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Respiratory Therapist/How to get rid of excess secretions?


Hi :)

I'm hoping you can tell me how I can get rid of excess secretions, without the use of suction, saline nebs etc ;) I'm in my 20's and have no pre-existing conditions although I am a light smoker. I had a bad cold that started five days ago, I had a bad cough, sore throat, sneezing etc. Four days later I was no longer sneezing and felt pretty much back to normal, except I have a lot of excess mucous which I'm not sure how to get rid of. It's actually affecting my breathing. During the cold I had a dry cough but now I have developed a productive cough. The problem is that I cannot expectorate, simply because the idea is just so grosse to me that I cannot physically do it (I can't even spit for the same reason). Is there anything else that I can do/any meds that would help?
Also would you expect that kind of congestion simply from a cold? I doubt I had flu as I've recently been vaccinated, do colds have the capacity to become bronchitis etc?

Thank you for reading, I look forward to your reply

Both nasal and chest congestion are common with both a cold (rhinovirus) or flu, as well as general aches and pains. For 3-4 days, try drinking plenty of decaffeinated tea (caffeinated tea generally can have a diuretic effect and dry your system up, making secretions thicker) and taking the over-the-counter medicine Mucinex. As for the dosage of the Mucinex, refer to the medication's box in regard to your age, gender, etc.  I hope this helps!

Best of health to you,

Larry, RRT

Respiratory Therapist

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Larry W. Wical, BA-RRT


I CAN answer: ALL questions and queries related to the following topics... - Oxygen - Asthma - COPD - Bronchitis - Emphysema - Pneumonia (Viral/Bacterial) - Tuberculosis (TB) - SARS - Influenza (Flu) - Vaccines - Pulmonary Embolism - Pleural Effusion - Atelectasis - Inhalation injuries (burns, chemicals, etc.) - PFTs - Cardiovascular health - Sleep Apnea - BiPap/CPAP - Ventilators ("Respirators") - Aspiration injuries - Thoracic injuries - Lung contusions - Tracheal injuries - Artificial Tracheostomy - Secretions - Prolotherapy/Regenerative Injection Therapy (RIT): A patient's experience/perspective - General health and fitness I CANNOT answer: Questions that vary too far from my primary scope of pulmonary and cardiovascular care and fitness. I promise to be open and honest about my knowledge of submitted topics, and will always openly provide my personal as well as professional feedback as it relates.


Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT, RCP) since 2005. I have worked primarily in the acute care, critical care, burn care and home care settings.

NBRC - National Board of Respiratory Care AARC - American Association of Respiratory Care

-All About Kids Magazine -The Clermont Sun -Cincy Sports & Fitness Magazine -Many online Fitness and Health blogs and "webazines"

- B.A. in Communication (1997) - A.A.S. in Respiratory Science (2005) - RRT license (state of OH, KY and IN) - Basic Life Saving (BLS) - Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) - Advanced Burn Life Support (ABLS)

Past/Present Clients
Currently work in the city's largest academic/research hospital.

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