Are you experiencing shortness of breath, persistent coughing, yellow or green mucus, fever, muscle pain, fatigue, and/or achiness? If so, then you may be suffering from a chest infection.
Just know that you are not alone in this condition. Chest infections are common and often come after or along with the flu or common cold. Sometimes they’re mild and can go away on their own but there are some natural treatments that you can use to help speed up the process.
In this article, we’re going to cover some of the best natural chest infection treatments that can help clear up your lungs and make breathing easier. So, if you’re ready, let’s get into it.
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1. Try the Classic Lemon and Honey Solution
Sipping on a solution of lemon, honey, and warm water is an age-old home remedy that is widely used across the world. It’s useful in alleviating sore throat symptoms that are caused by repeated coughing.
A study shows that honey can reduce cough symptoms because of its antimicrobial properties. Honey also has trace amounts of ascorbic acid and Vitamin C that is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Lemon also is a rich source of vitamin C that can help strengthen the immune system to fight off a chest infection and help reduce phlegm.
For an effective DIY concoction, take a glass of warm water and mix a tablespoon each of lemon juice and honey. Drink it first thing in the morning after waking up for the best results.
2. Stay Hydrated
More than 70% of the human body consists of water which is why it’s always important to stay hydrated — especially when a chest infection is present. Dehydration causes the mucus and secretions in the lungs to thicken up. This makes it more difficult to cough them up for removal.
Also, most chest infections occur during the winter months which just so happens to be the dry season. This means that your body has to work overtime to maintain the proper levels of hydration. Drinking at least 3 liters of water per day can help ensure that the body is getting what it needs.
3. Utilize Humidity and Steam Inhalation
One reason that symptoms get worse during a chest infection is because of dryness in the nasal passages. Humidity and steam inhalation is a great way to counter this.
A humidifier produces steam and disperses it throughout the room. Then it can easily be inhaled into the airways to provide relief and loosen up secretions.
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If you’re on a budget, another quick way to inhale steam is to simply take a hot shower. The natural steam that is created offers similar benefits and occurs without you having to spend any extra of your hard-earned dollars.
4. Try Herbal Remedies from the Ginger Family
When it comes to food-based natural home remedies for a chest infection, ginger is a great nutrient to consider. The roots of a ginger plant are widely used for food and natural medicinal purposes around the world.
Ginger has a strong odor that is useful for clearing the nasal airways. A study shows that ginger has bioactive components and antioxidants that reduce oxidative damage due to stress.
It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help relax the airways in the lungs and fight against fever that occurs during a chest infection. Therefore, adding ginger to your diet, taking it in the form of juice, or drinking it in your tea can naturally help treat your body from a chest infection.
5. Use Natural Essential Oils
Naturally extracted essential oils like eucalyptus, lemongrass, rosemary, sandalwood, and even CBD oil can be effective methods to fight against chest infection. One can use these oils either by inhalation via diffusers, vaping, or by topical application in the form of natural vapor rubs.
A study shows that aromatherapy via inhalation of essential oils can help regulate upper chest infections. It works to diminish nasal congestion, and in some instances, reduce the spasms that occur during repeated coughing.
6. Remove Mucus Through Postural Drainage
One of the most common problems that occurs with a chest infection is the accumulation of mucus and phlegm in the chest and the airways. It can lead to shortness of breath, discomfort, and sometimes wheezing.
The human body uses coughing as a natural mechanism to get rid of excess mucus. But sometimes, natural coughing is just not enough. This is when postural drainage can serve as an efficient way to clear the lungs simply by adjusting your physical posture. It’s a technique that uses gravity to remove excess mucus and secretions.
You can lie down on your bed facing upwards and keep your hips above chest level by placing pillows under your legs. The mucus from the lower part of the lungs will start draining upwards so that it can be expelled by coughing.
Postural drainage is best when performed under the supervision of a Respiratory Therapist or doctor. So, depending on your condition, it’s best to check with a reliable medical professional before using this technique.
7. Take Over-the-Counter Medications
Natural remedies are great, but if the symptoms are severe or unbearable, it may be wise to consider over-the-counter medications. They come in various forms like vapor rubs, decongestants, steroids, and pain relievers.
Vapor rubs are easily available and can provide quick relief from chest congestion and cough. Just simply apply the ointment to the chest, throat, upper back, forehead, and over the nasal area for relief.
When experiencing muscle pain and headaches during a chest infection, one can take a pain reliever such as ibuprofen. It’s an anti-inflammatory drug that can provide relief for a fever along with any accompanied pain.
Similarly, to help clear the airways of mucus and excess phlegm, a decongestant would be beneficial. They come in various forms such as nasal sprays, drops, and tablets. Decongestants may come in various dosages so be cautious and always consult with a general physician about the risks and benefits of taking this type of medication.
So there you have it. To sum it all up, the natural remedies that are listed above can be beneficial in mitigating the symptoms of a chest infection. With that said, for severe conditions, always take a doctor’s advice and follow the tips mentioned above as a backup.
Apart from these remedies, preventive measures like avoiding smoking and maintaining proper personal hygiene can help as well.
Practicing social distancing is essential when any type of chest infection is present in order to prevent the chances of spreading it to your family, friends, and community. Thank you so much for reading and as always, breathe easy my friend.
The following are the sources that were used while doing research for this article:
- “Honey for Acute Cough in Children.” PubMed Central (PMC), 1 May 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4934161.
- “The Water in You: Water and the Human Body.” USGS, www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/water-you-water-and-human-body. Accessed 20 May 2020.
- “Humidifiers for Respiratory Infections: Are They Helpful or Harmful?” Nationwide Children’s, www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/700childrens/2018/01/humidifiers-for-respiratory-infections-are-they-helpful-or-harmful. Accessed 20 May 2020.
- Benzie, Iris, and Sissi Wachtel-Galor. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, Second Edition (Oxidative Stress and Disease Book 28). 2nd ed., CRC Press, 2011. [Affiliate Link]
- “Treatment of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections in Primary Care: A Randomized Study Using Aromatic Herbs.” PubMed Central (PMC), 20 May 2020, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2967840.
- “Postural Drainage.” Medline Plus, https://www.medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000051.htm. Accessed 20 May 2020.
- familydoctor.org editorial staff. “Cough Medicine: Understanding Your OTC Options.” Familydoctor.Org, 22 Apr. 2019, https://familydoctor.org/cough-medicine-understanding-your-otc-options/.