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What are paediatric secretions?

Secretions in children are made up of thick, sticky mucus and are present in the throat and lungs. Secretions are created in the throat and can cause infection and inflammation and can make it hard for the child to breathe. It can be hard for the child to cough up secretions to clear their airways so physiotherapy can help them to do this.

What causes secretions in children?

Secretions are commonly caused by infections as mucus is created to trap and move the harmful bacteria. In rare cases, heavy secretions in children are a result of a genetic condition called Cystic Fibrosis.

Improving lung funtion through active play assisted by a physiotherapistAbove: Improving lung funtion through active play assisted by a physiotherapist

What are the symptoms of secretions in children?

Symptoms of secretions in children include:
  • Mucus production
  • Coughing
  • Coughing up mucus
  • Difficulty coughing up mucus
  • Repeated chest infections

What can physiotherapy do to help children with secretions?

Physiotherapy treatment is aimed at loosening secretions through manual techniques and positioning of the child. The child is also taught the best technique for an effective cough so that secretions are easier to cough up. Advice is also given to the child and parents for when the child is at home. This would be advice on positioning of the child and taking fluids to help to thin secretions.

In the case of Cystic Fibrosis, regular manual physiotherapy is used to try and move secretions so that they can be coughed up.


Secretions can cause further infections and make it difficult for a child to breathe. They can be hard for to cough up so it can be very limiting for a child. Physiotherapy can help to remove secretions.

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