Coughing is usually accompanied with mucus or medically known as phlegm,such type of cold is called “productive cold”. Coughing up mucus is not a disease,it usually is a sigh that an infection has developed in the lungs or throat. Mucus gets accumulated in the throat,it is a watery substance that varies in viscosity,color and quantity depending on the disease. It is produced in the mucus layer of the windpipe.
Throat or lung infection causes the accumulation of phlegm in the windpipe,making it uncomfortable to breath as it clogs up the throat or drips from the nose. Mucus is usually white in color. White mucus indicates the absence of pus. The mucus may also be colored,the color of the mucus depends on the disease causing it. Apart from white the mucus may also be green,yellow or pink.
Coughing up mucus
Green mucus is a sign that a bacterial infection has occurred in the lungs or the bronchi. Pneumonia is the most common reason for coughing green mucus.
The accumulation of inflammatory cells of leukocytes in the mucus causes it to turn yellow. It is a sign for bacterial or viral infections. Common in people suffering from bronchitis.
Pink or red mucus signifies the presence of blood. Presence of blood in mucus is a sign for tuberculosis or sever lung infection. Heavy smoking can also cause the mucus to turn red or light brown. Medical attention should be sought immediately if the mucus turns red.
When the patients respiratory organs are affected by virus,bacteria,fungi or any foreign body , the body constantly creates mucus to protect the respiratory tract. The excessive mucus irritates the throat and needs to be coughed out to keep the throat clear and remove the foreign bodies hence the patient coughs out the mucus constantly,it can also lead to chest congestion and cause breathing difficulties.
Smoking causes inhaling excess nicotine which leads to inflammation of respiratory organs causing excessive mucus production. Smoking also causes respiratory infections like bronchitis.
Mucus or phlegm should always be coughed out,swallowing of phlegm causes abdominal bloating resulting in loss of appetite and abdominal pain. The swallowed mucus is degraded by the bacteria in the intestine resulting in production of gas.
Diseases causing excessive production of mucus
- Common Cold
- Cystic Fibrosis
Treatment for coughing up mucus
- Inhaling eucalyptus oil loosens the mucus.
- Prepare a mixture of ginger,black pepper,honey and basil boil for 5 minutes and drink the mixture 3 times a day. This not also cures mucus but also chest congestion and cough.
- Onions are extremely useful for mucus. Dice an onion finely and mix with honey. Take 1 tea spoon every 3 hrs till you feel better.
- Drinking hot beverages like tea or coffee works great for cough and mucus.
- Chewing garlic cloves helps clearing out the mucus and nasal passage.
- Inhaling steam from a tub of boiling water clears out the mucus and sinus congestion.
These are a few home remedies for coughing up mucus. Apart from these remedies drink lot of warm water at least 8 glasses a day and eat spicy food as it helps to thin out the mucus. If there is no improvement after trying the above remedies visit a doctor immediately.