Various medical conditions such as bronchitis or cystic fibrosis may cause mucus to collect in the lungs. Congestion in the lungs may cause symptoms such as coughing and pain in the chest. The symptoms may become bothersome medications and treatments may help relieve congestion in the lungs. Not treating congestion may lead to complications such as difficulty breathing. Seek medical attention before attempting to treat mucus at home.
Use a humidifier to help increase the moisture in the air and ease difficulty breathing from the congestion. Place the humidifier in your bedroom to help keep your airway moist and secretions loose during the night.
Increase fluid intake. Getting enough fluid will help thin secretions in the lungs and make it easier to cough mucus out of the lungs.
Take deep breaths several times an hour. Breathing deeply will help open the air sacs in the lungs and will help prevent mucus blockage, according to the University of Miami Jackson Memorial Medical Center.
Cough to help get mucus out of the lungs. After extended amounts of coughing, the muscles in the abdomen may become uncomfortable. Hold a pillow over the stomach to help brace the muscles when coughing to decrease the discomfort.
Change positions. Turning on your side and sitting up can help move the mucus from one portion of the lung to another by using gravity and may help free the secretions for removal during coughing.
Get a prescription for antibiotics if a bacterial infection is causing the mucus in the lungs. An antibiotic may help clear up the chest congestion and stop your body from producing more mucus.
Take an over-the-counter cough expectorant such as guaifenesin. The medication helps loosen mucus in the lungs and makes it easier for the lungs to cough up the mucus. Guaifenesin may cause side effects such as dizziness and nausea, according to Drugs.com. You should not take a cough suppressant unless you have a dry cough that does not produce mucus.
Use a bronchodilator medication to open the airways and relieve congestion for easier breathing if a condition such as asthma causes the mucus.
Have someone perform chest physiotherapy to help clear secretions in the chest. Children with cystic fibrosis may respond well to this treatment option. Chest physiotherapy consists of clapping with a cupped hand on the chest and back over the lungs to shake the mucus from the airways, according to MedlinePlus. This allows the lungs to cough up the mucus easier.