Clearing Lungs in Years Gone By Karen
I don’t know if you are aware or not, but there is an old fashioned way of helping to clear the lungs from icky, sticky mucus – which might be important to know, for someone who is taken ill. Let me explain.
I was three years old when I got pneumonia due to complications from having measles. It was too poorly for the doctors to send me to the hospital. They thought it better that I stayed at home as I would scream the place down if I caught a glimpse of a white coat.
So in their wisdom (and I am so grateful they had this wisdom), they decided that I would be better off at home provided my parents would nurse me twenty-four seven. Thankfully, they agreed and I am here to tell the tale.
I don’t think I would have been here today, had the Doctor decided to send me to the hospital that night. So after a long time of pacing our hallway pondering on what he should do, to go or stay, I stayed at home. Nurses came into the house to teach my parents how to drain me when breathing became difficult, and believe me, it did get awfully difficult.
My nostrils flared alarmingly as I fought for breath, my temperature soared to 105, and I was hallucinating. I was troubled because I thought there were fire engines in the room and they were ringing their bells. The bells were too loud. I was shouting for them to stop. This must have been really frightening for my poor Mum and Dad.
The nurses had told my parents that when my breathing became more laboured and my chest was heaving along with the flared nostrils, they could help me to breath a little easier by putting me across their lap face down and tilting me forward.
Then they were to make small chopping movements with the edges of their hands on my back over both sides of my rib cage, to gently knock the mucus from the sides of the lungs where it stubbornly clung so that it could be expelled. They had a bowl on the floor in front of me and they drained the mucus from me into that.
It sounds awful, it was but it saved my life along with the penicillin they pumped into me.
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For adults, you can self drain, if you can get into an angle. For example, hanging over the side of the bed or resting over one of those large exercise balls they have in gyms or pilates classes and making sure you are tilting downwards. Then let gravity and your cough drain you using a bowl on the floor to hold the mucus. With this virus (if you are unfortunate enough to get it) you will need help breathing. If you need hospitalization and they don’t have enough ICU wards or ventilators, self-draining could literally save your life.
Here is a good video which portrays the technique that I have explained: