Airway clearance

Did you know most people with
NTM also have Bronchiectasis?

Extra mucus can collect in your lungs and make you sick. There are many reasons this may occur, but whatever the reason, it is vital to clear this mucus regularly. You and your doctor may have selected one or more ways to clear the mucus from your lungs.

It could be chest physical therapy (chest PT) with postural drainage, use of a flutter valve, use of a pep valve or an inflatable electric vest. The respiratory therapist will likely teach you additional clearance methods including a deep or “huff” cough. Whatever method of mucus clearance you have discussed with your doctor, please remember that every time you cough out infected mucus, there is that much less in your lungs to do damage and that much less for the antibiotics to overcome.

Sinus Wash

Your doctor may have instructed you to do a sinus wash once or twice a day. If so, be sure that you know the correct procedure. The purpose of a sinus wash is to get rid of excess mucus and to prevent this mucus from draining into your lungs. It is extremely important to avoid using contaminated equipment that could introduce some other infection. A respiratory therapist will show you how to do the sinus wash. Click here for sinus wash guidelines.

An October 2012 article published by the CDC highlights the importance of adhering to sinus wash guidelines and proper sterilization of water used for sinus rinses: Nontuberculous Mycobacteria in Household Plumbing as Possible Cause of Chronic Rhinosinusitis.