To decrease atelectasis risk:

  • Be careful with small objects. Don't give children nuts until they are about 3 years old, when they have molars to more thoroughly chew nuts. And be careful about allowing young children to play with toys that have small, loose pieces.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking increases mucus production and damages the small, hair-like structures that line the bronchial tubes (cilia). Their wave-like motion helps carry mucus out of your airways.
  • Do deep-breathing exercises. After surgery, follow your doctor's instructions for frequent coughing and doing deep-breathing exercises.
  • Reposition yourself. If you must stay in bed, change your position frequently. Get up and walk as soon as you're able.
Jul. 14, 2012