Chest Congestion Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Remedies: Chest Congestion is the deposition of mucus, known as phlegm, in the respiratory tract and lungs of the person. This is an immune response which is aimed to protect your respiratory tract from pathogens. The mucus is present normally in the chest of the person and it lubricates the airways and prevents dryness of the respiratory lining.
An infection in your respiratory tract can lead to an accumulation of mucus in your lungs and lower respiratory tract which is known as Chest Congestion. Chest Congestion mostly occurs as a symptom of many respiratory tract infections such as the common cold, bronchitis and flu.
The patient often has a wet and productive cough which produces thick mucus. It can also lead to many sounds in the chest such as wheezing or crackling when you breathe. The patient can also feel a heaviness and tightness in their chest which can make it hard for them to breathe properly. Chest Congestion can affect anyone who has a long term condition affecting their respiratory tract.
Chest Congestion is a common symptom accompanying many respiratory conditions. This can occur due to an accumulation of mucus in the respiratory tracts. Chest Congestion is often considered an immune response as your body tries to remove the pathogens from your respiratory system.
The mucus tries to trap the pathogens and prevent their spread to other areas of the respiratory tract. Then the mucus is moved out of the lungs and respiratory tract through the action of small hair-like cells, known as cilia. The movement of the mucus irritates the nerve cells in the lungs which can cause you to cough.
This cough is wet and productive and produces a thick mucus. Chest Congestion is often accompanied by other symptoms of the causative disease such as sore throat, stuffy nose, sneezing and headache and bodyache. The article given below covers all the details of Chest Congestion such as its symptoms, causes, treatment and home remedies.
Symptoms of Chest Congestion
Chest Congestion can lead to an inflammation of your airways and buildup of mucus in your lungs which makes it difficult for you to breathe properly. Other symptoms associated with Chest Congestion are listed below.
- Chest pain
- Feeling of heaviness and tightness in your chest
- Chills and shivering
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty in breathing
- Headache and bodyache
- Fatigue and weakness
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Bluish colour of lips
- Productive cough with thick sputum which can be green, yellow or brown in colour.
Causes of Chest Congestion
Chest Congestion occurs when your body starts producing an excess of mucus which starts blocking your airways. There are many causes which can lead to an onset of Chest Congestion and other symptoms in people.
- Common Cold- A common cold is the most common cause of Chest Congestion. It occurs when a person is infected by a rhinovirus which affects the respiratory tract of the person. It can also produce other symptoms such as a stuffy nose, runny nose, sore throat and productive cough.
- Viral and Bacterial infections- Many viral and bacterial infections affecting the respiratory tract such as Flu, Bronchitis or Pneumonia can also lead to Chest Congestion.
- Airborne irritants- Many airborne irritants can get lodged in your airways. This will initiate an immune response and increase the production of mucus in your airways. Excessive amounts of mucus can lead to Chest Congestion. These airborne irritants can include cigarette and vape smoke, strong perfumes and strong smelling chemicals.
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)- Chest Congestion is a common symptom of COPD. COPD is a combination of many respiratory diseases which lead to inflammation of the respiratory tract. This leads to excessive production of mucus and makes it difficult for the person to breathe.
- Allergies- Many allergens can also lead to Chest Congestion. These allergens include pollen, pet dander and dust mites. These irritate the respiratory lining and trigger an overproduction of the mucus in the respiratory tract.
Treatment of Chest Congestion
Many medications are available in pharmacies which can relieve Chest Congestion and other symptoms associated with it.
- Decongestants- These medications constrict your blood vessels in order to decrease the symptoms of inflammation in your airways. This allows the mucus to pass freely from the airways. Commonly used decongestants are Oxymetazoline and Pseudoephedrine.
- Vapour rubs- These are also a form of decongestants but these are applied topically over the nose and chest of the patient. These consist of decongestants which pass through your skin into the affected areas. These can be applied every day until the symptoms are completely relieved.
- Nasal sprays- Nasal sprays are also a form of decongestants which are applied directly in the nose of the person. These are used when the patient experiences congestion in the nose and in the upper respiratory tract.
- Expectorants- These medications are used to increase the water content in the mucus making it easier to pass through the cough of the patient.
- Saline drops- Saline drops or saltwater wash is an effective way to manage the symptoms of Chest Congestion. These can remove the mucus from your nose and add moisture in your chest to remove the excess mucus.
Best Remedies for Chest Congestion
Other than the medications, there are many home remedies available which can be used to remove Chest Congestion.
- Drink lots of fluids- You should drink lots of fluids as it will help to increase the quantity of water in your mucus. This will loosen up the mucus in your chest and make it easier for the mucus to travel up your respiratory system and get expelled.
- Use a humidifier- Dry air can dry the lining of your respiratory tract and irritate it. This can lead to an increase in the production of mucus in your airways. You can use a humidifier in your room to add moisture in the air and prevent the dryness of your respiratory lining.
- Take hot showers- Taking hot showers can also loosen the mucus in your chest and make it easier for it to get expelled.
- Use a Steamer- Inhaling steam can add moisture to your respiratory lining and loosen the mucus lodged in your chest. It makes it easier for the mucus to be expelled during coughs.
- Do not suppress coughs- You should not suppress a cough as it is your body’s natural way of expelling the mucus from your airways. When you suppress a cough then it means that the mucus which was to be expelled moves back into your lungs and leads to congestion.
- Keep your head elevated while sleeping- You should always keep your head elevated when sleeping as lying flat can make it feel like your mucus is collecting at the back of your throat. This can induce severe coughing which can wake you up from your sleep.
- Spit out phlegm- If there is mucus or phlegm in your cough then you should always spit it out instead of swallowing it. When you swallow the mucus it can enter your respiratory tract again and lead to more Chest Congestion.
- Gargle with salt water- Gargling with salt water can soothe your irritated throat and can also help in the clearing of residual mucus from your respiratory tract.
- Use essential oils- You can use essential oils such as lavender oil and peppermint oil in your steamer. The vapours of these oils can soothe your respiratory tract and break down the mucus in your chest.
- Ginger and Turmeric- Drinking water infused with ginger and turmeric can also relieve cough, sore throat and Chest Congestion. You can also put some honey or lemon juice in it. These also carry therapeutic properties.
FAQs Related to Chest Congestion
Chest Congestion is the deposition of mucus, known as phlegm, in the respiratory tract and lungs of the person. An infection in your respiratory tract can lead to an accumulation of mucus in your lungs and lower respiratory tract. Chest Congestion mostly occurs as a symptom of many respiratory tract infections such as the common cold, bronchitis and flu.
The fastest way to get rid of Chest Congestion is by using a humidifier and by inhaling steam. These add water to the mucus and loosen its thickness. This makes it easier for the mucus to get expelled through the cough of the patient.
The mucus is present normally in the chest of the person and it lubricates the airways and prevents dryness of the respiratory lining.