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Mucous Plug, Trach Tube

You have a tracheostomy (“trach”) tube that allows you to breathe. Mucus from your airway can collect inside the trach tube and block it. The buildup of thick mucus is called a mucous plug. It’s important that you take steps to prevent a mucous plug from blocking your trach tube. Below are directions for helping keep your trach tube free of mucous buildup so that you can breathe without difficulty.

Home Care

General Care:

  • Unless you are on a fluid restriction, make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids (6 to 8 glasses a day).

  • Keep your airway clear by coughing periodically throughout the day.

  • Suction your trach tube as instructed by your healthcare provider. Do this regularly, as often as your healthcare provider suggests.

  • Moisten the air that you breathe as directed by your healthcare provider. This may include placing a moist cloth or gauze over the opening of the trach tube.

  • Carry an extra trach tube with you in case one tube gets blocked.

Follow Up

as advised by the doctor or our staff.

Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following occurs:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C)or higher

  • Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, or wheezing that does not respond to suctioning or breathing treatments

  • Severe, prolonged coughing spells

  • Red, painful, or bleeding stoma

  • Swelling of the skin around the stoma

  • Coughing up yellow, smelly, bloody, or thick mucus

  • Blocked trach tube that you cannot clear with suctioning

  • Trach tube falls out and cannot be replaced

  • Sweaty, clammy skin


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