Home > Health Library > COPD: Clearing Your Lungs
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a long-term illness
that makes it hard to breathe. When you have COPD, air does not flow easily
into and out of your lungs. You may be short of breath, cough a lot, and have a
lot of mucus in your lungs. Learning to clear your lungs may help you save
energy and oxygen and may also help prevent lung infections.
There are three things you can do to
clear your lungs:
Coughing is how your body tries to get rid of mucus. But the kind of
coughing you cannot control makes things worse. It causes your airways to
close. It also traps the mucus in your lungs.
comes from deep in your lungs. It loosens mucus and moves it though your
airways. It is best to do it after you use your inhaler or other medicine.
Follow these steps for controlled coughing:
drainage means lying down in different positions to help drain mucus from your
Hold each position for 5 minutes. Do it about 30 minutes
after you use your inhaler. Make sure you have an empty stomach. If you need to
cough, sit up and do controlled coughing.
Follow these steps for
Chest percussion means
that you lightly tap your chest and back. The tapping loosens the mucus in your
Follow these steps to do chest percussion:
Current as of:
March 12, 2014
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology
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