If you have a cough, you may produce mucus or phlegm when you cough. This mucus may come from your nose, throat or sinuses or you may bring it up from your lungs. Even though a mucus cough is unpleasant, you should not resist coughing, as this is your body’s way of clearing your lungs and air passages. Similarly, you shouldn’t assume that your cough is simply due to a cold, as while this can produce secretions, there are some more serious causes of a productive cough that your doctor should rule out. Getting a proper diagnosis is therefore essential to start the right treatment, as without doing so your cough won’t clear up and the underlying condition may progress.
Coughing Up Yellow Mucus
Although you may bring up clear mucus, colored mucus is usually a sign of infection. Yellow is the most common color for the secretions associated with a productive cough, but sometimes you may produce green discharge. You should always seek medical advice about a possible chest infection, as you may need antibiotics to clear the bacteria from your lungs and airways. This is particularly the case if you have a respiratory condition already, such as asthma or COPD, as infections can make your breathing worse. As a result you should know the other symptoms of a chest infection, such as shallow breathing, to look out for.
Chest Infection Symptoms
With a chest infection, the symptoms are usually more severe than when you have an infection of your upper airways. You may still have some of the general signs of infection such as tiredness, reduced appetite, muscle pain and headaches, but you will have other symptoms besides. On top of coughing and wheezing you are likely to experience a raised temperature, rapid pulse, breathlessness and probably your chest feels tight. It is also common to feel confused and disoriented alongside these other symptoms. However, some other respiratory conditions can also present with similar signs, which you doctor will consider.
Productive Cough Causes
If you present with severe symptoms, you may have pneumonia or TB, which require different treatment to a standard chest infection. Alternatively a high fever and cough that produces mucus may occur on the back of a chronic lung condition, such as COPD, as chest infections are more likely when you have chronic bronchitis or emphysema. Sometimes acid reflux can trigger a cough and what you bring back up is actually stomach contents rather than mucus. However, it is important to investigate reflux, as it may occur due to a serious digestive health problem and even if it is merely triggered by your diet, stomach acid can damage your osophagus without treatment. You should also bear in mind that if you smoke, this may explain your cough and is a sign that you should quit, as when you have a productive cough this indicates lung damage in a smoker. Giving up cigarettes now may help to prevent future respiratory conditions linked to smoking such as COPD and lung cancer.
Coughing Up Phlegm
Once you start antibiotic treatment for an infection, you will notice that symptoms like chest pain and cough producing mucus should begin to resolve. However, even once recovered you should take steps to prevent repeat infections. Simple strategies such as practicing good hand hygiene and eating well to protect your immune system can help. However, as smokers are more prone to chest infections, giving up tobacco should be your priority. Chantix medication will help you to effectively quit without the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms or cravings associated with smoking cessation. Buy your first Chantix prescription today to protect your health.