"Chest cold" refers to the most common symptoms of bronchitis--chest congestion and cough. Bronchitis or a chest cold often follows a common cold or upper respiratory infection. While the symptoms may be bothersome, keeping you from sleeping well or going to work, studies show that home care is the best remedy.
Give Your Immune System a Boost
Boost your immune system by taking vitamin C. Vitamin C stimulates the production of lymphocytes, which help your body fight bacteria and viruses. Vitamin C also acts as an anti-inflammatory and antihistamine, which is important in treating the cough associated with a chest cold. Vitamin C can be taken to bowel tolerance. This is done by taking 500mg of Vitamin C per hour until you notice gas, bloating or diarrhea.
Increase Your Fluid Intake
Drinking plenty of fluids will keep mucus loose so you can cough more productively. It will also keep your mucus membranes moist. Water, juice and broth are the best fluids to drink when you have a chest cold. Chicken broth is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve symptoms of a chest cold. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages as they can be dehydrating.
Take an Expectorant
Take and expectorant such as guaifenesin. Expectorants lubricate the respiratory tract and thins mucus, making it easier to clear your lungs when you cough. Robitussin and Mucinex are the two most common over-the-counter medications containing guaifenesin. Be sure to take these medications with plenty of fluid.
Honey for Cough
Honey is a safe and effective way to treat your cough. Studies show that honey suppresses cough as well as over the counter cough medications. Honey can be given in a glass of warm fluid, such as tea or juice. Honey can also be taken by spoon before bedtime. If you prefer an over-the-counter cough syrup, choose one that contains dextromethorphan. Delsym is a good choice and only has to be taken every twelve hours.
Breathe in Moist Air
Warm, moist air is beneficial when treating chest cold symptoms. You can accomplish this by taking a long, steamy shower or by using a warm mist humidifier. Warm mist moistens and soothes mucus membranes and relaxes dry, irritated airways. Be sure to keep your humidifier clean and the filter changed. Otherwise, it can keep you sick rather than helping you feel better.
See Your Doctor
While bronchitis usually clears on its own, sometimes it is necessary to see your physician. You should call your doctor if have the following symptoms: cough that lasts more than two weeks, difficulty breathing, high or prolonged fever or bloody phlegm.