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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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Self-Assisted Cough


If your cough is weak and if it is difficult to bring up mucus or you know you have lots of mucus, you need an assisted cough. In an assisted cough, another person pushes on your chest to help you cough. An assisted cough is done while you are sitting up in a bed or chair. If you are in a wheelchair, be sure to put the brakes on.

If you have enough arm strength, you may be able to help yourself cough:

  • Wrap both arms around your abdomen just below the rib cage.
  • Take a deep breath and hold it.
  • Cough and throw your upper body forward over your arms while hugging your abdomen.

If you are pregnant, talk with your doctor before using a self-assisted cough. Most specialists do not recommend using a self-assisted cough for pregnant women, especially in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerNancy Greenwald, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Current as ofMarch 12, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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