Ease your Chest Infection with these Natural Remedies
With flu season upon us, your chance of a chest infection increases significantly.
Chest infections are fairly common, although they can be quite nasty, and often do require intervention from a doctor or a health professional. A chest infection is an infection of the lungs or large airways, and more often than not follows common illnesses, such as colds or flu.
Although symptoms of a chest infection can vary; common symptoms include; a chesty cough, where you might cough up a green or yellow coloured mucus; wheezing or a shortness of breath; chest pain or a discomfort when you breathe in and out; a high temperature, which exceeds thirty eight degrees or more; a headache; aching muscles; and tiredness. Despite being unpleasant, typically, these symptoms will clear up by themselves in a week or so, although a cough could linger for up to three weeks. There are also some natural ways in which you can help to improve your symptoms too.
Like we have previously mentioned, symptoms of a chest infection can vary from person to person and some can be more severe than others, so if you experience any of the following symptoms, it is essential that you make an appointment to see your GP, as it could be a sign of a more severe condition, such as pneumonia.
Symptoms to look out for: a feeling of unwellness, coughing up mucus, coughing up blood or bloody mucus, a cough that lasts for more than three weeks. If you are pregnant, over 65 or suffer from other longterm health problems, your symptoms could be more severe and require more urgent attention.
In some cases, natural remedies can be useful against a chest infection, so, here are some of the best ways that you can help yourself when you have the symptoms of a chest infection.
Drink plenty of warm fluids:
Keeping hydrated when you have a chest infection is very important. This is because it will help to thin the mucus which is associated with a chest infection, and will make it easier to bring the mucus up when you cough.
However; studies have also suggested that drinking warm beverages can help to bring relief from congestion and other symptoms like sneezing, coughing, a sore throat, and chills. Good drinks to try include; broths, decaffeinated tea; herbal teas; and even warm water.
Steam is a great natural remedy and is an excellent way of helping to loosen the mucus, to reduce the congestion that is associated with chest infections. It is recommended that you use a cool-mist humidifier or a steam vapouriser.
If you are struggling to sleep at night because of the congestion, it helps to keep the air moist, this can be done with a humidifier. The windows and doors in your room should be kept closed in order to maximise the effects of the humidifier.
Of course, one of the easiest ways to benefits from steam inhalation is to fill a large bowl with hot water, before leaning over the bowl and draping a towel above your head, ensuring that it covers the bowl to trap the steam. Gently inhale, in order to loosen the mucus. Having a hot bath or shower with the windows and door shut is also another effective way of inhaling steam.
Gargle with saltwater:
Gargling with a simple mix of hot water and salt is an effective and natural way of removing the phlegm and mucus from the back of your throat, which will help to ease symptoms.
Simply add, just half a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water, and stir until the salt has completely dissolved. Gargle this mixture and allow it to sit at the back of the throat for a moment, before spitting it out.
This can be repeated several days as needed, until you find some relief.
Honey is one of the most effective natural remedies and is used to treat many different ailments and illnesses thanks to the fact that it is believed to have great antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Research has suggested that honey is also effective at treating upper respiratory tract infections in children, providing them with better relief from symptoms when compared with the standard medication that is normally offered with chest infections. It should be noted though, that honey should not be given to children under the age of 1.
You should aim to consume one tablespoon of honey every three to four hours until you get relief from your symptoms.
Keep your head elevated when you sleep:
Quite often, particularly if your child is suffering from a chest infection, they might have trouble sleeping because the excess of mucus that is found in the chest, therefore it is advisable to try and keep their head slightly more elevated when asleep. This will encourage mucus drainage, which will help to prevent the discomfort, and reduce the coughing that they might be suffering from.
This can be done easily by placing some extra pillows underneath their head and neck for extra support.
Make sure that you are eating the right things:
Certain food and herbs are really effective at helping to loosen the mucus and ease breathing, so it is important that you are eating the right things if you have been diagnosed with a chest infection.
Some of the best foods to eat, and will help to not only reduce the buildup of mucus, but will also help to alleviate other symptoms, such as cold symptoms and coughs. These include; garlic; ginger; lemon; and certain spices, including; ground cayenne and chilli pepper.
On top of this, research has also suggested that the following food items can also be effective at treating respiratory problems, and reduce mucus; berries; gingseng; guava; echinacea; licquorice root; pomegranate; and zinc.