The "death rattle" sound that means a dying person might only have 23 hours to live
Doctors have revealed that dying people make a predictable noise which happens in the last few hours.
The death rattle occurs as part of the dying process when people are no longer be able to swallow, cough, or otherwise clear saliva and mucus from the back of their throat.
According to a report in Medical News Today the sound varies.
It may be a crackling, wet noise that is amplified as the person breathes, and in other cases, it may sound like a soft moaning with each breath, or a very loud gurgling or snoring.
While the sound may be unpleasant, the person emitting the death rattle usually feels no pain or discomfort.
However, it may be upsetting for the dying person's loved ones.
A nurse may do the following to ease the sound:
- turn the person on their side
- raise the head so the secretions can drain
- moisten the mouth with damp swabs
- use suction to drain secretions from the mouth
- limit fluid intake
- administer medication to clear the secretions
The death rattle signals that death is very near, with a person living on average for 23 hours after the death rattle begins.