Sick? Chest Percussions Are Your Friend

When my brother was little, he was frequently sick with chest ailments that hospitalized him.  A nurse finally told my mom about Chest Percussions, and this reduced the number of emergency visits significantly.

Not only that, but these are good for chest colds you may have.  Are they good for the Corona Virus?  Possibly, but I can’t say for sure – I haven’t caught it yet!

I had to look up the right name for this technique – Mom called them pat-pats, and that is so not the right term.

Disclaimer!  Am I a medical professional?  Nope!  This is based entirely on my experience, although you can find better instructions here.  My description is very basic, and this page goes not only into more detail but also explains why things work!

The process is simple:

  • The sick person lays down on a flat surface, preferably a bed
  • The person helping removes any jewelry (important!) and cups their hands
  • Starting at the bottom of the sick person’s lung, on the near side, they strike the sick person’s back with CUPPED hands
  • They should strike as hard as the person can stand without injury – which is actually pretty hard
  • They slowly strike a pattern moving up the lungs until just before they reach the shoulder
  • At this point, the sick person sits up and coughs to expel mucus and phlegm
  • Start on the other side of their back and repeat
  • We generally did them every half hour

Like, legit.  These kept my brother alive, and when I had bacterial bronchitis several times due to my wheat allergy they kept me out of the hospital.  For the most part.  I still had to go to Urgent Care for antibiotics to clear up the issue.

But at least I wasn’t haunting the emergency room!

A better and more detailed explanation on how to do them can be found here on a Cystic Fibrosis page.  But you don’t have to have Cystic Fibrosis for it to help you!  They also say, quote:

Special attention must be taken to not clap over the spine, breastbone, stomach and lower ribs or back to prevent injury to the spleen on the left, the liver on the right and the kidneys in the lower back.

This process helps break up the junk in your lungs so you can cough it up and breathe easier.

Will this help you?

I don’t know, but it has been a life saver for us!

One thought on “Sick? Chest Percussions Are Your Friend

  1. Postural Drainage with Chest Percussions are usually done by a respiratory therapist or family taught by one. I had a Respiratory Therapist teach me how to do these and it really helped to keep my son our of the hospital. He had severe asthma from 6 months old and was very sick with just a simple cold. So we called them our “Pat Pats” and I did them often as needed. Worth learning about.

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