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Percussion can be performed to help break up thick fluids in you lungs:

  • Form a cup shape with your hand and wrist.
  • Clap your hand and wrist against your chest (or have someone clap your back, if your doctor tells you to).
  • You should hear a hollow or popping sound, NOT a slapping sound.
  • Do not clap so hard that it hurts.

Do percussion for 5 to 7 minutes in each area of the chest. Do this on all of the areas of your chest or back that your doctor tells you to. When you finish, take a deep breath and cough.

Review Date: 4/26/2010
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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