Home Health Airway Clearance Techniques

Airway Clearance Techniques

Lungs have the function to make mucus which helps to protect them from germs. However, over time our lungs collect a lot of mucus. If built up in the lungs, it can block the airways and have an extremely negative effect on the health, such as causing infections, inflammations or even swelling of the lungs and lowering their proper function. Therefore, mucus has to be released and cleared out from the lungs.

People who have lungs diseases have to be twice as careful about mucus and make sure they remove it from their organisms. There are a few techniques to release mucus and clear up your airways. Here are our suggestions on how to do it effectively and prevent yourself from serious health issues. These are the airway clearance techniques that will help you in this situation.


Coughing is the most basic reflex we have when it comes to clearing our lungs. It helps release mucus through airflow. Depending on the mucus itself, sometimes it can’t be cleared though coughing only.


Huffing is a technique for clearing mucus from the lungs by inhaling deeply and then exhaling forcefully. To apply this technique, start by huffing softly and gradually increase the intensity of breathing. Do this out of the window to allow a more clear stream in your airways. Compared to coughing, huffing is more effective and also less exhausting.

Active Cycle Of Breathing

Active cycle of breathing is another airway clearance technique. Start breathing normally with your lower chest. Make sure your upper chest and shoulders are relaxed. Then start taking deeper breaths and hold for three seconds. This helps more air to reach behind the mucus, which otherwise can’t be released properly. Depending on every individual’s own needs, the process can involve vibration or huffs of different lengths.

Chest Physiotherapy

Chest physiotherapy is another method to release mucus from lungs. It can be performed in two ways – manually or with a device for airway clearance. The manual technique uses chest percussion and vibrations. It involves clapping on the back or the chest in order to loosen up thick mucus. As for the airway clearance devices used in the process, they can be used at home.

Postural Drainage

Postural drainage is another popular airway clearance method. It is often used together with chest physiotherapy. The technique uses gravity to help clearing out mucus from the airways. There are over 12 different positions through which postural clearance works. It depends on the exact affected area in the lungs that have to be cleaned.

Positive Expiratory Pressure

Positive expiratory pressure is another technique. It uses a device, which helps to change the pressure in the lungs and in this way to loosen mucus. To perform this procedure, the person has to be sitting in a straight posture and apply the mouthpiece part of the device, making sure the lips seal it tight. Then take deep breaths in and out for as long as possible.


Expectorants are medicines, which are used for loosening and releasing mucus from the lungs. The pills make coughing more effective, as more mucus is cleared out. To buy them, it’s not required to have a doctor’s prescription.

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