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Thread: Can't get rid of phlegm

  1. #1
    Senior Member landrover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Philadelphia, Pa

    Can't get rid of phlegm

    I have what I believe to be an upper resp. infection, for which I've been taking mucinex for to loosen the secretions. However, no matter how powerful a cough (though not very) I am able to muster, I can't seem to bring up any of the secretions that sound/feel like they are in my throat. It sounds like gargling when I breath out. I don't feel short of breath, and don't have any other symptoms. If I can't bring them up, will they eventually dry up, or is it imperative that I somehow get them up?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Orlando, FL
    To cough hard I lean forward in my char, grab on to the down tubes, breath in as much as possible and cough out as hard as possible. Plus, I keep Halls handy all the time, and a bottle Vicks handy; maybe rub it below your nostrils, and on your neck.

    Good luck.

    Being sick sucks. Being sick and crippy is a whole other challenge.
    Rollin' since '89. Complete C8

  3. #3
    Best to get them up, as mucous retained in your respiratory tract can both interfere with oxygen exchange and serve as a media for bacterial infection on top of any viral infection that you may already have (flu, a cold, etc.).

    Are you using assisted cough techniques (assuming you have someone to assist you)? Are you well hydrated (dehydration can cause much thicker mucous which is harder to cough up)?

    Guaifenesin is the active ingredient in Mucinex. It is an expectorant. It works by thinning and loosening mucous in the airways, clearing congestion, and making breathing easier.

    I would encourage you to see your physician if this is not improving. You may need a chest Xray and examination to be sure that you don't have pneumonia or bronchitis that may need different treatment.

    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  4. #4
    Is it possible to get hold of a cough assist machine to use for a period of time? With me being vented I can't get secretions up very easily and I can have invasive trache suction or regular cough assist machine. I prefer to lie on my side and suffer the cough assist rather than a pipe down my throat.

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