A chest cold is a catch-all term to describe disease in the lower respiratory tract. Chest colds can be caused by air pollutants, smoking, an upper respiratory infection that settles lower, influenza or a bacterial infection. During a chest cold people feel congested, have some difficulty breathing and cough up phlegm from the lungs. Like other colds, there is no perfect cure, and the best way to clear a chest cold is with time. For symptom relief or shortening the length of sick time, there are a few shortcuts.
Drink plenty of liquids. Water and juices help loosen and liquefy mucus, making it easier to cough up. Hot tea loosens lung secretions, soothes an irritated throat and if caffeinated can open up airways. Peppermint and eucalyptus teas are especially good for congestion.
Eat spicy food to help loosen the mucus. Avoid dairy products, fried foods and meat that increase mucus production.
Elevate your head at night and sleep with a cool-mist vaporizer and humidifier at night. The vaporizer will help thin mucus while sleeping with an elevated head allows it to drain as you sleep.
Stop smoking. Smoking can cause a chest cold, and inhalation of chemical irritants will prolong the sickness.
Inhale steam from a vaporizer, hot shower or boiling water. Steam loosens mucus and soothes the airways. Adding two or three drops of eucalyptus oil is even more beneficial.