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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:

  • Controlled coughing. This type of coughing comes from deep in your lungs. It loosens mucus and moves it though your airways.
  • Postural drainage. You lie down in different positions to help drain mucus from your lungs.
  • Chest percussion. You lightly tap your chest and back. The tapping loosens the mucus in your lungs.

what.gif What does a lot of mucus do to your lungs and health?
why.gif Why should you use controlled coughing, postural drainage, and chest percussion to clear your lungs?
how.gif How do you do controlled coughing, postural drainage, and chest percussion?
where.gif Where to go from here

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerKen Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology
Last RevisedFebruary 19, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 19, 2013
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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