Dear Ask The Doctor: I was diagnosed with pneumonia two days ago by an Emegencey Room doctor. I had it a day or two days before being diagnosed. Now the phglem that is in my lungs is so thick that I cannot couph it up and breathing is difficult especially when I am trying to sleep. (prone position) I drink massive amounts of water, I have antibiotics and 2 types of puffer inhalients but nothing is breaking up the phglem. What can I do? I've also tried steam.
Dear Patient: It is important to get rid of the thick phlegm because it may continue to build making it even more difficult to breathe, and the excess phlegm could act as a pool for an infection. You may use expectorants - a group of drugs that loosen the thick cough from the lung walls, and mucolytics that help thin out the phlegm for better results. Both of these types of drugs are available either over the counter or by prescription. Another effective method is the use of chest physiotherapy technique like tapping in order to loosen the phlegm along with the use of gravity to help drain the cough. Try using different positions while coughing, such as sitting and leaning forward with your feet firmly flat on the ground.