Usually, the air that enters into the airways passes through the nose and mouth before arriving at the lungs. This process allows the inspired air to become filtered and humidified, providing the lungs a worm and moisturized breathing air.
Inspired air is taken from the relative humidity of the ambient air and moisturized up to 100% by the time it reaches the gas exchange units in the lungs, called alveoli. At the same time, harmful particles are removed by the mucus blanket, which coats the lining of the nose and throat.
On the other hand, in laryngectomy patients who have a surgically placed stoma, this filtration/humidifying process does not exist anymore. For this reason, the lungs respond protectively by producing an increased amount of mucus to filter and humidify the air that enters the respiratory system. Bloody sputum can result when coughing excessively to clear up the increased amount of mucus. Patients can also become more prone to develop bronchitis due to the breathing of unfiltered and dehumidified air.
To avoid these problems, laryngectomy patients need to do everything possible in order to increase the amount of moisture in the inhaled air.