For too many people winter equals chesty coughs, runny noses and congestion. Mucus seems to build up and no matter how hard you cough or blow your nose it just won’t clear or come up!
Chest congestion can be caused by any number of ailments, chief among them the common cold and the flu. Fortunately, chest congestion relief also comes in many forms, from home remedies like hot steam, to different kinds of medications and therapies like salt therapy. Hopefully one of these ways to break up chest congestion and relieve the build up of mucus works for you.
Vicks is your friend:
Vicks can provide great relief when massaged onto your chest. Eucalyptus oil, one of Vicks’ active ingredients, is particularly helpful. Paired with hot water and eucalyptus oil, it can double your phlegm fighting force! Not only is it antiviral (most chest coughs are viral infections), but it relieves your cough and loosens up mucus.
Tip: Rub vicks on your or your child’s chest each night before bed to let it work its magic.
Keeping the air moist can loosen mucus and reduce congestion and coughing. There are many ways to do this such as a humidifier. People with difficulty sleeping may wish to use a humidifier at night. Please note; humidifiers must be cleaned regularly to remove bacteria and other pathogens that can make symptoms worse and lead to infection.
Other ways to inhale steam include:
Fill a large bowl with hot water. Lean over the bowl and drape a towel over the head to contain the stream. Gently inhale the steam to loosen mucus. Tip: Add a teaspoon of vicks to the hot water.
Or having a hot shower or bath: The hot water will fill the room with steam and help to alleviate symptoms.
Keep your fluids up:
Staying hydrated with enough water can help thin and loosen mucus making it easier to expel by coughing. A warm drink like herbal or decaf tea is also a soothing way to help keep fluids up. Broth and even the classic homemade chicken soup is also a great way to ease chest congestion while keeping hydrated. Stay away from alcohol, coffee, and caffeinated sodas when your chest is congested, as they may dehydrate you.
Staying hydrated is critical if you’re congested, and by heating your water and adding lemon, the heat will break up congestion quickly while the high vitamin C content of the lemon will help your body fight off infection. The juice of roughly one large lemon provides you with 31% of your daily recommended value of vitamin C! Try having a glass of hot lemon water with the juice of one lemon three times a day.
If lemon water isn’t your thing, try squeezing lemon over steamed broccoli, another incredibly rich source of vitamin C. Eating the right foods will supercharge the immune system and help your body fight off that persistent cough. Tip: Pressure cooking broccoli will preserve 90% of its vitamin C content!
Just add salt:
We all know a swim in the salty ocean can have your nose run and clearing congestion. Only downside, who wants to go swimming in the freezing winter weather. Solution; salt therapy!
By sitting in the Salts of the Earth salt rooms you will be exposed to a dry salt aerosol. The size of the microscopic salt particles enables it to be inhaled deep down into your lungs, lining the walls of your airways and lungs and promoting muco-ciliary clearance. It does this by gently stimulating the body’s natural action of cilia movement in the respiratory system working as “gentle brush” to clean the airways of mucus, allergens and other foreign substances that often accompany cold and flu.
Additionally, the sodium chloride aka “salt” changes the consistency of mucus in the lungs and airways so that it is thinner and less sticky – therefore making it easier to expel clearing congestion and mucus in the chest.