How do I… loosen and clear mucus?
Mucus collecting in the airways is often a problem for aspergillosis patients, causing difficulties with breathing and even infections. Here are some tips and techniques to help you loosen and clear mucus.
Home remedies and devices: Home remedies for loosening chest gunk include nebulised 7% saline and drinking pineapple juice.
You could also fill a bowl with hot water (not too hot!), put a towel over your head and the bowl, and gently inhale the steam – this can help loosen mucus at the back of the nose and throat. A steam inhaler mug might be a more convenient alternative to this method.
Try an Acapella valve – a small device that helps you clear mucus out of your lungs.
Medication: Expectorants such as guaifenesin (in most over-the-counter cough syrups) or bromhexine (Bisolvon) bring more hydration into the lungs, lubricating the airways and making the mucus easier to cough up.
If nothing else works, your doctor may be able to prescribe you a mucolytic called carbocysteine (called Mucodyne in the UK), which breaks down chemical bonds within the mucus to make it less viscous.
When in a clinic you often need to produce sputum for testing, this video explains a technique that is widely used and is the standard technique at the National Aspergillosis Centre, Manchester, UK. It may be helpful at home too