11 Ways to Get Rid of Chest Congestion Fast
Do you have that horrible, tight feeling in your chest? Are you coughing up gunk and wheezing? Is taking a full breath strenuous? You’re not alone. Practically everyone gets chest congestion at some point in their life—usually multiple times per year. Chest congestion is primarily caused by allergens, mold, chemicals, viruses, and infections. If you’re seeing an increase of mucus in your chest, that’s a sign that your body is battling some sort of foreign invader.
No matter the cause, chest congestion is uncomfortable and in some cases debilitating. Here are 11 ways you can get rid of chest congestion overnight and get it under control long-term.
How to Get Rid of Chest Congestion Overnight
For immediate chest congestion relief, follow these tips.
1. Take Medicine
We’re lucky enough to live in a modern world where remedies to most of our problems are available without a prescription. If you have mucus in your chest that won’t come up, coughing, wheezing, and other unpleasantness, go to your local drug store. There, you can find a number of chest congestion medicines like Mucinex, Vicks Vapor Rub, Robitussin cough syrup, and more. For immediate relief, take as directed and consult a doctor if your symptoms persist.
2. Go Natural
There are so many natural remedies that can help reduce chest congestion. From lemon to bay leaves to honey and thyme, you can use a variety of herbs and natural ingredients to breathe easier. Make a tincture, brew a tea, buy a supplement, or eat certain foods raw to get decongestion benefits right away.
3. Get Steamy
When you have chest congestion, the insides of your airways are inflamed, causing constriction and mucus you suffer from. Steam helps calm this response. Either take a hot shower, put your head over a steaming bowl of water with a towel over your head (not hot enough to burn your face, of course), or get a humidifier. Adding a few drops of essential oils like peppermint has also been shown to alleviate chest congestion. Other essential oils also help combat respiratory infections, so you can try those too.
4. Treat Colds and Sinus Infections Right Away
Prevent chest congestion before it starts by treating colds, sinus infections, and other nasal problems immediately. If untreated, these common problems can become bronchitis, pneumonia, and chronic respiratory problems. Consult your doctor if you’re feeling sick to see if he/she can prescribe you some medicine. No matter what he/she says, get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids to prevent serious chest congestion from creeping up.
5. Avoid Foods With Histamines
When you’re already congested, avoid foods and drinks that cause excess phlegm production like dairy, meats, and alcohol. Consider adopting a mucus-free diet for the short-term to keep your chest congestion and mucus production under control.
How to Treat Chest Congestion Long-Term
Chest congestion isn’t completely avoidable. However, there are some measures you can take to decrease your chance of developing an upper respiratory infection and the congestion that goes along with it.
6. Stay Hydrated
When your body comes into contact with an irritant or germ, it produces mucus. This mucus uses a lot of water from your system to properly flush out germs. If you’re dehydrated, your body won’t be able to make the mucus it needs to rid your system of something that can cause you to get sick and experience severe chest congestion.
When you’re sick, drink even more water than you normally should (eight, eight-ounce cups). When you’re feeling fine, remember to consume your daily water intake. If your body never runs dry, you may not experience chest congestion as often.
7. Get an Inhaler
If you have chronic chest congestion, you might have asthma or another respiratory condition. Talk to your doctor to see if you need an inhaler to keep inflammation down. In time, suppressing inflammation can prevent it from happening in the first place.
8. Wash your Hands
Avoiding sickness is a great way to prevent chest congestion—because when your body is sick it produces mucus and inflammation that gives you these hard-to-breathe symptoms. Washing your hands decreases your chances of developing a respiratory infection by 16 percent! So rub-a-dub-dub to keep chest congestion away.
9. Decrease Exposure to Smoke and Chemicals
If you’re super sensitive to irritants, avoid contact with secondhand smoke and chemicals as much as possible. Over time, these particulates accumulate in your lungs and cause your body to respond by producing mucus and inflammation.
10. Check Your House for Mold
Mold has been discovered to cause respiratory problems like coughing, wheezing, and asthma. Plus, it may cause asthma in otherwise healthy kids. Check your house for mold by starting where it likes to grow—warm, damp environments like your bathroom and basement. If you see mold, call an expert. They’ll be able to determine the type of mold and tell you if you can remediate it yourself with water and bleach. However, if it’s a more serious mold like black mold (which can be life-threatening), they’ll legally need to remove it themselves.
You can also take measures to reduce mold growth in your home by ensuring there aren’t any leaks in your plumbing or excess moisture. Buy a dehumidifier to address this concern and head off mold problems and chest congestion causes.
11. Use an Air Purifier
If you live with pets, suffer from allergies, have asthma, or experience chronic chest congestion you should consider getting an air purifier. These handy devices remove chemicals, mold, allergens, odors, and so much more from the air, so you don’t breathe it in and suffer from coughing, wheezing, and worse.