Nurses New Nurse


When we have pts with a fever often times I'm told to have them cough and deep breath and encourage fluids to help bring it down. Can anyone enlighten me on how all of this works to lower a temp??

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho.

Cough and deep breath,,, increases lung expansion and helps dry secreations from atelectasis. Patients who lay around dont breath as deeply,, hence secretions build in the bases of the lungs making the alveoli sticky(atelectasis), bacteria love dark damp places, deep breathing helps to dry secretions that may promote bacteria growth and cause pneumonia. Increasing fluid intake will help thin the secretions to help the patient cough them up.

The April issue of Anesthesiology has a whole 17 page article on atelectasis. Although some of it is a little intense, it is still interesting, and has some good illustrations.

Here's the citation:

Anesthesiology. 2005 Apr;102(4):838-854.

Duggan & Kavanaugh

Pulmonary Atelectasis: A Pathogenic Perioperative Entity

I was able to download it from my nursing school library's online journals. If you want a copy, send me an email, and I will send you the PDF.


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