Mucus In Lungs
Mucus in lungs is a fairly common symptom which is usually caused by viral infections. Mucus is nature’s way to fight against the bacteria and pathogens that might enter our bodies from time to time, usually through our mouth or nose. These tiny microbes can be harmful. They cause inflammations in the linings of our bronchial tubes. Mucus is our natural way to defend these microbes. Healthy adults are continuously secreting mucus on a daily basis. This also assists in keeping our airways moist.
However mucus in excessive amounts, when found in our lungs is not a pleasant condition. An adult breathes an average of 20,000 times in a 24 hour period. Because the mucus is blocking the bronchioles, this causes shortness of breath, or laboured breathing. We suffer from less oxygen in our bloodstream as a result. If mucus is present in the lungs, this irritating feeling will result in coughing up mucus, as we attempt to rid our lungs of this substance, and attempt to breathe normally.
Some of the common diseases that result in mucus in lungs are:
It is possible to minimise the development of mucus in the lungs by using medicines that have proven to provide relief. These are known as:
- - bronchodilators, (these dilate the small airways in the lungs to ease breathing),
- - expectorants (these soften the mucus so it is easier to cough up),
- - demulcents (these liquefy the mucus) and
- - decongestants (these dry up mucus).
Phenylephrine and Pseudoephedrine are decongestants found in most pharmacies. Ammonium chloride and Guaiphenesin are expectorants and Bromhexine is a demulcent.
Natural remedies are also effecting in reducing the volume of mucus in lungs. Inhaling steam is known to liquefy the mucus, making it easier to get rid of. Including a few drops of eucalyptus oil or menthol oil can also reduce mucus build up. Some people swear by gargling salt water because they believe the salt acts as an antibiotic, and kills germs in the mouth and throat that cause the mucus to develop. Even eating spicy foods with chili powder can assist in thinning out the consistency of the mucus.
However, prevention is better than cure. It is always advisable to stop smoking since smoking is a strong cause of lung damage. Also, if one’s work environment means an exposure to pollutants and toxins, it is a very good practice to wear a protective mask at all times. Protecting our lungs should be part of our thinking every day of our lives.