Cystic Fibrosis: Ways to Clear the Airways - Topic Overview
cystic fibrosis can get lung infections and other
respiratory problems because of the buildup of thick, sticky
mucus that traps bacteria.
Talk to your doctor or respiratory therapist about airway-clearance methods and medicines that you can use to help get rid of mucus. Your doctor or respiratory therapist may suggest some things that you or your child can do at home to help clear mucus
from the lungs. These include:
Deep breathing exercises, to help with
breathing out completely and to strengthen the muscles used for breathing.
Directed cough, to help clear mucus by breathing and coughing in
Exercise. Aerobic exercise can
improve how well the lungs work. Ask your doctor about what kinds of exercise you or
your child should do.
Other methods use mechanical equipment to
help clear mucus from the lungs. For example:
High-frequency chest compression vest. This
inflatable vest receives high-frequency pulses of air from a generator. The
vibration helps to loosen and clear the mucus from the lungs. This method can be done without the help of another person.
Positive expiratory pressure (PEP). A PEP device creates a constant pressure when you or your child breathes through a mask or mouthpiece. This
pressure keeps the airways open, so you or your child can cough up the mucus.
Flutter. This device looks like a pipe
and has a steel ball inside. When you or your child exhales through the
flutter, the ball moves and causes the airways to vibrate. This movement is thought to help loosen and clear mucus from the lungs.
Acapella device. This is a small, handheld device that uses magnetic force to
help loosen mucus.