Chest or nasal congestion is uncomfortable but usually not serious.


Causes of congestion

The cause of a stuffy nose or chest congestion could be:

  • A minor illness such as a cold, flu, or sinus infection
  • An allergic reaction to food or to pollen, dust mites, pet dander, cigarette smoke, or some other irritant
  • An underlying health condition such as emphysema, asthma, or a tumor or growth in the nasal passages
  • Early pregnancy


Treatment for congestion

Congestion caused by a minor illness usually clears up by itself after a few days. Drink plenty of water and non-caffeinated beverages and get enough rest. The following home remedies help relieve the discomfort of congestion:

  • Propping your head up on pillows to encourage drainage
  • Humidifiers (if you have asthma, ask your doctor before using a humidifier)
  • Saline sprays
  • Herbal teas such as chamomile, ginger tea, or hot lemon and honey
  • Rubbing Vicks Vaporub, Tiger Balm or a similar ointment on the chest or under the nose

If your eyes are watery and you are sneezing, the congestion could be due to an allergy such as hay fever and may clear up with an over-the-counter antihistamine.

If the congestion does not clear up after a week, or if it keeps coming back, come in to Urgent Family Care in Sevierville or Knoxville Tennessee, to have your symptoms evaluated. Congestion could be a sign of pneumonia, bronchitis, or a sinus infection.

Antibiotics will not clear up congestion caused by a virus, but the doctor might prescribe them for a bacterial infection.

See a doctor for congestion if:

  • Your symptoms last longer than 10 days.
  • You have a high fever, or fever that lasts more than three days.
  • Your mucus is green and is accompanied by sinus pain or fever.
  • You have asthma, emphysema, or a weakened immune system.
  • You have blood in your mucus or a persistent clear discharge after a head injury.
  • Your infant has having trouble nursing or difficulty breathing.
  • Your infant is younger than 2 months and has a fever.
  • Your child has a high fever, stiff neck, seems listless, or complains of difficulty breathing.

Treatment for nasal or chest congestion is available without an appointment at Urgent Family Care in Sevierville or Knoxville, TN.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is not intended to replace the advice of a physician. It is information that is generally available. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.