When Should I be Worried About Coughing up Green Mucus?

08 Aug 2018

When You Smell Something

Coughing is bad enough, but when green mucus comes up in the process, it can be alarming. If
you cough up green mucus occasionally without any other red flags, it’s probably not serious. If your
symptoms are severe, linger on and on, or if they are accompanied by other symptoms, you may need medical treatment.

If the mucus you cough up isn’t just green but also thick and foul-smelling, call your doctorstraight away. This could indicate an infection that needs treatment. In a study published in theEuropean Respiratory Journal, researchers found that green or yellow mucus in chronicbronchitis patients was significantly more likely to be caused by bacteria compared to clearmucus. If you have such an infection, you may need antibiotics. Sinus infections can also causethick, unpleasant-smelling mucus and coughing and may also require prescription medication

When You Have Other Symptoms, Too

Green mucus may be the most surprising or unusual symptom you’re experiencing, but accompanying symptoms can be worrisome as well. If you're also coughing up blood, have a fever, difficulty breathing, swelling around your midsection or have unintentionally lost weight, contact your doctor. These symptoms could indicate a severe infection. The same goes for sinus problems paired with a severe headache, high fever, vision changes or difficulty thinking straight. Make sure you describe to your physician all of your symptoms, versus just describing the cough and mucus alone. This will help ensure proper treatment and the likelihood that your doctor will see you swiftly, if needed.

When Coughing Up Green Mucus Lingers

Sometimes green mucus and coughing clear up on their own. If you’re still experiencing symptoms after 12 days or so, it may be time for a checkup. Lasting coughing and mucus could stem from an infection such as sinusitis. Ongoing symptoms may also derive from bacterial bronchitis, which can also bring a high fever and discolored mucus gathering in your lungs. As a result, you may feel a deeper cough than you would if the mucus formed in your throat. Because these infections are caused by bacteria, you may need antibiotics to heal.

What Does it Mean to Cough Green Mucus

Infection can cause a change in the color of mucus. Green mucus color is caused by dead white blood cells and other immune responses from your body. Your doctor will let you know if your infection is viral or bacterial and suggest a recommended course of action.

In that section discuss why you started coughing green mucus and why it happens.​

How Do You Get Rid of Green Mucus Cough?

In addition to getting any needed medical treatment, home care can go a long way toward helping you feel better when you’re fighting a cough.

  •  Stay well-hydrated. Drinking plenty of water or other fluids such as broth, can help thin down mucus.
  • Avoid smoke. If you smoke, consider stopping. Regardless, avoid smokey areas. The fumes can exacerbate your symptoms.
  •  Consider taking an OTC medication. Over-the-counter medications can help minimize your symptoms, making it easier to rest and recover. Mucinex® Maximum Strength relieves chest congestion and loosens and thins mucus for up to 12 hours.
  • Soak up steam. To keep your throat moist and break down mucus with steam, take a hot bath or shower. Linger in the room afterward to get maximum benefits.

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