How to relieve chest congestion.

The common cold can lead to uncommon misery, especially when the nastiness hunkers down in your lower respiratory track, otherwise known as a chest cold or chest congestion. A wet cough, shortness of breath, a feeling of some heaviness or tightness in your chest or lungs, and perhaps fever or chills can all be symptoms of a chest cold. Read below for more information.


Chest congestion results when a viral or bacterial intruder or other irritant (pollen or allergens, for example) gets breathed in and reaches your airways, causing inflammation of your bronchi and bronchioles (the small airway passages around the lungs). The respiratory system responds by producing mucus to protect the airways and to ward off the infection or irritant. The built up mucus leads to coughing and uncomfortable heaviness/tightness in the chest that comes with the congestion. Because your lungs have to work harder, your energy is depleted and this leaves you feeling and sounding pretty rotten.

Though chest colds are common for people of all ages in all seasons (particularly winter), the elderly and infants are more susceptible, and those who smoke or who have COPD or other lung diseases are at higher risk of respiratory infections. And while viral chest colds usually resolve on their own after a few days and plenty of coughing, if shortness of breath or fever persists, see your doctor, because chest congestion can be a sign of, or turn into, a much more serious condition such as pneumonia. If the respiratory infection is bacterial (and not viral), your doctor may need to prescribe an antibiotic.

Fortunately, there are ways to relieve the congestion and make a chest cold a bit more bearable while you are waiting it out. Drinking plenty of non-alcoholic fluids is essential to help keep you hydrated and to thin the mucus; warm liquids such as hot herbal tea can be particularly soothing. Use a cool mist vaporizer to keep the air as humid as possible, especially at night while you sleep. And a steamy shower or bath can both help you relax, sooth aches and pains, and loosen the chest congestion. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help reduce pain or fever, a decongestant can decrease nasal congestion and an expectorant such as those found in Mucinex® products will help thin and loosen the mucus and make your cough more productive.

For more information on how Mucinex® can help with your chest congestion symptoms, visit

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