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HealthSheets™

Deep Breathing

Woman sitting and holding pillow to chest.Deep breathing helps keep your lungs clear. If you’ve had surgery, this will help you get better faster. Deep breathing also helps you breathe easier and may prevent a lung infection.

Home care

Follow these steps to do deep breathing:

  • Sit on the edge of a bed or a chair. You can also lie on your back with your knees slightly bent.

  • If you've had surgery, hold a pillow or rolled-up towel firmly against your incision with both hands. Hug the pillow.

  • Breathe out normally.

  • Breathe in deeply through your nose. Feel your stomach push out as you breathe in.

  • Pucker your lips as you would to blow out a candle.

  • With your lips puckered, breathe out slowly through your mouth. You should feel your chest go down as you breathe out.

  • Rest for a few seconds.

  • Repeat the above steps as many times as directed.

Follow-up

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

When to seek medical care

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Signs of infection, if you've had surgery. These include redness, swelling, or warmth at your incision site, or pus or fluid draining from the site.

  • Brownish or bloody sputum

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Increasing pain

  • Dizziness or weakness

  • Fast or irregular heartbeat

Call 911

Shortness of breath may be a sign of a serious health problem. Call 911 if you have shortness of breath that gets worse or have trouble breathing, especially with any of the symptoms below:

  • Confusion or difficulty staying awake

  • Loss of consciousness or fainting

  • Chest pain or tightness

  • Difficulty breathing or wheezing

  • Bluish skin

  • Coughing up blood

  • Severe pain

© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.