Being able to clear your lungs is extremely important for those at risk from viral infections. Here are some techniques and ideas used by respiratory specialists which can help to cleanse your lungs safely and effectively.
1. Have a hot shower
In the hospital a common way doctors help to cleanse and clear a patient's lungs is to use a nebuliser. This produces a fine mist which helps to thin out any phlegm and make it easier to clear from the airways.
Having a hot shower produces steam which works in the same way. Try coughing, using the ACBT below, and taking deep breaths whilst in the shower to help clear your lungs!
2. Buy a nebuliser
As mentioned above, Nebulisers can be used to help with airway clearance and cleansing the lungs. Nebulisers produce a fine mist of either medication or saline solution which helps to clear the lungs of phlegm which might be blocking air entry.
Nebulisers can be bought by anyone, without a license, and aren't too expensive to buy online.
Movement is one of the best ways to cleanse your airways. Not only does exercise improve your fitness and ability to use oxygen, but it also helps to move secretions (phlegm) from the lungs and airways which helps you to breathe normally.
It works by increasing the area where the lungs can expand. This is particularly important in those who are lying or sitting down throughout the day. If you are having issues with cleansing your lungs then gently moving is a good start.
4. ACBT (Active Cycle Breathing Technique)
ACBT or Active Cycle Breathing Technique is a clever technique used by respiratory therapists and doctors to help cleanse the lungs of patients who have chronic lung conditions.
It has 3 main aims:
To loosen and clear any secretions (sputum) in the lungs.
To improve ventilation into the lungs (how much oxygen can be taken up by the lungs by improving lung volume).
To improve the effectiveness of a cough to facilitate cleansing the lungs.
It can also be used to a lesser extent to reduce anxiety and panicked breathing which sometimes occurs in those who are short of breath.
It has 3 components which can be used in different combinations to focus on different goals.
Deep breathing exercises.
What's known as a 'Huff' or a Forced Expiratory Technique (FET).
In most cycles, Breathing Control is used as a pacer which is used between the other techniques to ensure the person is relaxed and not becoming too short of breath. It involves breathing in and out slowly through the nose, or out through pursed lips if the nose isn't possible. These long, slow breaths should be done until the person it relaxed and their breathing rate is slow and steady. Usually about 6 breaths are completed.
The 'Huff' or FET is used primarily to remove secretions from the lungs. It produces force which clears smaller airways. Once these are cleared it is easier to cough up secretions which have been moved to the larger airways. It is often described as the same as trying to mist up a mirror. You can either produce a short, hard 'Huff' or a long and slow 'Huff'. A combination of both is best. This technique will sometimes help somebody to cough which also cleansing the lungs.
The deep breathing exercises are used to increase lung expansion and improve the volume of the lungs. This not only helps with increasing oxygen supply to the body, but it also can cleanse the lungs by getting air behind secretions. This cleanses the lungs further and shifts secretions which are deep in the lungs.
It is performed by taking a long, deep breath in through the nose, then holding the full breath for 3 seconds. Then you slowly breath out normally without forcing the breath.
The ACBT technique can be used at the same time as having a hot shower/bath and can even be used after gentle exercise to further increase its effectiveness.
You can find more information on the Active Cycle Breathing Technique here.
This technique can be used once or twice daily to help with secretion clearance. It should be avoided if someone is wheezing from asthma but can be used in most people who need to cleanse their lungs from secretions.
5. Use a PEP device
A PEP device is a Positive Expiratory Pressure device which produces resistance when you breath out against it. This pressure helps to expand the lungs and clear secretions. Some also have a 'flutter' effect which varies the pressure and causes the secretions to be dislodged more effectively.
PEP devices are commonly used by those with lung conditions alongside the ACBT and nebulisers. All of these techniques and devices can be used in combination to improve results further.
You can purchase one type of PEP here.
These techniques and ideas are simple yet effective ways of combating any lung conditions that you may come into in these scary times. These are all tried and true ways of cleansing the lungs which are used in hospitals and clinics across the world.
If you want to understand more about your risk and how to make sure you are in the best health to fight infection, then see our blood tests here.