10 Ways to keep Lungs Clear and Safe

by | Aug 28, 2014 | Health, Mens Health, Women's Health | 0 comments

Our blood requires oxygen for various body functions, and the lungs manage the oxygen supply. When we breathe, dust and debris also settle in, blocking the airways. Also, the air inhaled should be moist. For this purpose, the lining of the lungs continually produces mucus. Looking after the chest and keeping the lungs clear is extremely important to prevent infection in the lungs. If the sputum is not cleaned regularly, the lungs work below capacity, and we get less oxygen. This phenomenon is often termed restrictive lung disease, which restricts lung expansion, resulting in decreased lung volume and inadequate blood oxygenation (blood carrying less oxygen). Any infection or inflammation can block the airways, making breathing difficult and leading to a life-threatening disease called cystic fibrosis. The mucus should be expelled from the lungs to avoid such problems.

Lung infections and diseases can easily spread from one person to another. Personal hygiene should be maintained to prevent cross-infection, e.g., washing hands, keeping your nose and mouth covered when coughing/sneezing, and disposing of used tissues and sputum pots in appropriate waste bins.

Ways to keep lungs clear and safe

Keeping the airways and lungs clean involves various techniques, mostly focusing on positioning while expectorating and maintaining a healthy body to prevent blockages. Some of the techniques used over the past years are: –

  1. Hydration is a must. Drinking 10-12 glasses of water daily is important to help clear mucus, as water helps mobilize the mucus and expels the excess quantity out of the body. Steam therapy is also used to treat inflamed air sacs. In this technique, a blast of steam is fired through the tube into the targeted lung tissue, scalding the lungs and relieving patients with breathing disorders.
  1. Deep Breathing To make the airways clean and the lungs perform to the fullest, it is important to expel lung toxins. Deep breathing helps in getting more oxygen into the blood. With shallow breathing, the lungs utilize only a small fraction of the lung capacity of 6 liters of air; we typically inhale much less. Shallow breathing lets stagnant air and pollutants accumulate in the depths of the lungs and may lead to fatigue, respiratory sluggishness, and diminished tissue function. Therefore, it is necessary to take deep breaths.
  1. Positioning—There are techniques where different body positions are used to help drain secretions from the lungs. One such technique is to sit up straight but bend slightly forward with elbow support.
  1. Tipping Do not lie down when coughing – Another positioning technique involves lying down in a tipped position with the head lower than the chest. Some people do not find tipping very comfortable as it makes them breathless. Also, the position increases the reflux of food back to the food pipe from the stomach.
  1. Percussion or chest clapping—This technique helps loosen mucus. To perform percussion, a cupped hand claps the chest firmly and rhythmically. A second person helps, though some people do it themselves.
  1. Vibrations or chest shaking This technique comprises several short rhythmical squeezes to the chest wall as the person breathes. Some people find this helpful in mobilizing secretions.
  1. Use the Huff Cough technique The Huff Cough technique is a series of mini-coughs instead of one big cough. Here, two or three mini coughs have loosened peripheral small bronchial mucus and progressively brought it into the large bronchial tubes, and the single larger forced cough results in final expectoration.
  1. Take an expectorant or mucolytic. Clearing mucus from the lungs is necessary to prevent the blockage of airways and minimize the probability of infection. Mucolytics or expectorants could help keep the chest clear. This helps clear excess thick, sticky mucus from the lungs.
  1. Use an airway clearance device—Sometimes, physiotherapists recommend using vibrators that vibrate and loosen the mucous to make coughing easier. The most used devices are Flutter, Acapella, and Cornet. These devices should be held at an angle where maximum vibrations can be felt within the chest. They should also be thoroughly cleaned and dried to prevent bacterial infection.
  1. Lung Cleansing Herbs Plant extracts and herbs treat respiratory disorders. Plant parts like oregano, orange peel, eucalyptus, peppermint, lungwort, osha root, chaparral, and lobelia have been proven incredibly beneficial. Individual herbal tinctures and extracts are also available.

Tips to avoid blockage of airways

  1. Kill the smoking habit.

Evidence shows there is a ten-fold increased risk of developing lung cancer if you smoke. You are also likely to die 10-15 years younger from lung disease. Cigarette smoking stimulates inflammation of the lungs and makes breathing difficult, leading to obstruction of the air pipes, hence causing lung diseases. Smoking also increases mucus in the lungs and provides a medium for bacterial growth, which is responsible for increasing the mucus.

  1. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Research shows that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables over a long period can help prevent lung disease and blockage.  Vitamins and minerals in these fruits and vegetables help the lungs function better. Vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables are turned into antioxidants, which help fight airway inflammation.

  1. Make sure you are safe at the workplace.


According to a study by the British Thoracic Society, workplace-related conditions cause lung diseases, which have increased fourfold over the last ten years. The trend is particularly noticeable in the manufacturing, electronics, jewelry, and farming industries, where various agents are used, including asbestos, silica, glues, wood dust, and certain detergents high in toxins. These chemicals inflame our airways and trigger lung diseases such as asthma and tuberculosis.

  1. Be extra cautious during periods.

Some women with mild asthmatic tendencies can develop the worst lung diseases because one-third of women’s hormones, such as progesterone, can trigger inflammation of air passages in the lungs. Therefore, check the symptoms around this time, and if you are worried about lung disease, refer to a respiratory consultant.

The following two tabs change content below.

Max Jones

A compulsive reader and a writer with a diploma in nutrition and diet. In my free time I love to explore my city while I promote pedal-biking.

Latest posts by Max Jones (see all)


Stay Connected with Us