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Chest Congestion


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Chest congestion is characterized by inflammation of the lower respiratory tract that causes great deal of discomfort in and around the chest. Fluid and mucus accumulate inside the lung that gives rise to several symptoms like coughing, breathing trouble, etc.


Symptoms associated with chest congestion

Chest congestion is a sensation of tightness and pain in and around the chest. Several other symptoms could be associated with it depending upon the health disorder the person is suffering from. They are:

  •  Coughing- dry cough or with mucous, blood with cough
  •  Difficulty in breathing or shortness in breath
  •  Runny nose, watery and redness in eyes, headache
  •  Wheezing sound while breathing
  •  Difficulty in swallowing
  •  Fever, chills, body ache
  •  Tiredness, weakness, dizziness – general feeling of ill health


Causes of chest congestion

The reasons behind congestion in chest range from mild flu to severe health issues like tuberculosis. People who are sensitive to cold or have weak immune system can suffer from chest congestion especially during winter seasons. The airways swell up with increase in mucous production and thus, lead to tightness in the chest.

Medical conditions that lead to congestion in chest are:

  •  Microbial infections like common cold, flu, influenza, pneumonia
  •  Bronchitis
  •  Asthma
  •  Sinus infection
  •  Pulmonary edema
  •  Allergies from gases, pollutants, and airborne agents

Chest congestion is one of the symptoms of cystic fibrosis, heart failure, and lung cancer.


When to see a doctor

Chest congestion usually goes away within 2-4 days. You must visit a doctor if the symptoms last more than this period, you have fever or experience any other unusual discomfort.


Diagnosis of chest congestion

Your doctor will evaluate your health and ask you questions regarding its onset and the symptoms. Let your doctor know if you have a medical history, have asthma or is allergic to something.

Your doctor will listen to your lungs and chest with a stethoscope. You might need to undergo chest X ray or CT scan of the chest, pulmonary function tests and blood test for further evaluation of the underlying cause.


Treatment for chest congestion

The treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms and your diagnostic test reports. If there’s no complication as such then you might not require medicines also; except for home remedies.

Common treatment options include anti congestion syrups, expectorants to cure coughs, anti allergic medicines and antibiotics for infections.

If you have been diagnosed with a major health issue like tuberculosis or asthma, then treatment will be directed towards managing the primary problem. The congestion in your chest will disappear with appropriate treatment.


Home remedies for chest congestion

There are several home remedies that work wonders on chest congestion and heal other discomforts associated with it. Most importantly, you need to quit smoking if you suffer from respiratory problems way too often. The home remedies are:

  • Drink warm liquids: Be it warm water, ginger tea, herbal teas or chicken soup, drink warm fluids as much as possible. This helps to clear away  the mucus. You can also have lemon and honey everyday in warm water.
  • Get OTC anti congestion rubs or balms. Apply them all over you neck and chest and cover with a warm cloth. This will soothe the pain and  tightness
  • Take steam and inhale peppermint or eucalyptus oil vapor. You can also dab some eucalyptus oil over a napkin and smell it throughout the day
  • Avoid getting exposed to allergens that trigger respiratory problems in you. Always cover your nose and mouth before stepping out.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: October 11, 2014