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Lung diseases

Chest colds

04/13/2009

Question:

When you have a chest cold should you try to cough up all the phlem in your chest or just enough so that you aren`t choking on it?

Answer:

It depends on the patient. For patients with a condition called bronchiectasis, it is better to get the sputum out and we often use devices such as "flutter valves" or "chest vests" to help in that situation. For the majority of otherwise healthy patients the best advice is to cough as you need to in order to relieve discomfort but do be sure to cover when you cough.

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Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University