Ways & How

How to Reduce Phlegm in Lungs

How to Reduce Phlegm in Lungs

A congested chest makes breathing uncomfortable. It's also caused by a variety of things, so it's important to understand the root causes first, before you can figure out how to reduce phlegm in lungs.

  1. First, determine the cause of the excessive mucus production in your lungs. The key here is to recall the events that led to the chest congestion. Did you acquire it after being exposed to people with upper respiratory tract infections or illnesses? Did it come about after years of smoking? Or is it because you were exposed to something you know you're allergic to, such as pollen, dust, certain fragrances, food, or even medicines? To ensure you identify the cause correctly, see a doctor.

    Important note: The body constantly produces mucus to stop very small particles from entering the lungs. The increased production or thickening of phlegm is a sign that an irritant or illness causing agent is invading your body. And you need a doctor to identify the cause.

  2. It is possible that certain foods are causing the excessive phlegm production.



    If you feel healthy and don't have a history of allergies or upper respiratory tract infections, it's possible that the food you’re eating is the culprit. Dairy products, such as milk, ice cream, cheese, and yogurt, can thicken mucus. However, according to Mayo Clinic, it does not increase its production, which is what some people mistakenly believe.

  3. Aside from milk products, beer and red wine can also thicken mucus, so avoid these if your chest is congested.

  4. Cigarette smoke and exposure to certain chemicals may also thicken phlegm due to nasal inflammation. Deciding to quit smoking is a wise decision if you seriously want to reduce chest congestion.

  5. If you are constantly exposed to chemicals or strong smells due to the nature of your work or your location, consider using a face mask to block and filter out the substances. You may also want to improve the ventilation in your workplace or residence by opening your windows or using an air purifier or conditioner.

  6. Excessive mucus production accompanies some allergic reactions. Avoid food or substances you're allergic to so you breathe easy. If you're not sure about this, consult your doctor who may refer you to an allergologist who can conduct an allergy test for you. You may also be prescribed medication that will control the allergic reaction and tame the phlegm.

  7. Caffeinated products, like coffee, soft drinks, chocolates, and tea, can cause dehydration, which leads to increased mucus production. Consider substituting your beverages with fresh fruit juice, or better yet, water so you thin out the mucus and breathe/swallow more easily. Spicy food can also trigger increased mucus production, so think twice before eating some of chili-laden food.

  8. If you have cough, colds, or an upper respiratory tract infection, let the mucus out by carefully blowing on one nostril at a time or coughing out the phlegm as soon as you feel the urge to do so. Keep hydrating yourself by sipping on water from time to time to clear the congestion and reduce the thickness of the mucus.

  9. You can also use steam to loosen the phlegm. You can do with a hot shower or by holding your face over a steaming bowl of hot water mixed with a few drops of eucalyptus oil. You can also use a nasal rinse, which you can get at a local pharmacy.

Don't cut out dairy food completely from your diet in your efforts to figure out how to reduce phlegm in lungs so you don't risk depriving yourself of essential nutrients. Instead, alternate these milk-based products with other foods so you still get the nutrients you need without triggering mucus issues as much.

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