Your doctor may also recommend doing percussion or vibration.
Percussion helps break up thick fluids in the lungs. Either you or someone else claps a hand on your ribs while you are lying down. You can do this with or without clothing on your chest:
- Form a cup shape with your hand and wrist.
- Clap your hand and wrist against your chest (or have someone clap your back, if your doctor tells you to).
- You should hear a hollow or popping sound, not a slapping sound.
- Do not clap so hard that it hurts.
Vibration is like percussion, but with a flat hand that gently shakes your ribs.
- Take a deep breath, then blow out hard.
- With a flat hand, gently shake your ribs.
Your doctor, nurse, or respiratory therapist will show you how to do this the right way.
Do percussion or vibration for 5 to 7 minutes in each area of the chest. Do this on all of the areas of your chest or back that your doctor tells you to. When you finish, take a deep breath and cough. This helps bring up any phlegm, which you can then spit out.