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From the Vault: Remaining Phlegmatic

Posted Mar 01 2013 8:00am

imagen28Ah, the joys of chest congestion! The hacking, the spewing of gobs, the animalistic noises, the foul taste in your mouth, the constant whirring of the humidifier, the endless varieties of over-the-counter cold and flu medicines, the steady diet of soup and other assorted hot fluids, the newfound ability to impersonate Tom Waits , the spending all day in your pajamas, and, of course, the inability to run your daily miles without inverting your lungs. It’s a real treat.

Through it all, however, it’s comforting to know that it will soon be all better. It isn’t shin splints, or peroneal tendonitis, or a stress fracture, or any one of a thousand ailments that puts you out of commission and sets back your training. I probably needed this forced “taper” anyway.

You also get to catch up on your reading. Look at this great bit of advice I found on the Internet:

Once you’ve got a chest full of dried phlegm, how do you get it out?   The key word here is “dry.”  Ever notice how a steamy shower makes you cough?  That’s because water vapor moistens and loosens the dried phlegm, which then starts to slide down the bronchial tubes. It tickles a new area and makes you cough. However, you want the phlegm to go up and out.

How do you get phlegm up?  Easy: steam up your lungs. 5 or 10 minutes in a closed bathroom full of steam works fine. Then, lie face down on a bed or couch with your head, shoulders, and back hanging downward over the edge, and have somebody pound your back with cupped hands while you’re breathing as deep as you can and coughing hard. Do the chest percussion twice a day if possible. This may help you get some phlegm up and out, which is where you want it. Chest percussion should last about 5 minutes. Have a cup nearby for the phlegm.

My advice is don’t ask your spouse to help you with chest percussion if you want to stay married.

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