Cough inhalation for dry and wet cough

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 07.11.2022

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Cough is one of those unpleasant symptoms that do not let you forget about yourself for a minute. It is especially difficult when a slight cough and a single urge to cough up the contents of the respiratory tract turns into a painful paroxysmal or constant dry / unproductive cough. This cannot be an accident, because such a cough is an indicator or consequence of an unhealthy body and irritation of the respiratory tract, a reflex reaction designed to help eliminate pathogens, allergens and other foreign substances from the lungs and bronchi. And cough inhalations are one of the ways to help your body in this difficult task.

Do you need inhalation for coughing?

Inhalation is a simple and relatively safe method of administering drugs or alternatives through the inhalation of vapors or gas mixtures. Recall that oxygen is also a gas, and the atmospheric air we inhale includes several gases at once in different proportions, but by a gas mixture for inhalation we mean a suspension of medicinal mass particles in the air.

Natural inhalations, based on the inhalation of healing air in resorts or in a coniferous forest, are recognized by doctors as general health and preventive. But for the treatment of diseases they are usually not enough, so you have to resort to the artificial introduction of medicinal compounds into the respiratory tract.

Inhalation treatment is used either for the purpose of exerting an inhibitory effect on the body (inhalation anesthesia), or for diseases of the respiratory tract of an inflammatory nature (colds, allergies). But the question of whether inhalations are needed when coughing remains relevant even from this position. After all, this symptom can have a different character. This is how wet and dry coughs are distinguished, and the latter may be unproductive or without sputum production at all (excruciating, barking).

With a wet cough, when sputum comes off without difficulty, inhalation treatment is irrelevant, and sometimes dangerous. After all, additional stimulation can provoke blockage of the bronchi with secretions, bronchospasm, asphyxia. But with a dry and unproductive cough, such treatment will be just right.

Cough inhalations, depending on the selected drugs and formulations, can have a different effect:

  • expand the bronchi, which facilitates the excretion of sputum and,
  • reduce the viscosity of inflammatory mucus and reduce the strength of its adhesion to the epithelium of the bronchi,
  • relieve inflammation, and hence irritation of the bronchial mucosa. All this should contribute to the removal of excess mucus and pathogens from the respiratory tract,
  • reduce the viability of microbes that cause disease.

Do inhalers help with coughing?

There is no unequivocal answer to this question, because everything depends on the correct selection of the inhalation composition and the body's reaction to it. Doctors themselves unequivocally recommend inhalation for dry and unproductive cough, because this is one of the fastest ways to alleviate the patient's condition. This is a relatively safe method of treatment, because the drug practically does not enter the bloodstream and does not have a pronounced systemic effect. But the inhalation method helps to deliver the therapeutic composition directly to the lesion, which gives a quick and often quite decent result.

Indications for the procedure

As we have already noted, the cough can be dry (unproductive) and sputum. The tactics of treatment in both cases are different, but when prescribing inhalation treatment, doctors pay attention not only to the nature of the cough, but also to its cause.

Inhalation when coughing with sputum is not always needed. If the mucus easily leaves with a non-intense cough, the body does not need help. Here it is important to observe that the nature of the symptom does not change. Plentiful warm drink and massage help to facilitate expectoration.

If sputum accumulates in the bronchi, but it is very difficult to cough it up, coughing causes pain in the throat and along the respiratory tract, cough inhalation with mucolytics and expectorants is just what is needed to alleviate the patient's condition. Such procedures are relevant for both colds and allergic coughs, because allergies are a kind of inflammatory reaction caused by a specific irritant.

Inhalations from a dry barking cough are prescribed only after studying the cause of the symptom and the time of its appearance. This is a reaction to irritation of the bronchi, usually occurring in response to a viral attack. At the beginning of the disease, a symptom may appear in parallel with or without a sore throat. The spread of inflammation to the vocal cords provokes the appearance of a rough barking sound when coughing.

Quite quickly, the cough turns into a productive one, and at this stage you need to be careful. If sputum is separated with difficulty or in small quantities (unproductive cough), it is necessary to facilitate its secretion and increase the productivity of the cough. With an unproductive symptom, preference is given to drugs that stimulate the production of mucus and optimize its rheological properties.

Quite often it happens that a person has been ill, but the cough has not gone away. But when coughing, nothing is already excreted from the bronchi. The remaining unpleasant symptom and the irritation of the throat that has not completely passed, exhaust the person already weakened by the disease. In this case, it is not advisable to use mucolytics or secretory agents in inhalations. But anti-inflammatory drugs and those that suppress the cough reflex (for example, lidocaine) will be just right.

Inhalations with antitussives are often prescribed to children if a painful symptom prevents the child from sleeping and eating, exhausts the baby, preventing a quick recovery.

For colds, doctors often prescribe inhalations for a runny nose and cough. With a runny nose, anti-inflammatory drugs and mucolytics are relevant, but they are used for nasal congestion to ease breathing. Liquid discharge should not be treated with inhalation.

Cough inhalations can be carried out in different ways, therefore, dry and wet procedures are distinguished, the latter are divided into wet, warm-wet and steam. If the patient does not have a temperature, you can choose any of the options. With an increase in the thermometer to 37.5 degrees, it is better to forget about thermal procedures.

Cough inhalations at temperatures above 37.5 degrees can only be carried out with the permission of a doctor using a nebulizer. In this case, dry and wet (up to 30 degrees) inhalations are relevant, if the patient has no contraindications.

An increase in temperature is usually associated with viral infections, but sometimes such a reaction of the body can also occur in response to the introduction of bacteria into the respiratory tract. If the tests show the presence of a bacterial infection, in addition to others, inhalations with antibiotics are prescribed. With severe inflammation and edema, hormonal agents (inhaled corticosteroids) are prescribed.


When it comes to preparing for a cough inhalation, everyone immediately thinks about the therapeutic composition, missing one important detail. First of all, you need to think not about how and how to treat a cough, but about knowing a reliable diagnosis and the cause of the disease. The first step in preparing for inhalation should be to consult a specialist and conduct the necessary diagnostic studies (if necessary).

It is important to know not only the name of the disease, but also its causative agent. For example, inhalations with antibiotics are carried out only for bacterial diseases or a complicated course of viral ones. In most cases, respiratory diseases are viral in nature and, with proper timely treatment, pass without complications.

If the doctor has prescribed inhalation treatment, he will also recommend drugs, and sometimes alternative means that help with this disease and are suitable for inhalation. It will only be necessary to decide on the method of carrying out the procedure (with or without an inhaler) and properly prepare the inhalation composition.

So for steam procedures, decoctions of herbs and potatoes, healing essential oils, soda. Decoctions are heated to a temperature of 45 degrees, and oils are dripped into hot water.

If you do not use an inhaler, it is very important to take care of the dishes that will contain the healing composition and the necessary accessories (a towel on your head for steam inhalation, although doctors consider this treatment option to be quite dangerous due to the risk of hypoxia and facial burns).

If a special device is used for inhalation, you need to make sure that it is clean, if necessary, assemble the components together and check the device's performance. If you are using the inhaler for the first time, it is important to first carefully study the instructions for it and treat the inside of the reservoir and the mouthpiece with antiseptic compounds.

Technique Cough inhalation for dry and wet cough

If a person is in a hospital, he does not have to arm himself with knowledge about the technique of cough inhalation. The medical staff takes care of this, and the patient can only clearly fulfill his requirements. But in most cases, inhalation is carried out at home, because this procedure is effective for many diseases of the respiratory system that do not require hospitalization. And if there is no medical relative at home, willy-nilly you have to look for information on how to properly carry out the procedure.

Consider the technique and features of inhalations of different types.

Steam inhalation for cough

Steam inhalation is considered to be one of the methods of alternative medicine, the most effective in diseases of the upper respiratory tract. Humid warm air, entering the respiratory tract through the mouth, moisturizes and softens the mucous membrane, makes sputum less viscous, alleviates the symptoms of the disease, and by adding healing compounds to the water, a therapeutic effect can also be achieved.

Compositions for steam inhalation can be: potato decoction, infusions and decoctions of herbs and medicinal preparations, mineral water, a weak soda solution, essential oils, propolis, and even the fragrant Zvezdochka balm known since Soviet times. It is important to understand that soda is an excellent antiseptic and emollient, most herbs have anti-inflammatory and disinfectant properties, propolis is a strong antimicrobial component, mineral water softens and moisturizes the mucous membranes, and potato steam is a generally recognized remedy that has a beneficial effect on the respiratory system, eliminating congestive phenomena in the bronchi.

Inhalations with cough potatoes are safe for children and pregnant women who are not suitable for drugs and herbs that can cause allergic reactions. It is not difficult and even pleasant to carry them out, if you do not overdo it with the temperature of the composition. Very useful for dry cough.

To prepare the composition, we take 3 medium potatoes, wash them and boil them in water until tender, after which we slightly knead or use only a decoction. You can breathe steam over a saucepan or any other utensil where the broth was poured, after cooling it a little so that the steam does not burn the skin when you need to bend over the saucepan. In order to prevent the steam from dissipating, you can cover your head with a towel, leaving the bottom edge free so that air can penetrate under it.

It is believed that for an adult it is enough to breathe potato steam for 10-15 minutes. For a child, a 3-5-minute procedure is enough.

By analogy, steam inhalations are carried out with decoctions and infusions of herbs. The prepared broth is first cooled slightly. To prepare the infusion, the grass is poured with boiling water and left to infuse in the heat, after which it is allowed to cool slightly. Usually, herbs for inhalation for coughing are taken in the following ratio: for 1 glass of water, 1 tbsp. Chopped herbs or herbs.

For inhalation procedures, the following herbs can be recommended:

  • Chamomile. Cough inhalations with this plant, which has a mild antiseptic and pronounced anti-inflammatory effect, are effective for dry and wet coughs, runny nose, and sore throat. The broth is prepared according to the above scheme in a water bath for 20-30 minutes, after which it is adjusted with hot boiled water to a volume of 1 liter.
  • Eucalyptus for cough. Inhalations can be done using self-prepared herbal infusion, pharmacy alcohol tincture, essential oil of the plant. For the preparation of infusion, the ratio of components is standard. After 15 minutes of infusion, add 3 cups of boiled hot water to the dishes and carry out inhalations. Alcohol tincture can be used in an inhaler, but in this case it is added not to hot water, but to saline at room temperature (15 drops per glass of sodium chloride).
  • Inhalation with sage for cough. The plant is very popular in the treatment of coughs, as it is rich in essential oils, due to which it has anti-inflammatory, tonic, antiseptic and expectorant properties. Grass in inhalation formulations is used both independently and in combination with others, for example, with chamomile and mint. A decoction for inhalation is prepared as follows: 2 tbsp. Herbs (or 1 tablespoon of sage and chamomile) are poured with a glass of boiling water and kept on low heat for 2-3 minutes, after which they are removed. Strained and sufficiently cooled, the broth can be used in inhalers or breathe healing vapors over a bowl.

The above herbs are universal, they can be used to prepare an inhalation composition for any cough. With a dry cough, you should pay attention to plants that increase the amount of sputum secreted, contribute to its easier removal, relieve irritation of the mucous membrane and make the cough less painful: coltsfoot, linden, clover, reindeer moss, mullein. With a wet cough with difficult sputum excretion, you can offer: thyme, lungwort, mint, fennel, juniper, comfrey, needles, pine buds, lavender.

In alternative medicine, herbal preparations are also used for inhalation for coughs. With the right selection of plants, they will mutually reinforce each other's action and the effect will be stronger. In addition, plants with different therapeutic effects can be combined in the collections, receiving a cure for almost all symptoms at the same time.

For inhalation treatment of an unproductive cough, the following collection can be advised: eucalyptus leaves, coltsfoot, mint and sage, birch buds, oregano grass, chamomile flowers in equal amounts. 1 tbsp collection in a glass of boiling water. The infused composition is filtered and cooled to a temperature of no more than 70 degrees.

Ideally, for cough steam inhalation, it is recommended to use compositions with a temperature in the range of 40-50 degrees. At a higher temperature, do not lean over the steaming dishes and cover tightly with a towel, because this can lead to burns to the face and mucous membranes of the eyes.

With the help of this collection, you can simultaneously achieve the following effects: moisturizing the mucous membrane and relieving irritation, eliminating sore throat and swelling of the respiratory tract, thinning sputum, and a noticeable decrease in the activity of pathogens.

Also, with a dry cough, the following fees can be advised:

  • Coltsfoot herb, mint leaves, linden and calendula flowers.
  • Raspberry, sage and mint leaves.
  • Chamomile and calendula flowers, St. John's wort and coltsfoot.
  • Flowers of linden, raspberry, coltsfoot (for bronchitis).

To soften the mucosa and make it easier to expel sputum, baking soda can be added to the finished herbal composition for inhalation immediately before the procedure, which is especially effective for bronchitis.

During pregnancy, it is very important to carefully select herbs, because some of them can provoke uterine contractions and miscarriage. Doctors consider the following plants to be optimal for inhalation treatment of expectant mothers:

  • For the treatment of dry cough: chamomile, St. John's wort, thyme, marshmallow, plantain.
  • For the treatment of difficult wet cough: eucalyptus, yarrow, string, wild rosemary.

Features of steam inhalation

When conducting steam inhalation, it is very important to observe a special diet. You can not carry out the procedure earlier than 1.5 hours after eating. And after the procedure, you should refrain from eating food and water for 40-60 minutes, allowing the particles of the inhalation solution to act on the surface of the mucosa for some time.

During the procedure, you need to breathe deeply enough, but evenly, avoiding too deep a breath. While inhaling, hold your breath for a couple of minutes. Shallow breathing is unacceptable when it comes to treating cough. You can not talk and be distracted by other things. It is important to focus on the procedure and proper breathing.

For the treatment of cough, there is a special breathing pattern during inhalation. Inhalation is done through the mouth, and exhalation is best done through the nose.

Using herbal formulations for inhalation, you should not think that the higher the concentration of the solution, the better. All decoctions and infusions are diluted with water, most often in a ratio of 1: 3.

The temperature of the inhalation composition for adults is recommended to be kept within 40-50 degrees, in some cases, if the nature of the herbal collection requires it, it can be raised to 70 degrees, but maximum caution is required. For children, the optimal temperature is 30-40 degrees. Moreover, the smaller the child, the lower the temperature should be. For young children, inhalations are generally difficult, so it is better to get a special device - an inhaler.

To avoid burns, bending over the dishes with a hot solution should not be much. The optimal distance is about half a meter.

Light, loose clothing made from natural fabrics is suitable for inhalation. It is very important that it does not squeeze the throat and does not interfere with deep breathing.

As for the duration of steam inhalation, doctors recommend for adults - 5 minutes, for children - 2-3 minutes.

For the effectiveness of steam inhalation, it is important not to interrupt the procedure to breathe. Under the towel, the effect of a sauna is specially created, which is not recommended to “leave” before the end of the procedure. If there are difficulties with breathing, inhalation is completed ahead of time.

Not all people tolerate the effect created under the towel well. As an option, you can consider other ways of conducting steam inhalation:

  • the use of a funnel, which provides a narrow direction of movement of healing vapors,
  • use of a kettle with a tight-fitting lid and a rubber tube put on the spout,
  • inhalation over a thermos.

At the same time, it is possible to prepare an inhalation composition in the same container, using purified, distilled or boiled water for its preparation.

Essential oils for cough inhalation

Treatment of cough with herbs involves the use of both plants and flowers, and essential oils in inhalation formulations. It is not for nothing that plants rich in oils are chosen for inhalation: eucalyptus, mint, sage, thyme, coniferous plants, etc.

Essential oils for cough inhalation can be purchased at pharmacies and stores. They are useful in that they contribute to the breakdown of sputum and stimulate its excretion, relieve inflammation, effectively fight pathogenic microorganisms that cause illness and irritation in the throat, and heal wounds. Also, essential oils soothe the inflamed mucosa, reducing the number of painful coughing attacks, calm the nervous system, normalize sleep, which is so necessary for the sick body to recuperate.

In the treatment of cough, cardamom, mint, cypress, anise, rosemary, chamomile, and sage oils are used. A beneficial effect in infectious diseases accompanied by a cough will also have esters of fir, cedar, pine, eucalyptus, tea tree. With good tolerance, they are all approved for use in early childhood and during pregnancy.

With essential oils, 2 types of inhalations can be carried out: cold and hot, or rather warm-moist, because at high temperatures (above 40 degrees) ethers can lose their healing properties. Cold dry inhalations are carried out using devices such as an aroma lamp, an aroma fan, an aroma medallion, etc. Alternatively, you can apply a few drops of oil on a handkerchief or pillow. But at the same time, it will not be very convenient to breathe through the mouth, which is a condition for the effectiveness of cough treatment. It is important to remember that the time of inhalation from a cough should be inhaled through the mouth.

Warm-moist inhalations are based on the use of water (1 liter is enough), to which 3 drops of any of the recommended oils are added. Covered with a towel, breathe in healing vapors for 10 minutes.

For the treatment of children, an aroma lamp or another folk method is better suited. Add 4 drops of eucalyptus, tea tree or other oil with an antibacterial effect to a glass of hot water, and leave it in the room where the patient is. Thus, it is possible to treat a cough and disinfect the room.

Cough inhalations with essential oils are subject to the same requirements as for steam ones: compliance with dietary regimens and dosing of the inhalation composition, proper breathing during the procedure with inhalation through the mouth. The duration of the procedure should be 10 minutes. Usually inhalations with oils are carried out 1 time per day. It is better not to use several oils at the same time, unless the selected recipe requires it.

Inhalations are not carried out on a full stomach, so as not to provoke a gag reflex and not to distract the gastrointestinal tract from its work on food processing. But even on an empty stomach, such procedures cannot be carried out, especially when you consider that within the next hour you will have to give up food.

Mineral water inhalations

There is a method of treatment that is approved by doctors. Mineral water in cough inhalation is not only a source of clean water necessary to moisten the respiratory mucosa and thin sputum. It contains useful minerals necessary for the normal functioning of the body. This is a storehouse of unique substances that increase the internal forces of the body to fight the disease and have a beneficial effect on the respiratory mucosa, reducing inflammation and swelling, contributing to the rapid regeneration of damaged tissues.

In sanatoriums, hydrogen sulfide, carbonic or radon waters are taken for procedures. Cough inhalation at home is most often carried out using mineral water Essentuki, Borjomi, Narzan, but in their absence, you can use another mineral water. True, the effect in this case will be weaker. Although moisturizing the mucosa in itself can alleviate the painful cough syndrome and make the cough more productive.

You can take mineral water without gas or leave the bottle open for a couple of hours or more so that the gas comes out, otherwise the cough can only get worse. The procedure can be carried out in two ways:

  • using an inhaler (we take 4-5 ml of the solution, pour it into the reservoir of the device and breathe in healing air for 10 minutes),
  • using improvised means (steam inhalation: in a bowl or teapot, heat the mineral water to 40 degrees and inhale the vapors for 5-10 minutes).

Inhalations with mineral water can be carried out up to 5-7 times a day. They are safe for children, the elderly, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Requirements for inhalation of cough with mineral water: compliance with the diet, proper breathing, contraindications (especially for steam inhalation), adequate care after the procedure.

Inhalation with an asterisk for coughing

Many of us remember a balm with this name from Soviet times. With its help, our mothers and grandmothers treated colds, headaches and toothaches, diseases of the musculoskeletal system and pathologies of blood vessels, took care of the skin and removed toxins. But the Vietnamese medicine has gained particular popularity in the treatment of colds and viral diseases, accompanied by headaches and dizziness, nausea, aching joints, fever, cough, runny nose.

In the treatment of cough, such useful components of natural medicine as essential oils (mint, eucalyptus, cloves, cinnamon), as well as menthol and camphor, come to the fore. As an adjunct in respiratory diseases, the balm has found acceptance among both alternative healers and qualified doctors.

True, cough inhalations with Asterisk did not gain much popularity. In addition, they are prohibited in the treatment of children under 3 years of age, patients with bronchial asthma and a tendency to bronchospasm. The balm is not used in inhalers.

But for steam procedures in the absence of contraindications, this is a very useful and effective remedy. In hot water (40-60 degrees) you need to add 3-4 mg of balm and breathe in pairs for 5-10 minutes (children up to 3 minutes). Inhalations can be carried out up to 4 times a day, taking into account the requirements for steam procedures.

Cough inhalation with soda 

When it comes to inhalation treatment of the common cold, alternative remedies are not much inferior to pharmacy drugs in terms of effectiveness and popularity, but they turn out to be even safer, which doctors agree with. It is not without reason that at the first stages they recommend cough inhalations with soda and herbal formulations, and if they do not help or cannot be used, they resort to the help of drugs.

Baking soda is undoubtedly one of the most popular methods of dealing with non-productive coughs. The popularity of the procedure is explained by the fact that baking soda is at home in almost every kitchen, and the method of treating cough in most cases works flawlessly. As they say, cheap and cheerful.

Inhalations with soda with a dry cough are classified as steam. The patient inhales water vapor with tiny crystalline particles that envelop the mucosa, soften and disinfect it. Moisture in the form of steam thins the mucus and makes it easier to remove. 

The procedure is carried out, adhering to the rules for steam inhalation. An inhalation solution is prepared by adding powder to hot water. About 1 tablespoon of soda should be taken per liter of water after the inhalation procedure for coughing with soda, the symptom intensifies, but becomes less painful. The sputum is coughed up more easily and without acute pain in the throat. As an antiseptic, soda fights microbes that have settled on the mucous membrane, which means that the healing process is faster.

Pharmaceutical products for inhalation procedures

Despite the fact that doctors do not refute the effectiveness of alternative cough treatment with steam and heat-moist inhalations and even sometimes recommend it, soda and herbs are not always able to give the expected result. In addition, if you feel unwell and weak, it is better not to carry out inhalation in this way, so as not to aggravate your condition even more.

For small children who do not know how to breathe properly and follow the rules, the procedure is incredibly difficult to carry out. And given the contraindications for steam inhalation, it becomes clear that this is by no means a universal remedy. So you have to pay attention not to pharmaceutical preparations and devices that help to carry out a useful procedure with maximum benefit and safety.

The assortment of pharmacies includes solutions, drops, medicines, cough inhalation preparations that can be used in modern inhalers that do not require liquid heating. Steam inhalation in this case is not an option, because many medicines are destroyed by high temperatures, which in no way helps to cure a cough.

Cough inhalation with a nebulizer is the most modern cough treatment method that is suitable for patients of all ages, including newborns. A wide range of devices (compressor, ultrasonic, mesh inhalers or membrane) and the ability to choose a stationary or portable nebulizer for home use make this type of treatment quite popular.

Despite the different mechanism of action, when using nebulizers at the exit, we have an aerosol cloud with the smallest particles of a medicinal substance, which, when inhaled, enter deep into the respiratory tract directly into the lesion. The penetration depth of particles depends on their size. Different nebulizers give particles of different sizes, but some models allow this process to be regulated. For the treatment of cough, devices are suitable, the size of the resulting particles of the drug in which does not exceed 5 microns, otherwise they will settle only in the oral cavity and nasopharynx.

Modern nebulizers come with different nozzles. For the treatment of cough in adults, it is preferable to use a mouthpiece or mouthpiece. In this case, inhalation is done through the mouth, without opening the lips tightly clasping the mouthpiece, and exhalation after 1-2 seconds through the nose.

It is more convenient for children to carry out inhalations for coughing with a mask. In this case, the child can breathe freely, and the treatment goes on as usual. If the child is small, the procedure can be carried out even during sleep. The mask does not prevent the baby from sleeping, it is only important to ensure that the inhaler is in an upright position. The best option would be a stationary nebulizer. If a portable one is used, then the child should be in a sitting or reclining position.

Cough inhalations for adults should be carried out in a sitting position. If a person is in serious condition, then his treatment is carried out in a hospital with the help of inhalers. The mask is attached to them by means of a hose, which makes it possible to carry out treatment lying down.

For the procedure, a clean, pre-disinfected device is used. We prepare a solution for inhalation by diluting the medicine with saline, as prescribed by the doctor or according to the instructions for the drug and the device. We do not use herbal decoctions and essential oils in nebulizers, only pharmaceutical preparations.

Treatment can be started no earlier than 1-1.5 hours after eating or strenuous exercise. Inhalations are carried out up to 3 times a day, trying to do this between meals.

During the procedure, you need to sit straight, freely straightening your shoulders. You need to breathe not too deeply, but not superficially. After inhalation, he makes a short pause (1-2 s) so that the medicine has time to settle on the mucosa. We wear loose clothing, preferably made from natural fabrics. During inhalation, nothing should hold down the chest and neck area.

Cough inhalation is a medical procedure that requires a certain focus on the process. Doctors do not recommend talking, reading or being distracted by other things at this time that affect the characteristics of breathing: its depth, frequency, etc. Adhering to this rule is not so difficult, given that inhalations for an adult need to be carried out no more than 15 minutes (in ideally, while the medicine is consumed in the nebulizer reservoir), and for a child under 5 years old - 3-10 minutes. The procedure can be completed earlier if it begins to cause noticeable discomfort and deterioration in the patient's well-being.

But back to the drugs that doctors recommend for inhalation, and the features of the procedures using them.

Inhalation for coughing with saline (sodium chloride)

Saline is a liquid similar in osmotic pressure to blood plasma, so our body does not perceive it as something alien. Inhalation when coughing with saline using a nebulizer is one of the safest procedures, similar to inhalation with mineral water. Such treatment can be safely carried out for children and pregnant women, because saline does not contain substances that can be harmful to health, has no smell and taste.

True, the effectiveness of saline in the inhalation treatment of cough is relatively small. Such treatment is more suitable for moisturizing the respiratory mucosa, which relieves groundless urges with a dry cough and facilitates the removal of sputum in case of unproductive.

4 ml of saline is poured into the nebulizer (2-3 ml can be used for a child) and breathe for 5-10 minutes. The procedure is carried out up to 3 times a day.

As such, a 9% solution of sodium chloride does not have a therapeutic effect, but there are other drugs that have a secretolytic, expectorant, bronchodilatory effect. In inhalation solutions, they are used together with sodium chloride.

Cough inhalations "Lazolvanom"

"Lazolvan" - Ambroxol preparation, substance. With a pronounced secretomotor, secretolytic and expectorant action. In addition, it facilitates the penetration of antimicrobial agents into the bronchial secretion. The medicine is available in tablets, and in the form of syrup, and in solution. The latter is most conveniently used for inhalation when coughing.

For inhalation procedures, the drug can be used from a very early age, when babies do not yet know how to cough up sputum, therefore, stimulated excretion is required.

The procedure can be carried out with any modern inhaler, except for steam. The solution can be used in pure form in an amount of 2-3 ml or mixed 1: 1 with saline to improve mucosal hydration. For children under 6 years old, 2 ml of Lazolvan is enough.

It is recommended to carry out 1-2 procedures per day. The finished solution is preheated to body temperature and breathe it normally.

With bronchial asthma and a tendency to bronchospasm, before inhalation with expectorant drugs, it is worth taking bronchodilators or resorting to an inhalation procedure with these drugs.

Inhalations with "Lazolvan" can be carried out for both children and pregnant women. True, you should be careful in the 1st trimester of pregnancy, after consulting with your doctor about the safety of such treatment. It is also better for nursing mothers to refrain from breastfeeding during the period of using Ambroxol preparations, although there are no proven cases of the negative effect of the drug on the children's body.

Cough inhalations "Berodual"

Talking about the features of inhalation with ambroxol preparations, we mentioned the need in some cases for the use of bronchodilators. Berodual belongs to the category of such drugs. This is a non-hormonal two-component remedy with a complex action: bronchodilator (one of the active ingredients is a directed antispasmodic), anti-inflammatory, normalizing (sputum hyperproduction decreases, leading to bronchial obstruction), drainage.

The use of the drug helps to reduce the number of painful attacks, ease breathing, and get rid of wheezing. Moreover, these effects are observed within the first 20 minutes.

Inhalations with Berodual are prescribed for allergic and infectious diseases of the central and lower respiratory tract, accompanied by bronchospasm, with bronchial obstruction, which is often diagnosed with inflammation of the respiratory system in children.

For inhalation, you can use a solution in vials or an aerosol "Beroduan N" (designed for 200 doses, therefore it is convenient as a first aid for bronchial asthma). The solution can be used in any inhalers, except steam. Avoid contact with eyes.

The aerosol is used according to the scheme: for acute attacks, 2 injections (inhalation), after which, if there is no effect, the procedure is repeated. A maximum of 8 doses can be used per day.

The Beodual solution is used in nebulizers of any type, having previously mixed it in equal proportions with saline. The total volume is 3-4 ml. The inhalation solution should be at room temperature.

Cough inhalations are carried out until the entire solution is used, but doctors recommend this duration: for adults - no more than 7 minutes, for children - 3-5 minutes. At the same time, children's doha will be much less: up to 6 years - 0.5 ml of Berodual, 6-12 years - up to 1 ml of the drug 3-4 times a day.

"Berodual" as an antispasmodic and potent drug has quite a few contraindications that must be taken into account. As an antispasmodic, it can be dangerous for expectant mothers in the 1st and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy. It is also not recommended for breastfeeding.

The active ingredients of the drug affect the vessels, causing them to contract, so it can not be used for cardiomyopathy and tachyarrhythmia. Caution should be observed in people with heart disease and endocrine disorders, with cystic fibrosis, prostate adenoma, angle-closure glaucoma, bladder neck obstruction.

For inhalation treatment, the drug is allowed from infancy to late old age. Can be used even at elevated temperatures.

After the procedure, most often there is a feeling of dry mouth. With individual sensitivity, cough and skin rash are possible.

Inhalations for cough "Miramistin" 

"Miramistin" is a well-known antiseptic with a wide spectrum of action and high efficiency in respiratory diseases. This is one of the safest drugs that can be used in the treatment of young children, pregnant women and nursing mothers, the elderly and the elderly.

"Miramistin" you can rinse your nose, gargle, use a solution for inhalation. This helps to quickly cope with a disease caused by a bacterial infection or in case of a bacterial complication of a viral infection.

The antiseptic does not have an expectorant or mucolytic effect, therefore, by itself, it cannot make the cough more productive and easier. But microbes and their toxins cause irritation of the mucous membrane, its inflammation and sensitization, which are considered as one of the causes of coughing. "Miramistin" helps to reduce the number of painful attacks and promotes faster recovery. And so that inhalations during coughing also have an expectorant effect, it is recommended to mix the antiseptic with saline, which will moisturize the mucous membrane and thin the sputum.

Usually, a 0.01% Miramistin solution is taken for inhalation. In nebulizers, 4 ml of an antiseptic or 2 ml of Miramistin and 2 ml of saline are used in one procedure. The dose for children is usually half that. Inhalations are carried out 3 times a day, using the entire inhalation solution, which should be at room temperature (with a strong cough, you can warm it up to body temperature, but not higher).

Inhalation for cough "Ambrobene"

This is a popular drug, widely advertised in the media, which in reality turns out to be a derivative of ambroxol hydrochloride, like the Lazolvan described above. The popularity of "Ambrobene" is explained by the high efficiency of the active substance and a wide range of forms of release of the drug, one of which is a solution for inhalation. From "Lazolvan" in the same form, the drug differs only in excipients, which, nevertheless, may be important if one of the additional components of "Lazolvan" is intolerant.

Ambrobene solution for inhalation for coughing is used from a very early age. The procedure is carried out with non-steam inhalers, using 2-3 ml of the drug, which can be diluted with saline 1:1 to increase the effect. For children under 2 years old, take 1 ml, for children 2-5 years old, 2 ml of medication is enough.

Inhalation treatment is carried out 1-2 times a day for no more than 15 minutes per procedure (for adults) and 5-10 minutes for children.

Contraindications to the drug are bronchial asthma (although in this case inhalations with berodual save), convulsive syndrome and epilepsy. Caution must be observed with exacerbation of stomach ulcers, severe kidney and liver diseases, in the first trimester of pregnancy, breastfeeding.

Hormonal means for inhalation from cough

Corticosteroids are potent anti-inflammatory drugs, inhalation therapy of which is very difficult. On the one hand, they could quickly remove severe inflammation of the respiratory mucosa, making breathing easier, reducing the amount of inflammatory exudate with a wet cough, and preventing the occurrence of bronchospasm. But on the other hand, the use of popular corticoids, such as hydrocortisone, prednisolone, dexazone, in nebulizers is undesirable, since in practice we get a systemic, not a local effect.

Pulmicort for cough inhalation is the only drug currently recommended for nebulizer therapy. This is a local anti-inflammatory drug that has much fewer contraindications and side effects.

The medicine is produced in the form of a suspension for spraying. It can be used for dry and wet inhalations in bronchial asthma, bronchial obstruction, wet cough with increased sputum production in young children. For the treatment of children, a local corticoid is used in the case of bronchitis, laryngitis, bronchial asthma, vasomotor and allergic rhinitis, and cough of any kind.

"Pulmicort" can only be used in compressor-type nebulizers. Dosage for adults - 1-2 mg (1 ml of suspension contains 0.25 or 0.5 mg of the active substance), for children from 1 to 12 years old - 0.5-1 mg, for infants 6-12 months old - 0.25 mg twice a day.

Before use, the suspension must be diluted with saline (solutions of terbutaline, salbutamol, fenoterol, acetylcysteine, sodium cromoglycate, ipratropium bromide). The total volume of the inhalation solution for infants is 2 ml. For older patients, 2-4 ml of the finished composition is used per procedure.

"Pulmicort" is not prescribed for children under six months old, as well as with increased sensitivity to the drug. The use of the drug during pregnancy and lactation is not prohibited, since inhalation treatment does not have a systemic effect. And yet, doctors insist on its very careful use, especially when it comes to young children, whose treatment with hormonal drugs is best done in a hospital under the supervision of medical staff.

With prolonged use of the drug in children, growth retardation is possible, but this is more true for children with bronchial asthma, who regularly use the Pulmicort aerosol at dosages of more than 400 mcg per day.

Inhalations with Validol for cough

Perhaps this method of treating cough will cause bewilderment and even indignation in some people, but in reality the result of using a vasodilator drug is quite predictable. It's just that we are accustomed to seeing Validol as an effective remedy for cardiopathy and neurosis, so we cannot immediately accept others that are not fixed in the instructions for its scope.

Inhalations with "Validol" are used to treat dry cough. It is believed that due to the substances included in the preparation, it soothes the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, removing painful attacks, dilates blood vessels, activating regenerative processes, due to which edema disappears and the sensitivity of the respiratory tract decreases. Since a solution of validol or a pair with a medicine is used in inhalation, the throat is additionally softened and sputum is thinned, which makes it easier to expectorate.

"Validol" is available in the form of tablets and drops, but the first form is mainly used for the preparation of the inhalation composition, although it is less convenient. In this case, 2 ways of using the drug are considered:

  1. Grind the tablet into powder, add it to 400 ml of boiled water and mix thoroughly. This composition can be used in any inhalers or breathe steam over a saucepan.

For adults, for greater efficiency, it is recommended to add 7 drops of iodine and 1 tsp to the solution. Soda. Inhalation, depending on the chosen method, is carried out from 5 to 15 minutes.

Children are advised to reduce the dosage of the medicine: 1 tablet per 1 liter of water. The duration of inhalation is 2-3 minutes.

  1. For steam inhalation from cough over a saucepan, tablets can be used in a different way. Add a couple of Validol tablets to the potato broth and breathe in steam for 5-10 minutes.

Various sources advise adding onion gruel or eucalyptus infusion to the hot Validol solution in the absence of individual intolerance.

It is difficult to say who and when invented this method of fighting a cough, and it is unlikely that a doctor will advise you on it (although there have been such cases), but in the absence of effective medicines, you can try it. The low dosage used for inhalation is unlikely to harm health, but may still alleviate the condition in the absence of an alternative or ineffectiveness of purely home remedies.

Conditions for the effectiveness and safety of inhalations

Cough inhalation is one of the most effective methods of treating a painful symptom, which is used for many diseases. The drug is delivered directly to the affected area with the help of steam procedures or inhalers, where it begins to act from the very first minutes. When taking the drug orally, it should take time for the drug to pass through the gastrointestinal tract and reach the respiratory organs with the bloodstream.

With the right selection of drugs and alternative agents, as well as taking into account the recommended dosages, such treatment will not have a systemic effect, which avoids unpleasant side effects. This makes the procedure safer than taking effective cough medicines by mouth.

But the procedure also has some disadvantages regarding certain moments of its implementation.

Cough inhalations for adults are easy to carry out, no matter what type of procedure you choose. But when choosing steam inhalations, you need to remember that high-temperature steam can cause skin and mucous membrane burns, so you should not lean too low over a saucepan with healing broth.

Smokers will have to refrain from their favorite activities both on the eve of inhalation and after it, not to mention the fact that the procedure cannot be interrupted for a smoke break. Ideally, the treatment of diseases of the respiratory system implies a healthy lifestyle, at least for the duration of therapy.

Cough inhalations for children should be carried out by adults: medical staff or parents. They are required to explain to the child that the mask does not need to breathe deeply. Older children can be explained that when coughing, you need to inhale through your mouth, you can’t talk and indulge during the procedure.

In order for the baby to remain calm for a long time, you can turn on calm music, a light cartoon or just read an interesting book. Usually this is enough for 5-10 minutes of the procedure.

If a child is afraid, which often happens when they first get acquainted with an inhaler, you can translate the treatment process into a game form or calmly talk with the baby, telling a tale about a brave boy / girl who was not afraid of anything, so a kind Nebulizer helped them cope with the enemies of kids: evil Cough and harmful nozzles.

For the treatment of infants, it is better to use an inhaler that allows you to carry out the procedure in a supine position. If the baby is naughty, inhalations can be carried out when the child falls asleep.

Steam procedures for children can be carried out only when they learn to understand and follow the rules told to them by their parents. For example, close your eyes while leaning over the steam, don't lean low and don't play around. A hyperactive child can simply turn over a bowl of boiling water. A baby covered with a towel can lose consciousness and it is not known how else such carelessness of parents can end.

A nebulizer is the best device for inhalation for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and primary school children. But in this case, you must strictly adhere to the recommendations of the doctor. Bronchospasm is a scourge of young children, so if the doctor prescribes inhalations with bronchodilators before the procedure with expectorants, they must be carried out.

The same can be said about hormonal agents that prevent bronchial obstruction. Remember that babies still do not know how to blow their nose normally and cough up the exudate accumulating in the bronchi, which means they are at risk of bronchial blockage that prevents normal breathing.

Usually, inhalation procedures are carried out for no more than 5 days, but if the doctor prescribes a longer course, this should be heeded.

Doctors prescribe cough inhalations for pregnant women as an alternative to oral intake of expectorants, mucolytics, and antimicrobials. With inhalation treatment, a small part of the active substance enters the blood, so the risk of systemic reactions that are dangerous for the child is reduced.

Most of the drugs used are relatively safe during pregnancy, with the exception of bronchodilators. Here you need to be very careful, because drugs can also have some systemic effect, i.e. Relax muscle muscles outside the respiratory system. In early pregnancy, this can cause miscarriage. Therefore, in any case, expectant mothers should not undergo any treatment without consulting a doctor.

Caution must be observed when conducting steam inhalation. By themselves, a pair of potatoes, soda or herbal decoctions may not carry any danger, if we are not talking about intolerance to certain substances in their composition, but the reaction to evaporation in a future mother can be unpredictable.

Do not overuse essential oils. Some of them, in addition to treating cough, are also able to affect the muscles of the uterus, which is most dangerous in the first months and last weeks of pregnancy.

Carrying out the procedure for the first time, you need to carefully monitor your condition (or the condition of the child). The fact is that individual sensitivity can be found not only for plant extracts and esters, but also for pharmaceutical preparations. Moreover, it is very difficult to foresee such a reaction in advance.

If during inhalation from a cough the patient has any suspicious symptoms: the face turns red, it becomes difficult to breathe, a runny nose appears or the cough intensifies, etc., the procedure should be stopped and contact a medical facility for help.

Any means used for the preparation of inhalation formulations may have their own contraindications, which must be taken into account. Particular attention should be paid to this for people with diseases of the heart, kidneys, liver, endocrine system disorders, angle-closure glaucoma, and some congenital disorders.

Effective cough inhalations are those that take into account all the nuances: the type of cough, individual body reactions to drugs, safe dosages and requirements for inhalation, both steam and nebulizer.

Contraindications to the procedure

Contraindications to inhalation from coughing is the factor that primarily causes the development of all kinds of complications. If they are not taken into account, an effective medical procedure can cause a poor patient condition. In this case, the benefits of inhalation will be incommensurable with the possible harm.

But in what cases do doctors not recommend resorting to inhalation treatment:

  • high body temperature in the patient,
  • a tendency to nosebleeds and a history of those (this is more about inhalation with rhinitis and steam procedures),
  • cardiovascular pathologies complicated by respiratory failure,

Caution should also be observed for those who suffer from arrhythmia, hypertension, patients with arterial and heart failure, congenital vascular weakness, cerebral atherosclerosis, those who have recently had a stroke or myocardial infarction. In principle, inhalations with a nebulizer are not prohibited to such people, given that even breathing in this case has the usual depth and rhythm. But steam procedures that promote vasodilation can cause irreparable harm.

Inhalation procedures (especially with the help of a nebulizer that produces the smallest particles of therapeutic solutions that penetrate into the lower respiratory tract) cannot be performed on people:

  • with severe pneumonia
  • pleurisy,
  • with severe pulmonary insufficiency,
  • airway polyposis,
  • pulmonary hemorrhages and a tendency to them,
  • recurrent pneumothorax.

We are talking about severe conditions, when the beneficial effects of inhalation can have the opposite effect, i.e. Worsen the patient's condition. Such patients must be treated in a hospital setting.

Oil inhalations are not carried out with a nebulizer for two reasons: in order not to spoil an expensive device and not to harm yourself. The fact is that particles of oils entering the lower respiratory tract can provoke the development of oil pneumonia. This is one of the complications after the procedure, which occurs with the wrong approach to choosing an effective solution and treatment methods.

Oils are not used to treat the lungs. They are preferred for diseases of the upper respiratory tract, and for bronchitis and pneumonia, you should pay attention to other remedies. With steam inhalation, the particles are larger and do not penetrate so deeply, so they are used for medicinal purposes.

As for children, they need to carry out the procedure with extreme caution. It is not in vain that doctors insist that infants be treated only in a hospital setting.

During illness, young children can become moody, restless, cry and turn around. In this state, inhalation from a cough cannot be carried out. It is better to wait until the child calms down and dozes off.

High body temperature is considered a contraindication for any inhalation in adults and children. But here the temperature limits may differ. Steam inhalations are not recommended already with a thermometer reading of 37.2-37.5 degrees. But the procedure with a nebulizer should be postponed if the temperature crosses the border of 37.5-38 degrees. True, inhalations with antibiotics can be carried out even at higher rates, which contributes to the fight against hyperthermia.

Common to all, although a relative contraindication is the individual intolerance to the components of the inhalation composition. But there's nothing you can do about it, besides, the choice of inhalation solutions is large enough (including absolutely safe mineral water) to choose the most optimal among them.

And one moment. For the procedure, it is better to choose one composition. Do not mix different medicines in one solution without a doctor's prescription. Drug interactions can both weaken the effect of drugs and increase the likelihood of side effects.

In addition, it is important to understand exactly what effect the chosen medicine has. Bronchodilators should be used before mucolytics and expectorants. But antitussive drugs should not be combined with the latter at all because of the antagonism of reactions.

Consequences after the procedure

Inhalation is one of the most common cough procedures. Their popularity is due to a number of reasons. One of them is the absence of the need to drink medicines that treat one thing and cripple others. Even pharmacy formulations have a predominantly local effect, and a very small amount of medicinal chemistry enters the blood, which is not capable of harming the body. With the right approach to the procedures, the risk of complications on vital organs (systemic action) and other unpleasant consequences is minimal.

Another reason for the popularity of inhalations can be considered a quick action due to the fact that the "medicine" is fed directly into the lesion. Already after the first procedure, there is a noticeable relief. Attacks become less painful, breathing becomes easier, the throat softens. True, during and immediately after inhalation, the cough may increase, but it will not be exhausting due to easier expectoration of sputum.

The fact that the cough intensifies from inhalation should not be considered a bad sign. This is a natural process, because we ourselves stimulated the secretion of bronchial secretions, liquefaction of sputum, and airway motility. Naturally, the symptom got worse, but it's better than suffering from an unproductive cough. Cough is needed in order to remove from the bronchi and lungs everything that prevents them from functioning normally.

Another thing is if, in addition to coughing, a person began to choke, which may indicate bronchospasm, bronchial obstruction, or a severe allergic reaction accompanied by angioedema. These symptoms usually appear already during cough inhalation, which is a signal to stop the procedure and take measures to relieve dangerous symptoms.

Most often, unpleasant consequences are noted after steam procedures. The use of too hot water (over 60 degrees, for children above 40-45 degrees), a small distance from the source of steam, eyes open during the procedure, too deep breathing during inhalation, excessive wrapping, restricting air access, are fraught with serious complications. Among them are burns of the face, mucous membranes of the eyes, pharynx and larynx, loss of consciousness due to lack of oxygen, exacerbation of heart disease, nosebleeds. All this can be avoided if you know the measure and treat the procedure consciously.

Care after the procedure

Doctors say that the outcome of treatment depends not only on what medications we take and what procedures we perform, but also on what we do after that. Care after the procedure is no less important than the procedure itself, but many simply do not pay attention to this, considering it not so important. Hence the second group of complications caused by incorrect actions after cough inhalation.

What will happen if, immediately after steam inhalation, you go for a breath of frosty winter air? Nothing good. Any inhalation is a certain load on the respiratory mucosa, which temporarily becomes more sensitive to any impact, including negative ones. So walks will have to be postponed for at least an hour, and even more in winter.

Do not combine treatment with sports. Physical activity immediately after the procedure is harmful, because they weaken the body, which has already spent energy on self-healing. Active breathing during exercise can cause dizziness, blackouts, loss of consciousness. The body should be given the opportunity to recover within 1-1.5 hours, after which it should show some kind of activity.

Smoking can reduce the effect of a useful procedure to "no", moreover, such a combination of procedures for some drugs is unacceptable. Let your lungs rest, at least for the duration of the illness.

Since the end of the procedure is not yet the end of the treatment (for some time, drug particles that have entered the respiratory tract will continue to work), food intake should also be postponed for an hour and a half. In order not to experience hunger, doctors recommend cough inhalations 1-2 hours after a meal, and move the next meal to the same interval after the session. This is quite a normal interval for a healthy stomach.

If you do not follow the recommendations, the effectiveness of inhalations decreases (the medicine does not have time to act normally, especially if it is an antibiotic), and unpleasant symptoms may appear from the gastrointestinal tract: nausea, vomiting, heaviness in the abdomen.

Ideally, it is best to lie down to rest. Let the medicinal particles continue to do their job, helping the body to heal. You can sleep a little or just lie down without straining your muscles and head. No temperature fluctuations or changing conditions. Set yourself up to recover from the disease as soon as possible, and not to quickly return to your usual activities, despite the disease.


Inhalation cough treatment is a common practice that even doctors adhere to. This type of effective therapy is applicable to adults, children, and the elderly. It is available to both expectant mothers and nursing women, replacing the ingestion of synthetic drugs that can harm a growing child's body.

Cough inhalations can be carried out by different methods, using different inhalation compositions: mineral water, herbal decoctions, soda solution, essential oils, pharmaceutical products. The effectiveness of different formulations may differ, which to a certain extent is due to the large discrepancy in reviews of the procedure.

For example, mineral water and saline soften the throat and only slightly thin the sputum, so you can’t expect an awful effect from it. But Ambroxol, with its pronounced expectorant effect (even without exertion of strength), can already be used for more serious diseases, for example, in combination with antibiotics, for which it facilitates the work.

The body of each person is individual, so the reaction to even the most effective inhalations from a cough may differ. Someone is satisfied with the result, while others do not see a pronounced effect. But this does not mean at all that it is necessary to abandon the effective procedure. Maybe you should change the inhaler composition?

Sometimes you can find reviews in which mothers complain that after inhalation the child became worse, the cough intensified, the child is naughty. There is nothing surprising. A small child is not yet able to cough up sputum normally, so increased coughing urges due to accumulation of sputum can exhaust him. Ambroxol is approved for use from an early age, and after it, sputum often leaves even without coughing. It's probably worth considering this option.

The deterioration of the child's condition after the procedure can also be explained by improper care. Walks and active games should be postponed for a while, and if this is not done, it is likely that the disease will progress and may even give complications. A weakened body is an easy prey for microbes.

There is an opinion among specialists that there are no ineffective inhalations, there is a wrong approach to their implementation: the inconsistency of the declared effect of the drug with the real needs of the patient (for example, the use of antitussives in the midst of the inflammatory process in the respiratory tract), improper preparation of solutions and the procedure, ignoring contraindications and care requirements after inhalation. In some situations, it is enough just to change the medicine, the sensitivity of the body to which is either increased, or, on the contrary, is extremely low.

In order for cough inhalations to bring the expected effect, they must be treated as a serious medical procedure that has its own requirements and limitations. Their observance will guarantee not only the removal of a painful symptom, but also a speedy recovery with little effort, which, however, does not exclude the complex use of other methods of treatment that minimize the risk of complications.

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