Phlegm might be considered gross for most people and I don’t blame them. But technically, phlegm is mucous that has became congealed. Phlegm is also different from other mucous because it comes from the lungs and not from the nasal passages. For people with cystic fibrosis this is nothing new. Due to their respiratory complications, cystic fibrosis sufferers develop a cough that often times include phlegm.
There are several things that will help you decrease or stop this phlegm for a short period of time. One of the most effective treatments is medical treatment and these include:
Chest physiotherapy with chest percussion and postural drainage, performed for 20 minutes two or three times daily and sometimes much more frequently.
Although there is another alternative to this, Mucolytic agents may be prescribed by your doctor to help thin secretions.
You can also ask your doctor about humidification in the house you are living in. The reason you are asking your doctor about this, is because sometimes lots of humidity may lead to bronchospasms in people with cystic fibrosis.
Other things that help reduce phlegm are easier but unfortunately most people don’t do them especially if the sufferer is a young person. These include:
Take adequate intake of fluids which most of the time is 3 to 4 liters a day.
Learn how to cough effectively. Coughing sounds easy but a lot of people don’t know how to do it and the way they do it adds more strain on their lungs.
Try to stay in a cool room with a temperature of about 21 degrees Celsius (70F)
Quit smoking. Yes, it does sound to obvious but it’s surprising how many people carry on smoking, even after being diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Lung infections are very common when you have cystic fibrosis and smoking just adds to it.
If you have sinus problems or a simple cold or flu ask your doctor to prescribe a nasal spray or decongestant. This will not only make you feel better but also helps you to reduce phlegm.
Expectorants (cough medicine) are supposed to loosen the phlegm and their aim is to make you cough. Make sure you are taking an expectorant and not a cough suppressant.
Always avoid taking throat lozenges and cough suppressants. These will only suppress your cough and will allow more phlegm to build up.
Disgusting as it may seem, never swallow your phlegm back. You want to get rid of it, so why swallow it back. Carry tissues with you in case you are out in public and need to spit out.
Other things include aerobic exercises, especially walking. Alternative medicine like acupuncture is also said to help but is only good for people who are not skeptical about this kind of practice.