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What Is Chest Congestion?

In simple terms, chest congestion is the buildup of surplus fluid and mucus in the lungs resulting to severe coughing, chest pains and even difficulty in breathing.   It has been established that a person suffering from severe chest congestion can easily be identified because it is audible. Crackling can easily be heard from the chest of the person suffering from the congestion. In most cases, this condition makes breathing a task for an individual and when one can’t get a breath, it means finding relief is the main focus.  Remember, when you cannot breathe normally, it means that your lungs are straining very much to get air.  As such, you need to be aware of ways that you can use in order to relieve chest congestion. Keep reading the article to learn more about this condition.

What Are The Causes Of Chest Congestion?

There are several causes of chest congestion and if the necessary measures are not taken, an individual can end up being sent to the grave too early than expected. It is important therefore to take precautions as soon as you notice the onset of this condition. Some of the major causes of this condition include the following:

  • Pneumonia: This is a condition which occurs when there is an inflammation in the lungs due to viral, bacterial or fungal infection. This causes an individual to cough and in turn sputum is produced. When this happens, chest congestion may occur and may require one to go through a chest x-ray for the best diagnosis to be made.
  • Postnasal Drip:  This is yet another major cause of chest congestion which occurs when there is mucus buildup in the sinuses that tends to drip at the back of the throat.  In most cases, the mucus may result to one having a reproductive cough. However, if this does not happen, the mucus will easily slide into the lungs and this will cause chest congestion.
  • Bronchitis: This is a kind of condition that causes the lining of the respiratory tubes to be inflamed.  It is mainly brought about due to bacterial or cold virus bronchial infection. This in turn can cause chest congestion accompanied with a cough that tends to produce sputum that is green in color.
  • Tuberculosis: This is a major cause of chest congestion that is associated with uncontrollable coughing. The coughing may be too severe making one to become breathless and this in turn makes the lungs to try and grasp air from the outside.
  • Croup, emphysema, asthma, allergy, flu, cystic fibrosis, whooping cough, heart valve malfunctions and congestive heart failure are other major causes of chest congestion.  

What Are The Symptoms Of Chest Congestion?

Symptoms of chest congestion can easily be identified and it is important to seek medical attention as soon as you spot the symptoms. This is important as the doctor will be able to offer you the best diagnosis for the condition at the right time before it can become extreme. Keep reading to learn some of the symptoms that you need to watch out for.

  • Coughing: This is one of the symptoms that can easily be identified. In case you have uncontrollable coughing that lasts for days, it is important to seek medical advice as this can result to severe consequences.
  • Shortness of Breath: A person suffering from chest congestion will tend to have shortness of breath especially due to the uncontrolled coughing. Sometimes one may have inability to speak due to shortness of breath because of the excess fluid that is present in the lungs of the individual.
  • Chest Discomfort: The other symptom that one can notice is feeling some unexplainable discomfort in the chest.  An individual may feel as if his or her chest is too tight and cannot move.
  • Coughing up Blood: When the chest congestion is severe, an individual may end up coughing blood. This is another major symptom of this condition and necessary measures should be taken as soon as possible.
  • Wheezing Sounds: There are some people who will tend to let out wheezing sounds when their chests have congested. This is a major symptom of chest congestion and should be taken with a lot of seriousness to prevent severe damages to the lungs.
  • Elevated Temperature: This is another major symptom of chest congestion whereby if your temperature tends to elevate up to one hundred degrees that may last for more than 3 days, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.

Home Remedies For Chest Congestion

Just like other conditions, chest congestion has its own remedies as well which may be home based or medical based depending on its causes and severity. It is therefore important to be aware of the remedies so that you can know how to put them in action once you suffer from this condition. Here we go with some of the best remedies of chest congestion.

  • Eucalyptus- This is one of the most effective herbal remedies and this is because it acts as a decongestant. It helps clear blocked airways and adding a couple of drops of this essential oil to boiling water can major in a major difference in determining whether you recover quickly. Using a towel, drape it over your head and breathe in steam vapors from the pot of boiling water. It will help loosen congestion. You can buy eucalyptus over the counter at the majority of retail stores or from pharmacies. If you have a stubborn chest congestion problem, it is advisable to use a chest rub that contains eucalyptus in order to get fast relief.   
  • Syrup of Horseradish- Horseradish is a spicy condiment and while this is the case, the herb is often used as a remedy for chest congestion. It acts as expectorant and it can be purchased from any food health store. Since it is already packaged and well prepared, you can use it as the perfect elixir. Though it is an effective herbal remedy, syrup horseradish should only be used by adults and children below 4 years if age should not be given the remedy. Those who are sensitive to iodine are also advised not to use the remedy because it has negative side effects.
  • Anise- This is an effective herb for clearing congestion of the respiratory tract. It has some antibacterial and expectorant properties. It can be used in the form of tea which is made using powdered or crashed seeds. For the purpose of making the tea more palatable ingredient like garlic, sugar, allspice, honey and cinnamon can be added to the mixture. You can purchase anise from majority of food stores. While this herbal remedy is highly effective, those with allergic reactions to anethole are advised not to use it.
  • Thyme- Use 2 tsps of thyme everyday in order to get relief from chest congestion. It should be mixed with boiling water and let it boil for 4 minutes while covered and drink the mixture while it is still hot.
  • Drinking Liquids in Plenty:  One of the inexpensive and easy remedies of curbing chest congestion is by drinking lots of liquids. The main aim of doing this is to help in breaking up the mucus present in the chest and this will in turn make it easier for you to breathe properly and at the same time let the mucus out.  Drink herbal teas without milk or sugar as they are effective in clearing this condition without any hassle. Stick to clear fluids.
  • Steam: This is a home based remedy that works perfectly when it comes to curing chest congestion. Even though using steam will not work for every individual, trying it out once or even twice will not bite.  Let the steam be hot and humid and let it pass gently into the chest opening and this will in turn help in breaking down and loosening any mucus present in the chest.  You can even use a shower having hot running water to do this.
  • Rest and Sleep: These two are natural remedies that one can use to cure chest congestion because they help in strengthening the immune system.  There are some illness that cause this condition and can easily be rid of through enough rest and sleep. For instance, if you have been prescribed some antibiotics, it is important to sleep once you have taken them as they will be most effective while you are in a calm and restful state.  You are advised to sleep with your back propped up as this will prevent any mucus from settling at the back of the lungs.
  • Using a Cool Mist Humidifier: If you have cash, you can purchase a humidifier and fill it with distilled water. It is believed that the cool mist in the humidifier will play a major role in ensuring that your airways are prevented from drying out and at the same time ensuring that your mucus is thin.  This is a home remedy that can be used for curing chest congestion.

Diet For Chest Congestion

Just like any other mentioned conditions, the diet for chest congestion should be a healthy one in order to promote a quick healing process. While this is the case, there are some foods that should not miss in your diet and some of them include the following:

  • Vitamin C Supplements: Since most infections are caused due to weak immune systems, it is imperative to ensure that your diet is well supplied with vitamin C supplements. They will help in fighting any infections that may cause this condition.
  • Food Groups: Ensure that you take a proper diet that includes all the 4 groups of foods i.e. proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates and minerals in order to restore your strength back.

Prevention Of Chest Congestion

There are some preventive measures that you need to take on so as to keep this condition at bay. Some of them include the following:

  • Ensure that you get adequate rest and this will in turn prevent the causes of chest congestion symptoms.
  • Stick to a proper diet all the way ensuring that all the required nutrients are consumed in plenty. Drink lots of water once you are done eating as this will help you to urinate more thus ridding the body of any infection that may cause this condition.
  • Take time to exercise on daily basis for 30 minutes or so in order to keep your body muscles physically fit ready to fight nay infections in the body.
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