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Emergency Department

Chest Injury

You have injured your chest which has bruised your ribs and the muscles between them. It may mean you may have broken one or two ribs.

When you were seen by the doctor you may have had a chest x-ray but this is not always necessary.

The pain and discomfort often gets worse in the first 48 hours and it is important to take regular painkillers, you may have been given a prescription.
After the first 2 days the pain begins to settle and takes between 2-8 weeks to get completely better.

It is important to do the following:

1) Take 10 slow deep breaths every hour. This makes your lungs fully expand and stops you developing a chest infection.

2) If you have loose phlegm in your chest, try to cough it up. Coughing is easier if you squeeze your arm tightly against the sore ribs as you cough.

3) Stop smoking! This makes your phlegm sticky and more difficult to cough up. This makes it much more likely that you develop a chest infection

It is important that you contact your doctor or the A & E Department if any of the following happen:

1) Your breathing gets worse.

2) Your pain gets worse or you feel your painkillers are not working.

3) If you cough up any phlegm and it is yellow or green.

4) You cough up any blood.

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