Self-Assisted Cough

Self-assisted cough

If your cough is weak and if it is difficult to bring up mucus or you know you have lots of mucus, you need an assisted cough. In an assisted cough, another person pushes on your chest to help you cough. An assisted cough is done while you are sitting up in a bed or chair. If you are in a wheelchair, be sure to put the brakes on.

If you have enough arm strength, you may be able to help yourself cough:

  • Wrap both arms around your abdomen just below the rib cage.
  • Take a deep breath and hold it.
  • Cough and throw your upper body forward over your arms while hugging your abdomen.

If you are pregnant, talk with your doctor before using a self-assisted cough. Most specialists do not recommend using a self-assisted cough for pregnant women, especially in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

Current as of: November 20, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Nancy E. Greenwald, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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