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Postsurgical Coughing

Deep coughing helps keep your lungs clear. If you’ve had surgery, it will help you get better faster. It may also prevent a lung infection. If you have lung problems, it will help you breathe better. Follow the steps below.

Woman holding pillow against her incision

Woman breathing in slowly through nose

Woman coughing

Step 1

  • Sit on the edge of a bed or a chair. Or lie on your back with your knees slightly bent.

  • Lean forward slightly. Hold a pillow firmly against your incision with both hands.

  • Breathe out normally.

Step 2

  • Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose.

  • Then breathe out fully through your mouth. Repeat.

  • Take a third deep breath. Fill your lungs as much as you can.

Step 3

  • Cough 2 or 3 times in a row.

  • Try to push all of the air out of your lungs as you cough.

  • Then relax and breathe normally.

  • Repeat as directed.

 

Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Akin, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRC
Last Review Date: 12/5/2012
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.