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Percussion can be performed to help break up thick fluids or mucus in your lungs. 1. Form a cup shape with your hand and wrist. 2. Clap your hand and wrist against your chest (or have someone clap your back, if your doctor tells you to). 3. You should hear a hollow or popping sound, not a slapping sound. 4. Do not clap so hard that it hurts. Do percussion for 5 to 7 minutes in each area of the chest. Do this on all of the areas of the chest or back that your doctor tells you to. When you finish, take a deep breath and cough.

Review Date 6/7/2022

Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.