Are you worried about coughing up mucus?
Well, it is nothing to be afraid of, much less to let fear get the best of you.
But, mucus can relate to chronic cough at times.
A cough is a natural mechanism or reflex of your body; it helps clear your respiratory pathway from allergens and irritants.
Sometimes your cough may involve mucus expulsion. In that case, it would be a productive cough (wet cough).
Although mucus production is healthy, one of the purposes of mucus is to act as a lubricant for the respiratory tract. However, appearance and color can be a hint to your health.
Our blog on “how much coughing is normal?” can answer your questions.
Before continuing further, have a look at constituents of mucus:
It may also entrap:
- Dead cells
Your body makes nearly 1 liter of mucus per day. Yet, somehow, changes in texture, consistency, color, and phlegm frequency may cause an ailment. Similarly, increased production of mucus makes you feel irritated and uncomfortable.
Let’s dig deeper into what the color or texture of your mucus specifies. Keep in mind your doctor will go for a sputum test to conclude.
1. Frothy White Mucus
Mucus with air bubbles or a foamy appearance is usually normal. However, if your mucus shows a slight pink or light reddish shade, it might be a sign of chronic illness.
- Acid reflux
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- Pulmonary edema
This research article states: Cough and Sputum Production Are Associated With Frequent Exacerbations and Hospitalizations in COPD Subjects.
2. Thick or Solid White Mucus
Dehydration and swollen tissues are the reason behind thick white mucus. Using a humidifier and increase in water intake aids in recovering this problem.
Secondly, thick phlegm can also represent bacterial infection of your airways. Thus, it is essential to visit your doctor to start antibiotic treatment.
Mainly asthma, viral inflammation, and allergies can turn your sputum white. Taking anti-allergies, anti-histamines, and nasal drops can work if an allergy is an underlying root.
3. Clear Mucus
Naturally, the colorless or transparent mucus is perfect and a sign of a healthy body. However, it appears to be thin. In addition, changes in the consistency or frequency should be observed.
4. Charcoal/Gray Mucus
Charcoal or gray phlegm typically appears in people who work in chemical or charcoal manufacturing factories, coal mines, and smokers.
In addition, factory workers or coal miners who do not adhere to safety precautions and use facemasks are more prone. This condition is an absolute risk of serious illness.
5. Yellow/Green Mucus
Purulent is the other name given to this type of phlegm. As it contains ‘pus’. This color appears when neutrophils (a type of white blood cells) accompany the sputum.
Your doctor can prescribe you the medications after proper diagnosis.
6. Red Mucus
Red or bloody shall be an alarming situation. If you cough up blood consistently, visiting the doctor is compulsory.
Sometimes it can be due to an infection. But most often, it indicates danger—lung cancer, pneumonia, bronchitis, etc., or maybe the invisible cause.
7. Brown Mucus
Old blood comes as brown mucus while coughing. Often inhaling a large amount of dirt leads to brown sputum.
8. Black Mucus
When lung tissue is damaged completely, or some infections due to fungus/bacteria cause mucus to turn black.
An informative research study discusses in detail cough and sputum production.
Cough and mucus are nature’s gifts. In contrast, transition in the natural mechanisms should be observed keenly. Proper diagnosis is necessary if the condition remains persistent.
- Mucus and Phlegm: Barometers of Your Health
- Coughing Up White Mucus: Causes and Treatment (healthline.com)
- Coughing up white mucus: Causes and treatments (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Mucus in Your Chest: See 8 Different Causes (And How to Remedy It) (webmd.com)
- Reasons You’re Coughing Up White Mucus (verywellhealth.com)
- What Is Mucus? Learn How to G