Chest congestion makes breathing a task. When you can't get a breath, finding relief becomes a primary focus. It can be frightening when you can't breathe normally, especially when your lungs are straining for air. There are natural and non-invasive ways to help relieve chest congestion. These simple techniques are easy to do, inexpensive and can definitely help loosen chest congestion.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Hot water bottle
Keep drinking plenty of fluids. The fluid intake helps thin the mucus that is causing the congestion. If the mucus is thinner and looser, your body can get rid of it more easily. Mucus is thick and sticky. Thinning it out lessens its grip. Drink clear fluids, not thick, milky ones. When you are congested, dairy products in general can create even more phlegm and congestion, which is something you want to avoid.
Put lemon in your drink. The acid content in lemon helps cut through phlegm. Tea with lemon works well. If you can handle the unsweetened taste, try plain hot water with fresh or bottled lemon in it. The combined heat and acidic lemon may help to bring some relief. It is better to have it without added sugar or sweeteners, but if you really can't take hot water and lemon without a sweet taste, just add a small amount. Don't overdo the sugar or sweeteners.
Try a back patting technique to help loosen your chest congestion. You will need another person to help you with this. Sit in a chair leaning forward either on a table, with your arms on your lap, or over a pillow. You need to lean in a way that allows your lungs to expand. Keep a shirt on so the slaps on your back don't sting your skin. Then ask the person helping you to give good firm openhanded slaps on your back, moving all over the surface of your back. Do this periodically throughout the day. It may feel odd at first, but after you see that it does take some of the tightness out of your chest you will find it actually feels good.
Put a hot water bottle on your chest. Make sure you have something between your skin and the bottle so you don't burn your skin. The hot water bottle helps the muscles relax and the heat helps loosen congestion.
Stay away from sources of smoke, like smokers or open fires. These will only create more phlegm and congestion.
Tips and warnings
- Keep your room ventilated, but don't shock them with overly cold air.
- If chest congestion persists or you feel a heavy, tight pressure in your chest, or are simply concerned, contact your health care provider.