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Chest congestion is a symptom of cough and cold and may also happen when you have other infections related to the nasal and bronchial tracts. It can erupt into potentially fatal diseases like pneumonia and bronchitis, if not treated on time. Mostly, patients should look at fixing the problem at home before it develops into a full-fledged infection or hazard.
Here are a few home remedies for clearing chest congestion:
- Gargling: A glass of moderately warm water with a teaspoon or two of salt should be used for gargling at least twice a day as this can help in flushing out the bacteria that are present in the throat. It can also clear the mucus from the airways and help in clearing the chest to a great extent. Take care not to drink the water. Tip your head back, gargle and then spit it out into the sink.
- Steam Sessions: Whether it is a hot bath or a mug of your favourite piping hot beverage, there is nothing that a good steam session cannot fix. Take care to avoid exposure to a sudden dip in temperature after you step out of the bath or the shower stall, as this can worsen the situation and lead to a fever. Also, you can have mugs of green tea seasoned with peppercorns, ginger and basil. This concoction will gradually clear the chest and air passages. Taking steam with the addition of eucalyptus oil to steaming hot water, is also a good idea. Cover your head with a towel or a sheet as you inhale - and don't forget to be careful not to spill or tip the vessel.
- Elevation: Keeping your head in an elevated position as you lie down will help in keeping the air passages relatively free of mucus build up which can also eventually lead to chest congestion. Elevation can also help you sleep better.
- Yoga: Breathing exercises for at least ten to fifteen minutes can help in clearing all the passages starting from the nose to the chest.
- Humidifier: Using a humidifier when you sleep can lend some much needed moisture to the air, which can be particularly helpful if you have contracted the chest congestion during the cold and dry wintery months which can lead to heavy, hacking coughs. The use of a humidifier will help you in breathing better as you sleep. You can also add some nasal congestion medication to the slots so that it spreads in the air as you sleep.
For persistent problems and coughing that is accompanied by fever, you must see a doctor for more focused diagnosis and treatment.