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To have mucus or not to have mucus that is my question

  • By Fred B

    I go to a pulminary rehab program that is about to “officially ” end. In this program I have been told two different things about mucus. From from My pulmonary doctor another from my pulmonary rehab technicians. My Doctor says… If there is no mucus for goodness sakes dont go looking for it” My rehab tech says ” yes you must get it out”. In the mornings lately there seems to be very little to ” bring up” hence no concerns. However at times there seems to be very thick mucus that i cant seem to get up without a whole bunch of hurtful and I believe harmful technic and seem to be almost not worth the effort as in minimal amount of mucus(about the size of the tip of my finger) for the effort to “get” . Any personal feed back either way would be appreciated and thank you for your time. I have copd stage three.

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  • By Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT Moderator

    Hi Fred B and thanks for sharing your own personal experiences with mucus. While you may get replies from our community members there are still some aspects of COPD that we can talk about. COPD can affect different people in different ways and can even vary from time to time for the same patient. That seems to be what you’re experiencing. I thought you might find it helpful to look over this material from Mary Ultes, one of our contributors, who provides some insight on the variability of COPD: https://copd.net/living/different-levels-same-devils/ Next, this article speaks to COPD and mucus: https://copd.net/symptoms/mucus/ And finally, I thought you might find this article about COPD and the cough to be interesting and informative: https://copd.net/symptoms/persistent-cough/

    If the symptoms you describe (thick mucus that is difficult to cough up at times) persist or even worsen, it may be time to check back with your physician. A change in your medication regimen might make you feel more comfortable.

    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

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  • By Janet Plank Moderator

    Hi Fred, it’s great that you were able to do pulmonary rehab. At Stage 3 it can make a difference.

    The start of the day definitely can make a difference on how your day will go. Some people might wake up needing to cough mucus up, while others might not notice a need until after they have their cup of coffee or tea. Maybe not even then. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to help thin mucus. As Leon mentioned, we are all different.

    Since you are Stage 3, are you experiencing more mucus than you did? Personally, if I don’t have a need to cough or don’t feel mucus, I won’t cough. However, when I feel mucusy or raspy, there is a need to get it out and I will as soon as I can. To not get that out can lead to infection or pneumonia. Sometimes it’s difficult to cough your mucus out, there can be a mucus plug, which is a very thick mucus that’s acting as a plug and keeping the mucus in the lungs. You will know that you need to cough that out.

    When doing the harder coughing, keep a pillow or something handy that you can hold across your abdomen and ribs when you cough, so that you don’t injure muscles or even fracture your ribs. If you have nothing to use as protection, protect yourself by crossing your arms across your abdomen and ribs and cough into your sleeve on your shoulder.

    There are different methods of coughing that you can do to help get that out as provided by the National Jewish Hospital: https://www.nationaljewish.org/healthinfo/conditions/copd-chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease/lifestyle-management/bring-up-mucus/. An acapella is mentioned also. That can help a lot to cough and clear your lungs. There is also a Pneumatic Vest which can help clear the lungs. If you are thinking of the acapella or pneumatic vest, you would needs a doctors order or prescription. Also talk with him/her about the possibility of taking mucinex or other type of expectorant.

    I hope you get many days where mucus isn’t an issue, yet always be prepared.

    Janet Plank

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  • By buckybuck

    I rarely need to cough.
    But I do have a lot of nasal congestion..endless, almost. I am on 02 24/7 and still quite active. The mucus is worse, of course, when I exert and am short of breath. I figure it is what it is. any suggestions?

    Ann

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  • By Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT Moderator

    Hi buckybuck and thanks for your comment. As you are no doubt aware, COPD can affect everyone differently. While you may get feedback from our community members, I thought you might find it helpful now to look over this article on mucous: https://copd.net/symptoms/mucus/
    If your symptoms persist or worsen, you may want to contact your physician can reassess your condition and perhaps adjust your treatment regimen. Please check back with us and let us know how you’re doing.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

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  • By buckybuck

    Sorry, te article doesn’t speak to my problem. Mine is all nasal. It happens whenever I exert, move around, do something. My nose is like Mt, Vesuvias sometimes and I can feel it in my sinuses. Of course, the 02 will dry everything so that it gets clogged up and then there’s another reason that I can’t breathe. Just wondered if anyone had a helpful suggestion. Yes, I have asked my doctor and have tried some otc meds like Mucinex which helps minimally.

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  • By Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT Moderator

    Hi (again) buckybuck. While others in the community may provide you with their own persona experiences, we appreciate you clarifying your specific situation. Since, as you said, this is ‘all nasal’, you may want to see a specialist (ear, nose and throat physician) who can provide a work up of this condition. Perhaps you will find it helpful to look over this article on sinusitis and upper respiratory infections: https://asthma.net/triggers/viral-infections/ It is from our sister site: asthma.net

    As for the dryness when using supplemental oxygen, some people remedy that issue by adding a simple humidifier to their oxygen. You can inquire of your physician and/or oxygen supply company.

    Warm regards,
    Leon (site moderator)

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  • By buckybuck

    Leon,

    Yes, I could see a specialist, but I doubt their’s is the expertise I need. The mucus from my nose only happens when I exert and become SOB, so it would appear to be COPD related. However, I seem to be singular in my experience, so I guess I will get no help here.
    Your link took me to asthma and virus related problems and I have neither of those.
    As for the humidifier attachment to my 02 concentrator, I have asked about that and was told that you need to be on a higher level, above 2 but I don’t know for sure which one, for this to operate. I think I will ask again next time I order.

    So thanks for your input. I appreciate the effort.

    buckybuck3@aol.com

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