How to Clear Lungs of Phlegm

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Phlegm is thick, sticky, stringy mucus that comes from the lungs. There are innumerable diseases that can cause production of phlegm. Individuals diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma or bronchitis will have extra phlegm in their lungs. It is important to eliminate phlegm from your lungs, since if it stays or accumulates, your airways can become clogged, causing shortness of breath. The phlegm may also become infected. By employing the method of controlled coughing, you can effectively rid your lungs of phlegm.

  • Grab a comfortable chair, sit up with your back straight and lean your head slightly forward. Place your hands on your lap and breathe normally for about 30 seconds.

  • Slowly tilt your head backward and take a slow, deep breath through your nose. Hold your breath for four seconds while your head is still slightly tilted backward.

  • Lean forward and cough once to loosen the phlegm. Cough a second time to move the phlegm up your throat. Do small, short coughs, and avoid forceful large blasts of air. Try your best not to inhale between the first and second cough. If you must, breathe in very slowly and not too deeply.

  • Wait about three seconds. Gently breathe in. Do not take a deep breath since this can cause phlegm to be pushed back into your airways and lungs, making you cough again.

  • Relax for a few seconds. Repeat steps 1 through 4 three times, or until your airways have been cleared of phlegm.

References

  • "Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Pulmonary Medicine"; Michael Hanley, MD; 2003
  • Controlled Coughing
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