Phlegm is a sticky and thick substance that the cells of the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract generate when some bacteria attack the organism and is directly affecting the respiratory system. In the presence of phlegm in the lungs, the body activates coughing as a defense mechanism to expel said mucus. Its accumulation can worsen any infection and even make breathing difficult.
Any cough accompanied by phlegm indicates respiratory illness, be it bronchitis, asthma, or a simple cold. There are many types of inactivity: pink, white, yellow, and even green, and taking into account the color of this mucus is very important to determine which condition may be causing the discomfort. In this FastlyHealarticle, we will discuss cough with green phlegm: causes and treatment.
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Why is phlegm green?
As we mentioned earlier, the color of phlegm can vary depending on the disease that affects the body. What is green phlegm? It is a vital sign of a respiratory infection! Bacteria, unlike viruses, attract more white blood cells, and these cells contain the enzyme myeloperoxidases (MPO), which is responsible for giving phlegm its greenish color. What are the causes of cough with green phlegm? Let’s get to know them below.
Bronchitis, cause of cough with green phlegm
The inflammation of the central airways carries air to and from the lungs. When these pathways narrow, it becomes more challenging to carry out the breathing process. Bronchitis usually appears after a bad cold or flu. It represents an infection of the respiratory tract that begins by affecting the nose and sinuses and later travels to the lungs. Bronchitis is considered chronic when the person has a cough with phlegm for more than three months.
This condition’s symptoms are cough with green phlegm, chest pain, tiredness, fatigue, fever, difficulty breathing, and wheezing in asthmatic people. After bronchitis has healed, it is normal for the person to have a dry cough for at least a month. Bronchitis can often be confused with pneumonia; the key to differentiating them is that the second condition usually causes a very difficult to treat fever accompanied by chills and extreme weakness.
Treatment of bronchitis
The bronchitis infection is usually cured without antibiotics, so treatment consists of relieving the discomfort caused by the disease. To treat bronchitis, it is recommended to consume a lot of fluids to avoid dehydration in the body, use an analgesic to calm the fever, and take expectorant syrup to help the body expel the phlegm from the lungs.
When bronchitis becomes complicated, and the infection spreads to all the airways, the doctor will prescribe an inhaler to open the airways and combat the narrowing and will assess whether it is necessary to administer corticosteroid medications that help decrease inflammation in the lungs. Avoiding exposure to tobacco smoke and polluted air is essential for the recovery of a person with bronchitis.
Pneumonia can cause a cough.
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs caused by various viruses or bacteria, most notably streptococcus type B bacteria. You can also get pneumonia due to fungi and chemical exposure. Treating this condition is very important to avoid severe respiratory complications, especially in adults over 65 or in people with a history of respiratory diseases, such as asthma.
Suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cigarette smoking, diabetes mellitus, diseases of the immune system, and has recently undergone surgery are factors that increase a person’s risk of developing pneumonia. The most characteristic symptom of this disease is expectorating green phlegm. Still, it can also cause bloody mucus, very high fever, chills, tremors, difficulty breathing, headache, excessive sweating, fatigue, extreme weakness, chest pain when breathing, or cough.
Treatment of pneumonia
A person with pneumonia may need to be hospitalized for intravenous treatment to avoid complications from pneumonia. When bacteria cause pneumonia, it will be necessary for the person to take antibiotics to relieve the illness and symptoms. When pneumonia is viral, antivirals will be prescribed to treat the flu.
During the treatment of this disease, it is essential to attend to the cough with green phlegm; for this, the medical specialist will prescribe steam inhalations or hot air to detach the mucus from the lung walls, and do breathing exercises and expectorant cough syrups that allow decongesting—the respiratory tract.
Allergy to dust mites
In some people, coughing with green phlegm is a symptom of an allergic condition, commonly towards dust mites, which can cause the person to react by manifesting symptoms similar to a common cold: sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy throat and ears, swollen eyelids, itchy eyes, cough with green phlegm, wheezing and shortness of breath.
To diagnose allergy to mites, the person must go to an allergist, a doctor specializing in allergies who can perform a series of tests on the skin that make it possible to rule out or verify the existence of any allergy from food to environmental. In the case of allergy to mites, the diagnosis is confirmed when the doctor places possible allergens on the epidermis through a puncture; if the person is allergic, the skin will react by adopting a red color and showing a small bump.
Treatment for allergy to mites
When a person is diagnosed with a respiratory allergy to dust mites, they should start a treatment based on antiallergics, which is usually quite long and makes the body begin to react better to the presence of these insects. Still, it does not entirely cure the allergy; it controls it. A person allergic to mites may need to take allergy medications or get vaccinated frequently to avoid bothersome symptoms.
When the allergy is newly diagnosed and the symptoms are very marked, the specialist will likely prescribe a series of analgesics to calm the discomfort; however, once the antiallergic drugs are started, the symptoms will disappear, even the coughing up green phlegm.
When you are allergic to mites, it is essential to keep the house always ready to avoid the accumulation of these insects. It is also recommended to vacuum the floor, change the sheets and pillowcase twice a week, avoid using rugs and fabric curtains, not use blankets or blankets, and keep everything that has hair or that stores dust inside.
Viral infections or the common cold
Throughout each year and with the change of seasons, new viruses appear that affect the health of many people, so there are times, such as autumn and spring, when viruses are more abundant. Even the common cold caused by a change in temperature can cause coughing up green phlegm since they mainly affect the respiratory tract, filling them with microbes that activate the formation of mucus and congest the nose paranasal sinuses. Throat, bronchial tubes, and lungs, leading to sneezing, malaise, cough, mucus, and green or yellowish phlegm.
Treatment for viral infections or the common cold
No type of virus, flu or cold should be treated with antibiotics since these medicines only attack bacteria. Therefore, the treatment in these cases is the same as that used for the flu: consume antivirals, keep the body hydrated, rest, use drops to decongest the nose, consume expectorant syrup to expel phlegm through coughing, and take pain relievers for discomfort and fever, if present.
These conditions usually improve quickly and have a benign diagnosis; they should not keep the person in bed for more than five days. It is essential to keep at least three days of rest so that the discomfort and the virus leave the body well and to avoid an inadequate treatment allows the microbes to progress and turn the infection into bronchitis.
Tips to clear phlegm in the lungs
Medical treatment is essential to treat a cough with green phlegm; however, when the symptom becomes very annoying, there are natural alternatives that can help the body to remove phlegm from the lungs and airways to expel it correctly through coughing. . These are syrups, inhalations, and infusions that can act as antispasmodics, expectorants, antibiotics, painkillers and natural astringents that, in addition to alleviating the symptoms of discomfort, will allow a speedy recovery. For this reason, we invite you to know the best home remedies for phlegm in the lungs or ginger tea to relieve cough.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.