When it comes to learning airway clearance, NOTHING is better than professional guidance. The problem is respiratory therapists (physios) who specialize in airway clearance techniques, are difficult to find, even where I live in New York City. But, when I found someone, that one session gave me the confidence to begin a daily habit that I will have for the rest of my life.
I’ve since had additional sessions as I continue to learn more and try different approaches. What might work for us today, might not yield the same results in a year or two. And sometimes we just need a tune-up.
There are many doctors around the world, both primary care and lung specialists who are not well-versed in airway clearance. But it is my hope that through online education and support groups, we will all understand the importance of keeping our airways clear and will seek out the care we need. It might mean having to raise the subject of services and equipment with your medical team, if they don’t offer those options.
Here’s a great analogy to use with your doctor regarding the importance of airway clearance. According to Dr. Pamela McShane, one of the top BE/NTM professionals in the US, we should think of removing mucus from our lungs the way we think of flossing our teeth. We floss even when there doesn’t appear to be anything there, but it breaks up any bacteria biofilm present and is a good habit to have. That is how we can think of trying to remove mucus. We are breaking up biofilm in our lungs.
Educate. Advocate. Stay committed.
#bronchiectasis #copd #maclungdisease #ntmlungdisease #airwayclearance
Linda Cooper Esposito, MPH is a health educator with bronchiectasis. She developed the BE CLEAR Method to Living with Bronchiectasis and writes with compassion and humor about this chronic lung disease.