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Airway clearance techniques may be prescribed to help move mucus up and out of the airways. Clearing the airways helps relieve shortness of breath and coughing. It also helps keep the lungs clean. Keep doing the technique until you have coughed the mucus up and out. For best results, use your rescue inhaler (if one has been prescribed) before doing these techniques.
Note: Be sure to keep a box of tissues beside you. Wash your hands when you are done.
Sit on a chair with both feet on the floor.
Take a slow, deep breath through your nose and hold for two counts.
Lean forward slightly.
Cough twice—two short coughs.
Relax for a few seconds.
Repeat the steps as needed.
To exhale, open your mouth and make a “huff” sound in your throat. (This is the same way you might breathe to clean a pair of glasses.)
Huff 2 to 3 times as you exhale.
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.
Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:
Shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing
Yellow, green, bloody, or smelly mucus
Fever or chills
Tightness in your chest that does not go away with rest or medication
An irregular heartbeat