Video transcription

Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we're going to talk about how to loosen chest congestion. Now, when we're talking about chest congestion, we're particularly talking about that grungy, mucusy stuff that builds up in your airways. We're not talking about wheezing, which is a high-pitched sound that you make when you're trying to breathe out through airways that are too narrow. Wheezing is very dangerous, and if you think you have wheezing, you need to seek care pretty quickly. If, however, you're talking about grungy, mucusy stuff trapped in the chest, there are some ideas for helping to get it up. Now, frequently, people use medications like Mucinex, which is Guaifenesin. Guaifenesin certainly doesn't harm anything. Theoretically, it's supposed to loosen up mucus and make it easier to cough up. Whether it actually does that, the scientific literature is still a little bit out on that, but that's the idea, and there's probably no harm in giving it a try. Now, something else that may thin congestion, make it easier for you to cough it up, is water vapor. It can be as simple as filling you bathroom with steam. You can get a vaporizer, either cool mist humidifier, or a steam vaporizer. One word of caution: With the steam vaporizer, it's really easy to get a steam burn. So, if you have small children around, you want to be sure that that steam vaporizer is either way out of their reach, or just go ahead and get a cool mist humidifier in place of the steam vaporizer. You may find very much that being in a humid environment helps loosen that congestion and cough it up. Now, another thing that may help get congestion up is chest percussion. Now, respiratory therapists are trained to do chest percussion especially. But, if you've got somebody who can cup their hands and sort of gently, or medium firmly pat on your back all over, they can probably vibrate some of that mucus and loosen it up, and hep you cough it up. Those are probably the three best ways to get rid of that mucus out of your chest. Now, you may be thinking about using a cough suppressant. For children, we know that the best cough suppressant is just honey, at least in children who are at least one year of age. Honey is dangerous to use in children who are less than one year of age, because of the possibility of botulism. For those kids, you would use corn syrup. But, just because you're not a child, doesn't mean that you can't use honey as a cough suppressant. In fact, the literature would suggest it's probably as good as any of the medical cough suppressants that we use. Talking about how to loosen up chest congestion, I'm Dr. David Hill.