Mucus, made up primarily of glycosylated proteins and inorganic salts, protects your body against pathogens, toxins and irritating fumes. During times of infection, such as during a cold, your body increases its production of mucus in order to trap the virus. Too much mucus however, can cause you discomfort. Expelling the mucus will allow you to feel better and get pathogens out of your body more quickly.
Drink at least eight 236ml. glasses of water each day. Staying hydrated thins out the mucus, making coughing it up easier.
Boil two cups of water and pour them into a large bowl. Put a towel over your head and lean over the bowl. Breath in the steam. Alternatively, turn the shower on hot for five minutes with the bathroom door closed. The heat and moisture loosen the mucus, making it easier to cough up.
Sit up, leaning slightly forward. Breath in through your nose as you normally would. Hold your breath for two seconds before coughing lightly, but steadily three times in a row.
Eat a bowl of chicken soup when you're very congested, to reduce the amount and thickness of the mucus. According to a 2000 study done by researchers at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, chicken soup inhibits certain cells in the body responsible for mucus production.
Stop breathing in the steam if you feel lightheaded, dizzy or faint.