Some mucus in the lungs is normal and necessary for a healthy chest and keeping dirt and other unwanted particles from entering the lungs. However, certain diseases, from a minor cold to much more serious cystic fibrosis, can cause too much mucus production and make clearing the lungs--and even breathing--difficult. Difficulty clearing mucus can lead to infections in the airways. Follow this advice from the Salisbury Hospital to learn how to clear mucus from the lungs and when to consult a physician.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Take gentle, relaxed breaths. Breathe normally, not too deeply, relaxing your shoulders and chest. This will help calm your body and get control of your breathing.
Breathe deeply. Take in a slow, long breath, placing your hand on your belly to feel the rise and fall of your breath. You should not rush these breaths, but let them happen at a slow, natural pace.
Huff. With a wide-open mouth, as though you were blowing hot air onto a mirror to watch it cloud up, huff gently and long enough to produce a crackling sound.
Combine these three breaths in a pattern, called a breathing cycle, growing to a more intense cough: Relaxed breathing, deep breaths, relaxed breathing, huffing, relaxed breathing, then cough if you need to.
Repeat the breathing pattern, clearing mucus with each one, until two entire breathing cycles don't produce any mucus.
Tips and warnings
- For some, clearing the lungs of mucus is easier than for others. Give yourself enough time and enough breathing cycles to clear your lungs fully.
- If you have a minor cold producing mucus, it can be helpful to breathe in steam (carefully) to help break up the mucus.
- You should also discuss clearing the lungs with your doctor. Based on your condition, she may have advice on a good position for you to take while clearing your lungs.
- If you are producing a lot of mucus on a regular basis and have not seen a doctor, it is important to consult a physician to make sure that a minor mucus-causing infection is not a sign of a more serious illness.
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