Because it can be difficult to cough up mucus—especially with a weakened cough reflex—it is important to drink enough fluids to keep your mucus thin and loose. Check with your physician to determine how much fluid you should drink daily to keep your cough effective. Humidify your home—or at least the rooms you sleep in or where you spend most of your time. Keep your humidifiers clean, as they are a possible source of infection. Do not smoke, as smoking takes the moisture out of your mucus and makes the mucus thicker.
Exercises to Help Control your Coughing
Uncontrolled coughing can make you short of breath; try to control it as much as possible. Don’t forget to discuss with your physician which type of coughing exercise is best for you. Perform these coughing maneuvers whenever you feel the need to cough or as instructed by your physician. A good controlled cough is especially helpful when you first get up in the morning and about an hour before you go to bed Remember to sit up straight in a chair when attempting these coughing exercises, and have a tissue handy.
- Sit straight on a hard-backed, stable chair and relax.
- Take in 2-3 deep breaths through your nose and exhale slowly through pursed lips.
- Fold your arms across your abdomen.
- Take in a comfortable, deep breath through your nose.
- Lean forward, pressing your arms against your abdomen, and cough while leaning forward.
- Relax; rest 5-10 minutes.
- Perform again if needed.
- Sit up straight and relax.
- Take in 2-3 breaths through your nose and exhale slowly through pursed lips.
- Take in a moderately-deep breath, hold it, and make a “huff” sound in your throat.
- When you feel comfortable with this exercise, try to “huff” 3-4 times while exhaling.