8 Chest Congestion Remedies to Help You Feel Better

Each kind of congestion sounds and feels different. Inflammation and mucus in the nasal passages can cause nasal congestion when you have the cold or flu, making your nose feel stuffy. Sinus congestion can bring symptoms of pressure or pain around your forehead, or between your eyes. Chest congestion is entirely different and requires different treatment to bring you relief from this uncomfortable symptom. Read more to learn what chest congestion is and more importantly—what chest congestion remedies and medicine will bring you relief while you have a cold or flu.

What Is Chest Congestion?

Chest congestion develops when mucus accumulates in the lungs and lower breathing tubes (bronchi). When you have chest congestion it can be difficult to take a full, deep breath. You may also hear or feel wheezing or crackling sounds in your chest when you breathe in and out. A different kind of cough may happen when you develop chest congestion, too. This type of cough, known as a wet, or productive cough, has a different sound than a dry cough from an irritated throat, and brings up a lot of mucus.

Cold and flu viruses are among the most common infectious causes of chest congestion.1 Full recovery from chest congestion due to a cold or the flu can take up to 4 weeks for a person in generally good health.2 You don’t need to suffer with symptoms if you find yourself with chest congestion from a cold or flu. There are over-the-counter medicines, like DayQuil SEVERE, that can bring you relief of your chest congestion and other cold and flu symptoms while your body gets better.

Keep reading for 8 chest congestion remedies to bring you much-needed relief.

  1. Rest

The importance of rest for healing chest congestion can’t be overstated. Rest allows your immune system to work at full capacity. Don’t try to “push through” chest congestion, assuming you can carry on with your normal daily routine while the infection works its way out of your system. Go home, put your feet up on the couch or crawl into bed, and let your body fight off the cold or flu virus you may have.

  1. Hydration

Water is necessary to thin the mucus and make it easier to cough up. Also, fighting an infection consumes energy, which increases your requirements for water. Fluids like hot tea and broth-y soups will provide the extra hydration your body needs. These hot beverages can also help soothe irritated airways.

  1. Steam Therapy

Take a steaming hot shower or hold your head over a steaming pot of water to help thin mucus and make it easier to expel.

Warm steam opens and moisturizes stuffy breathing passages, and helps thin the mucus so you can cough it up and get phlegm out.

  1. Warm compress

In between steam sessions, a hot compress, such as a hot water bottle or microwavable heat pack wrapped in a damp towel can provide an additional source of moist heat while you are resting in bed.

  1. Saltwater Gargle

Gargling saltwater helps to loosen mucus so you can easily get rid of it, making way for more mucus to move up from the lungs and lower airways. It’s one of the most well-known home remedies and one of the first things you might consider when thinking about how to get rid of chest congestion.2 Plus, it could help your sore throat that may accompany chest congestion as one of your cold or flu symptoms.

  1. Hot drinks

Drinking something warm may provide a double benefit—helping from both inside and out! Inhaling the steam from the cup or bowl can help thin mucus for easier removal, plus once ingested, fluids will help keep you hydrated to keep secretions thin as you fight the infection.

  1. Honey

Honey has demulcent effects (a fancy term for something that is soothing to mucus membranes by creating a film) and can help temporarily minimize the irritation that triggers the cough reflex. Adding honey to a hot drink is an efficient way to use 2 strategies in 1 to help with chest congestion.

The CDC recommends that you do not give honey to a child younger than 12 months.3

  1. Over-the-Counter Remedies

You don’t need to suffer through chest congestion symptoms while your body rids itself of a cold or flu virus. There are over-the-counter medicines that can bring you relief from those symptoms. The key, though, is to identify what other symptoms you are experiencing besides chest congestion, if any, so you can get the relief you need. DayQuil SEVERE with VapoCOOL, for example, relieves chest congestion with an expectorant, guaifenesin. It also has ingredients that relieve minor aches and pains, fever, nasal congestion, and cough symptoms from a cold or flu.

While over-the-counter medicines can’t cure your virus, they can help you feel more comfortable, so you can get the rest your body needs to heal.

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