If you have ever experienced chest congestion, you will probably describe it as the most uncomfortable feeling that is why you would always wonder what to take for chest congestion. What you take will usually depend on the cause of your chest congestion.

Most of the time, you may experience this tenderness if you have a respiratory ailment or if you are recovering from the common cold or flu because of the overproduction of mucus that is common to these illnesses.

Mucus production is actually the body’s defense mechanism to flush out intruding viruses and other pathogens. To put it in detail, the conditions mentioned above tend to overwork your mucus membranes leading to the obstruction of your airways, which then results in chest congestion. This response can be a bit uncomfortable and would also cause a runny nose, sneezing, and pain.

Chest congestion can be a result of multiple ailments as well, so you should not always blame the cold, flu or a respiratory infection for it. Respiratory diseases may also cause you to experience some chest congestion that may require medical treatment before you experience any sort of relief.

If your chest congestion persists for more than ten days, then you should seek medical advice for the relief of your symptoms and discomfort.

What are the Symptoms Associated with Chest Congestion?

Typically, anyone suffering from chest congestion will experience a cough, which may be productive or dry, again depending on how much mucus is released. Too much coughing can damage your bronchi and blood may be present when you cough.

Another symptom of chest congestion is tenderness or discomfort in your chest area. Some people may describe the feeling as added sensitivity, and others may describe it as experiencing tightness in their chest.

What to Take for Chest Congestion?

There are a number of simple remedies that you can use to manage your chest congestion without visiting a doctor. We just would like to emphasize that if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure, then, consulting your doctor would be the best thing to do in case you have chest congestion.

That being said, these remedies we are about to discuss are applicable for congestion that is caused by the conditions we have discussed earlier. The remedy you choose, of course, will be determined by your resources and preferences.

Some people actually prefer a natural way of relieving their ailments and use medicines for relief of life-threatening illnesses. Despite your choice, chest congestion should never be left untreated as it can result in severe complications and possibly infection as it progresses.

  • OTC Medications

If you have to go to work or you want an almost immediate relief of your symptoms, you should take an expectorant. They are medications that contain ingredients that are responsible for breaking up mucus so that you can expel it easier.


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One OTC drug that you should not get is a suppressant since this will minimize your coughing episodes. Remember that coughing is your body’s natural response to irritants and suppressing your cough can lead to your body producing more mucus and it will worsen the chest congestion.

You can use a mentholated cream such as a vaporized ointment to help your breathing and relieve any pain you may have. These mentholated creams also help to break up the mucus your body produces for easy expulsion from your body.

The best time to use these ointments or creams is before you sleep so that your passageway will be opened. Nasal sprays can also help de-clog your nostrils, which will help you breath better.

Non-prescription drugs like Advil, Ibuprofen, and Nyquil also work wonders for the pain caused by the constant coughing. This will help you to sleep comfortably. Any medications with a hint of ginger or eucalyptus can also help loosen up the mucus and soothe sore areas.

  • Home Remedies

The list of natural home remedies that you can take for your chest congestion is endless. Amongst the easiest things you can do to flush the virus or bacteria out of your respiratory area is to drink a lot of water.

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Warm liquids such as teas and soup also help thin out the mucus. It is also advised that you use a humidifier and take hot showers if you are prone to chest congestion. The steam helps to loosen mucus. Adding drops of essential oils to the humidifier can help enhance the release of the mucus.

Research has also found that honey can help clear congestions and is more effective to use than traditional medicine when a spoonful is taken every few hours. Some of the food items we eat can also worsen your congestion symptoms.

You should avoid dairy and food with high salt and sugar content as they tend to increase mucus in your body. On the contrary, spicy food, ginger, turmeric and garlic should not be avoided as they can easily aid in your congestion relief.

Sleeping with your head elevated will also be a good practice as it helps to drain your mucus and prevents an overnight build up. Using several pillows can help with this. A simple gargle of warm water and a few tablespoons of salt is also effective.

When Should You See Your Doctor?

You should consider seeing your doctor if you develop a fever, have severe chest pain and trouble breathing. If you notice changes in the consistency of your mucus such as from a runny texture to thick or it has a green or yellow color, you should see your doctor as it may indicate that you have an infection.

Final Words

There are several ways to treat and prevent chest congestion that is caused by too much mucus build up. Hence, what to take for chest congestion are those that help loosen and release the mucus or phlegm. The method you choose will be based on your preference.

If you try home remedies and they don’t work, then you should try OTC medications. If these medications also don’t work, then you should visit your doctor for a prescription, especially if the congestion does not clear up on its own.