Sinus and chest congestion indicate a build-up of mucus in the sinus cavities and bronchial tubes. The nasal passages and bronchial cavities are swollen and inflamed, and they produce mucus.Allergies, asthma, sinusitis, bronchitis, cold, flu and respiratory infections are just a few of the reasons for congestion. Treatments vary from home remedies to over-the-counter drugs to seeing a doctor. The treatment usually depends on the cause.
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Drink more water. Water helps to relieve congestion by diluting the mucus, reports the Mayo Clinic in “Chronic Sinusitis.” Drinking plenty of fluids each day also helps to flush away some of the mucus build-up as well as germs that may be contributing to the congestion.
Use steam. Hot, moist air opens up the sinuses. A hot shower can loosen up the mucus so the congestion is broken up. Boiling a pot of water on the range also creates steam. Inhale this moist air for two to three minutes, suggests the article “Home Remedy for Sinus Infection” on the Sinus Infection Help website.
Use hot compresses. The Mayo Clinic suggests placing a warm wash cloth over the nose area. The heat will open up the sinuses and improve drainage. Use the compress a few times a day.
Drink tea. In the chapter “Congestion” from the book “Symptoms, Their Causes & Cures,” the editors of Prevention Magazine Health Books recommend drinking hot tea to liquefy the mucus. Adding honey and lemon helps.
Use decongestants. Oover-the-counter and prescription decongestants drugs reduce congestion by constricting the blood vessels. Decongestants come as sprays, pills and tablets. Use for only a few days, as longer use can lead to dependency or make the congestion worse, reports the Mayo Clinic.
Visit a doctor if congestion does not respond to decongestants or lasts a long time. A doctor can prescribe antibiotics to help with the congestion caused by bacteria. The doctor may also prescribe nasal sprays that contain corticosteroids, which reduce inflammation and swelling. In some cases, allergy shots may be helpful.