How to Cough and Sneeze After Heart Surgery

Posted by Heart Hugger on Jan 29, 2020 9:53:47 AM

Man coughing into his fist, isolated on a gray background

You probably never thought you'd have to look up "how to cough and sneeze," but the truth is that these simple, everyday actions can get a little more complicated after heart surgery. Here's everything you need to know, plus a few extra tips to keep you healthy and comfortable.

Don't Avoid It

It can be tempting to avoid a cough or sneeze after heart surgery. The truth is that these actions aren't comfortable. At first, they can even be a little scary.

It's important to remember, though, that your body knows best. Coughing is a vital part of the healing process because it helps clear the lungs and prevents pneumonia.

Holding back a sneeze can be more uncomfortable (and damaging to your health) than simply sneezing. That's why you should keep right on doing these things; you need to find a way to make them easier, more comfortable, and a little less alarming.

Know What's Normal

Feeling a bit of pain when you cough or sneeze is not just normal, it's unavoidable. In fact, you'll see a lot of folks who've had heart surgery give warnings about that first sneeze after surgery. However, though it might hurt, it's not going to do any damage to your body. Plus, there are some tricks to help minimize the pain (we'll talk about that below).

Be sure to talk to your doctor about the recovery process, and ask about various movements (including coughing and sneezing) to be sure you're prepared for what's to come. 

Tools to Get Comfortable

The best way to cough or sneeze after heart surgery is to have a little help.

Although some people recommend using heart pillows as support, this can lead to further complications. In many situations, it simply doesn't provide the relief patients are searching for. In this case, it's best to leave pillows out of the picture.

Instead, use a surgical support vest to keep your wound and chest area sturdy, comfortable, and protected during all daily activities--including coughing and sneezing.

Here are a few more benefits of a surgical support harness:
  • support, making it simpler and more comfortable to do the basic activities required as part of your healing journey
  • comfort, reducing pain and keeping you in an ideal position when sitting and standing
  • hygiene, eliminating the health risks associated with heart pillows
  • protection, keeping your wound safe and limiting the risk of complications like pneumonia or dehiscence

Are you looking for more tips on heart surgery recovery? Want to learn more about surgical support vests? Contact us today!

Heart Hugger

Written by Heart Hugger

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