Chest congestion is common during the winter season and can be caused by several treatments that affect the respiratory system such as the common cold, bronchitis, asthma or complications from heart disease. It can be a rather uncomfortable experience with symptoms including tightness in the chest, coughing, shortness of breath or a runny nose. There are several home remedies that can be used to bring relief and treat chest congestion.
How phlegm is formed
Our body produces mucus and phlegm to keep us healthy. It is a protective, slippery substance that your throat, sinuses and lungs produce. This substance then helps to protect tissues in your body and trap any irritants and bacteria. However, if bacteria or a virus manages to get past your body’s natural defense system, then more phlegm is formed. In most people, this excessive production of mucus and phlegm will clear without further problems. However, there are some conditions where the bronchi become filled with mucus, leaving the lungs more vulnerable to infection. Such conditions include bronchiectasis and cystic fibrosis. In both instances, your body is needing to rid itself of this substance, usually by coughing.
In a naturally occurring amount, mucus offers protection by acting as a natural filter for bacteria. Your lungs are highly vulnerable to bacteria and infection. This is because the lungs are an internal organ and the oxygen you breathe in goes directly into your lungs. Read more about how to Improve Your Lung Health.
OTC medications for chest congestion are of two types depending upon their mode of action. They are described below.
Expectorants such as Mucinex work by thinning the phlegm in your lungs. They help you get rid of the uncomfortable congestion by speeding up the sputum clearing process.
For best results, you can do this at the same time once you get in position for mucus drainage, but before you start your deep breathing, as this technique loosens the mucus in your lungs and facilitates drainage. It may be easier to have someone do this for you.
- First, cup your hand, and lightly tap your chest and (if possible) your back. You may hear a loud sound, but you shouldn’t feel any pain. Tap for a minute on each side, but avoiding your spine and breastbone.
How to Get Rid of Mucus Buildup in Lungs Naturally
Looking for natural ways on how to get rid of mucus in your lungs? Here are some helpful tips provided by Medical News Today and the National Jewish Health Foundation that your clinician may recommend you try at home: