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My partner has dementia but is unable to spit out phlegm from a chest infection.

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I assume he's seen a doctor who diagnosed a chest infection? If he was at the ER, was a nebulizer treatment given? It helps break up the phlegm.

If he hasn't seen a doctor or been to the ER, I think the would be the priority of the day. A respiratory therapist can administer a nebulizer treatment to help break up the phlegm. With dementia, he might not be able to remember how to try to cough it up.

This is just what I use personally: honey lemon tea. I either just drop a honey lemon cough drop into hot water, let it melt, inhale the aroma and drink the tea, or I make a tea of 1 tsp. or 1 Tbsp. each of honey and lemon juice.

I've also made sage tea, but don't drink it. I just inhale the vapors and it clears my sinuses and breaks up the congestion.

Seriously, though, I think I would seek medical help. Extreme coughing can cause a broken rib, and obviously the man is in a lot of discomfort.
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You may want to get to the ER for treatment. This doesn't sound good. Choking?
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I don't remember the name of it but there is a medication that thins secretions. Contact your partner's Dr. I've seen this medication work wonders.
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