Chest congestion is an ailment common to several types of ailments. Here is a look at the causes of chest congestion, its qualities, and some supplemental remedies that can help clear it up.
The Symptoms and Causes of Chest Congestion
Chest congestion refers to the accumulation of mucus in the bronchi and lungs. It is defined by the cough resulting from mucus buildup, which can be very uncomfortable and persistent. The cough resulting from this type of congestion is called a “hacking cough,” because it results in the expulsion of excess mucus, and it can be very uncomfortable.
This hacking cough is often accompanied by other symptoms. These include tightness in the chest, a sore throat, body aches, and wheezing/shortness of breath. The cough tends to be the most persistent symptom, since it can take time to expel excess mucus.
Chest congestion is most often caused by an acute infection such as a chest cold, bronchitis, or the seasonal flu. It can last for days or even weeks after an infection clears up because of remaining mucus and the need for the bronchial tubes to heal.
Chest congestion can also result from chronic conditions such as COPD. These conditions are a separate matter, not addressed here.
Expectorants for Chest Congestion
Many of the recommended home remedies for chest congestion are centered on making it easier to expel mucus and prevent the continual buildup of mucus. Remedies that work as expectorants make it easier to cough up excess mucus. Here are four recommended products that can be effective expectorants for those experiencing a bout of chest congestion:
Guaifenesin is the active ingredient in various over-the-counter expectorants medications. This substance helps to wetten mucus so that it is more easily expelled. A generic product containing guaifenesin is one of the most accessible and touted expectorants, and it can be very useful in clearing up excess mucus that is causing chest congestion.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is the supplemental form of an amino acid known as cysteine. Its many other benefits are related to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; NAC works as an expectorant. It helps by thinning mucus, making it easier to cough up and expel. NAC also reduces inflammation in the bronchial tubes, which can reduce any constriction due to an infection, thereby preventing wheezing and easing the expulsion of mucus.
Eucalyptus oil is an essential oil which can reduce mucus and cough. A few drops of eucalyptus oil can bring relief when gently rubbed into the chest. You can also place a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a diffuser, and then gently inhale the steam in order to experience its benefits.
Menthol is usually found in cough drops. It is known for its ability to ease a sore throat, which is beneficial for someone experiencing the discomfort of chest congestion. However, menthol can also work as an expectorant. Menthol helps to relax the airway muscles, which improves airflow and makes it easier to cough up mucus.
If you or someone in your family experiences chest congestion and coughing, which is a common affliction this time of year, do not confront it unarmed. One or more of these simple, effective expectorants can help rid excess mucus causing congestion and therefore hasten your recovery. It’s recommended that you talk to your healthcare provider before taking a supplement for the first time.