Chest colds, which are also known as bronchitis, are viral infections that affect the lungs. Symptoms of a chest cold include mucus congestion, chest pain, wheezing and fatigue. Whereas anyone can develop a chest cold, this infection is common in people who smoke, children and those who live with heart and lung disease. If left untreated, chest colds can worsen. Thus, it’s imperative to treat the condition at the first sign of infection.
- Suppress a cough with over-the-counter medication. Coughing is common with chest colds because of the presence of mucus. Use OTC cold medications with an added cough suppressant to help remedy a cough and clear congestion in the chest. Use medication as directed.
- Take an anti-inflammatory medication to stop aches. Coughing can produce chest and back pains, and fevers are common with infections. Choose a cold medication with a pain reliever or take a separate anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen to relieve pain.
- Drink up to help clear congestion. Mucus trapped in the chest triggers congestion, which can lead to coughing and wheezing. Drink extra fluids such as water, hot teas, soup and juices to break up mucus.
- Take off a few days to recuperate. Rest is imperative when battling a chest cold and other infections because it gives your body a chance to heal. Call in sick and take a couple of days off work or school to help your body fight the infection.
- Turn on the humidifier. Use a cool-mist humidifier (available from drugstores) to increase moisture in the air and help break up congestion in your chest.
- Apply vapor rub to your chest. Use over-the-counter vapor rub and apply a generous amount to your chest throughout the day to help clear your lungs and stop coughing from a chest cold. Use as directed.
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