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Airway Clearance: Controlled Coughing

Constant, uncontrolled coughing can wear you out and make you short of breath. Sitting in the correct position and using deep breathing can help you control coughing and remove mucus more easily. Whenever you need to cough, repeat these steps until you bring up the excess mucus.

Note: Be sure to keep a box of tissues beside you and wash your hands when you are done.

Woman sitting on chair holding arms folded across abdomen. Arrow shows her inhaling through nose. Woman sitting on chair holding arms folded across abdomen, leaning forward. Two clouds near mouth show her coughing twice.

Follow These Steps for Controlled Coughing

Step 1

  • Sit on a chair with both feet on the floor. Fold your arms across your upper abdomen.

  • Take a slow, deep breath through your nose and hold for two counts.

Step 2

  • Lean forward slightly.

  • Cough twice—two short, sharp coughs. As you cough, use your arms to push on your abdomen.

  • Relax for a few seconds.

Repeat steps 1 and 2 as needed.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 1/15/2007
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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