3 Ways to Clear Chest Congestion

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3 Ways to Clear Chest Congestion
3 Ways to Clear Chest Congestion

Chest congestion is an uncomfortable and unpleasant symptom, but fortunately there are several ways to loosen and expel mucus from the lungs. Try a salt gargle, steam inhalation and hydrate your body well. If these solutions do not work, take an expectorant. See your doctor if the congestion gets worse so he can recommend the best treatment, such as a pump or other medication.


Method 1 of 3: Releasing the Mucus

Clear Chest Congestion Step 1

Step 1. Inhale steam over a bowl of hot water or take a long shower

The heat and moisture from the steam helps to soften and dissolve the mucus deep in the lungs and throat. Take a hot bath or fill a bowl with boiling water and inhale as much steam as you can without coughing. Inhale for at least 15 to 20 minutes, once or twice a day, until the symptom subsides.

  • If using a basin, place your face a safe distance from the water and cover your head with a towel to contain the steam inside. Take a deep breath and inhale for at least 15 minutes.
  • You can also put a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil into the water, helping to loosen more mucus.
Clear Chest Congestion Step 2

Step 2. Put a humidifier in your bedroom at night while you sleep

The device makes the air in the room more humid, which moistens the lungs, alleviating congestion and opening the upper airways. Moisture can also help open your nostrils so you can breathe more easily. Place the equipment in a place where it releases steam on top of your bed, but at a distance of 1.80 to 3 m from your head.

  • The effect of using a humidifier is even more positive if the air in your home is usually dry.
  • If you use the appliance at night, fill the reservoir every three or four days or whenever the water runs out.
Clear Chest Congestion Step 3

Step 3. gargle with a saline solution for a minute or two to relieve congestion.

Gargling is great for releasing secretions from the airways. Mix ½ cup (140 ml) of warm water with 1 or 2 tablespoons (12, 5 to 25 g) of salt. Stir well to dissolve the salt a little and gargle as deeply as you can for a minute or two. Then just spit.

Gargle like this three to four times a day until the congestion starts to improve

Clear Chest Congestion Step 4

Step 4. Apply a warm compress to the chest

Lie down with your head elevated and place the warm compress or towel over your breastbone. Put on a piece of clothing to protect your skin from the compress and prevent burns and let the heat work for ten to 15 minutes. Repeat two or three times a day to get as much mucus out of your lungs as possible.

  • Applying a warm compress or towel to the throat and chest helps relieve congestion and warm the airway from the outside. Also, the mucus is looser and is easier to cough up.
  • It is possible to buy a hot compress at a pharmacy.
  • To warm a hand towel, moisten the towel with water and place it in the microwave for 60 to 90 seconds.
Clear Chest Congestion Step 5

Step 5. Use a portable electric back and chest massager to loosen the mucus

Run the machine over the most congested spots in the lungs (for example, higher up the chest if you have bronchitis). You can also ask someone to massage your back if you can't reach it well. Another option is to cup your hands and pat your chest to release the secretions.

  • It's also a good idea to ask a friend or family member to cup your hand on the back.
  • Depending on the congested spot, it can be okay to lean over or in a certain position to help the lungs drain. For example, if the back and undersides of your lungs are congested, stand in the dog's yoga pose looking down or the child's pose and ask someone to pat you on the back.
Clear Chest Congestion Step 6

Step 6. Elevate your head with two or three pillows at bedtime

Keeping your head elevated helps mucus from your nose and throat drain into your stomach. That way you can sleep better and don't wake up completely locked up. Place several pillows under your head and neck so that you are elevated above your torso.

Another way to elevate your head is to place a piece of wood about 10 cm × 10 cm under the foot of the bed at the headboard

Clear Chest Congestion Step 7

Step 7. Cough five to eight times in a controlled manner to expel loose mucus

Sit in a chair and take a deep breath to fill your lungs with air. Contract your belly muscles three times in a row to cough, making a “ha” sound with each cough. Repeat four or five times until your cough is productive.

A cough is a mechanism for the body to expel excess secretions from the lungs. It's not healthy to cough uncontrollably or into your throat, but a deep, controlled cough can help get the mucus out and relieve congestion

Method 2 of 3: Avoiding Congestion with Food and Drink

Clear Chest Congestion Step 8

Step 1. Drink teas and other non-caffeinated beverages

Warm liquids usually help dissolve the mucus that causes congestion in the chest, but tea has the double benefit of the herbal effects, which can ease the symptom. Prepare a cup of mint, ginger, chamomile or rosemary tea to drink four to five times a day. Add a little honey for sweetening and properties.

Avoid caffeinated beverages such as black tea, green tea or coffee as it can stimulate mucus production and worsen chest congestion

Clear Chest Congestion Step 9

Step 2. Eat spicy and strong foods like ginger and garlic

Certain foods can help clear mucus from the lungs. They encourage the body to expel these secretions by irritating the airways and stimulating the production of thin mucus and fluid that is expelled easily, taking the thicker mucus with it. Increase your intake of spicy foods, citrus fruits, garlic, onions and ginger by incorporating them into lunch and dinner for three or four days until congestion improves.

  • Other foods have also shown positive effects in relieving congestion, such as licorice root, guava, ginseng and pomegranate.
  • Many of these foods also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help with chest congestion, but these effects are long-term and can take months to show up.
Clear Chest Congestion Step 10

Step 3. Keep your body hydrated by drinking water throughout the day

Drink lots of water to clear secretions - even better if it's at room temperature. If you don't get enough fluid, mucus in your lungs and throat can thicken and become harder to get out. Drink water throughout the day and with meals to thin out secretions.

There is no set number of glasses a person should drink per day, as the amount depends on many factors. Instead of counting the glasses, drink water throughout the day in small sips

Clear Chest Congestion Step 11

Step 4. Drink sports drinks and juices to replenish electrolytes

When we are sick, our bodies have a lot of work to do to kill the infectious agent, which can deplete our electrolyte stores. A legal way to replace these electrolytes is to consume isotonic drinks and juices. At least a third of the fluids you consume in a day should come from electrolyte-rich drinks.

  • This choice is also smart for those who do not like the taste of pure water. Sports drinks help with hydration and many people prefer their taste.
  • Look for low-sugar, caffeine-free options.
Clear Chest Congestion Step 12

Step 5. Decrease your intake of fats that increase mucus production

Dairy products (such as milk, butter, yogurt and ice cream), salt, sugar and fried foods are examples of foods that increase the production of secretions. Cut these items out of the diet until the symptom passes. Just do this for three or four days during the illness to make breathing easier.

Also avoid eating pasta, bananas, cabbage and potatoes, as all of these foods can trigger mucus production

Method 3 of 3: Treating Congestion with Medicines

Clear Chest Congestion Step 13

Step 1. Take an expectorant to help the body expel mucus

Expectorant is a drug that dissolves mucus, making it easier to cough up. There are many options available at any pharmacy, usually in the form of syrups, which contain the active substances guaifenesin and dextromethorphan hydrobromide. If necessary, talk to a pharmacist and ask for a referral. Read the package insert carefully and follow the dosage recommendations.

  • It is possible to take up to 1,200 mg of guaifenesin per day. Always take with a full glass of water.
  • Expectorants are not safe for children under the age of six, so take your child to the pediatrician for a suitable alternative.
Clear Chest Congestion Step 14

Step 2. Use a bronchodilator (in the form of a pump or nebulizer) if you have difficulty breathing because of congestion

Ask a doctor for a recommendation to treat your respiratory problem. Some medications, such as salbutamol in Aerolin, help to loosen mucus from the lungs and relieve congestion. After using the pump or inhaling, try coughing a little in a controlled manner, as the medicine must have already softened the secretion. Always follow the directions of the doctor or the package insert.

Bronchodilators are especially needed when chest congestion is very severe, but talk to a doctor anyway

Clear Chest Congestion Step 15

Step 3. Go to the doctor if things don't improve in a week

If symptoms do not go away with any method, go to your doctor and describe the severity and duration of the problem. He may recommend an injection, antibiotic, nasal spray, pills, or vitamins to clear mucus from the lungs for good.

Also go to the doctor if you have more severe symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, hives or wheezing

Clear Chest Congestion Step 16

Step 4. Avoid taking a cough suppressant if your chest is congested

Suppressors are used to minimize coughing, but unfortunately they can thicken the mucus, which is more difficult to clear. Avoid taking a suppressant or a combination of suppressant and expectorant, as the situation can get worse.

Remember that coughing is normal and good when your chest is congested, so you shouldn't control or minimize your cough

Clear Chest Congestion Step 17

Step 5. Do not take antihistamines if mucus comes out in a cough

Also avoid decongestants if this happens. Both drugs can dry out the mucus, making it difficult for you to cough it up. Some cough syrups have antihistamines, so read the composition and leaflet before taking them.

  • A cough that releases mucus from the lungs is known as productive.
  • It's normal to have yellowish to slightly greenish secretions if you have a cold or the flu. However, if it is any other color, go to the doctor.


  • Avoid smoking or inhaling cigarette smoke if your chest is congested. Chemical substances in cigarettes can irritate the airways and cause an unnecessary cough. If you are a smoker and cannot stop, at least take a break while you have the symptom.
  • Chest congestion can turn into pneumonia if you don't take care of it right away! Go to the doctor so you don't develop an infection.
  • Is it difficult to cough up the mucus? Ask someone to pat you on the back, left and right, at the level of your lungs. That way, the mucus is loosened and it is easier to cough it up.


  • Do not drive after taking a strong oral medication. Many syrups make you sleepy, so it's a good idea to take them just before going to sleep so you can have a better night.
  • Only give medicine to babies and young children after taking them to the pediatrician.

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