
Honey contains healthy compounds that may help ease congestion. A study published in JAMA Pediatrics examined the effects of honey versus cough suppressants in alleviating chest congestion. The study consisted of 105 children who were divided into experimental and control groups. The experimental groups received either honey or a cough suppressant for two days. Researchers found that the children who took honey demonstrated the best symptom improvement (2).
Pair honey with a dash of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar and take one teaspoon full every three to four hours. The vitamin C in the lemon juice can help boost the immune system and fight off infection. Alternatively, you can simply add honey to a cup of hot tea.
6. Don’t Take Cough Suppressants
Cough suppressants may make it harder for your body to get rid of excess mucus that is causing congestion. Coughing is a natural body process that helps to expel blockages. By taking a cough suppressant, you may make it harder to eliminate chest congestion. If your chest congestion is accompanied by an unbearable cough, limit your suppressant intake to once or twice per day to help minimize the effects of congestion.
7. Use A Humidifier
A humidifier helps add extra moisture into the air. As demonstrated by a hot shower or facial steam bath, warm, moist air is one of the best congestion remedies. Cool-mist humidifiers are a great choice since the gently emit a stream of wet air to make breathing easier. You can also add essential oil to a humidifying diffuser to improve symptoms. Many essential oils boast anti-inflammatory properties that can help decrease inflammation in blood vessels and loosen congestion.
8. Eat Congestion-Fighting Foods
There are many foods that contain active compounds to decrease inflammation and loosen congestion. If you’re feeling stuffed up, try eating spicy foods like chili peppers or cayenne pepper. You can also simply add a heaping spoonful of black pepper to your soup. It pairs perfectly with a pinch of turmeric powder and a teaspoon of salt to help your body fight congestion. Other spices that can help fight congestion include ginger, licorice root, and ginseng.
Feel Better Fast
For severe chest congestion or respiratory infections, it’s always a good idea to seek medical advice from a qualified healthcare professional. They may suggest using over-the-counter medications or prescription medications to fight stubborn chest congestion. Head to a medical center immediately if you experience severe difficulty breathing.
For minor to moderate chest congestion, these effective remedies can help alleviate symptoms while your body fights off infections and the underlying cause of the buildup of mucus. These natural remedies can be paired with other home remedies such as a nasal spray or salt water irrigation to help reduce congestion in the sinuses.
Bacteria, viruses, and allergies can all cause chest congestion. Limit interactions with any known allergens to prevent reactions. Make sure to drink lots of fluids and get rest if you come down with an upper respiratory tract infection that causes shortness of breath and congestion.