Coughing Up Clear Mucus: Why And What Can You Do
Your discomfort may be caused by:
1. Common Cold and Influenza
You may produce clear mucus if you have influenza or are suffering from the common cold. These viral infections will make excess mucus accumulate at the back of your throat. You will notice clear and thin phlegm during the first few days of your illness, but it becomes yellow when your immune system takes charge of things. The phlegm will turn clear again when your immune system is about to eliminate the infection.
You do not have to take antibiotics for viral infections. It is not uncommon for your healthcare provider to prescribe medication to help you manage severe cold or flu symptoms. Be sure to talk to your doctor immediately if you are coughing up clear mucus and have other symptoms such as chills, pain, and a fever.
You develop bronchitis when the lining of your bronchial tubes become inflamed due to a cold or other respiratory infections. You may develop acute or chronic bronchitis. While acute bronchitis is more common, it is easily treatable. Chronic bronchitis can lead to several complications and is usually the result of smoking.
For either acute bronchitis or chronic bronchitis, signs and symptoms may include:
- Production of mucus , which can be clear, white, yellowish-gray or green in color-rarely, it may be streaked with blood.
- Chest discomfort
Here are the steps you should take if you are coughing up clear mucus due to allergies:
Are There Home Remedies To Help With Cough
There are several home remedies you can try which may help with easing your persistent cough.
A warm drink of honey and lemon can reduce the irritation at the back of your throat and ease your cough, even if only temporarily. The lemon acts as a disinfectant to prevent any infections from developing or worsening your conditionKeeping hydrated by drinking plenty of water is important. This will not only help to prevent your throat from becoming dry or irritated, but also flush out any pollen which has lodged in your throat and paletteAvoid dry or smoky atmospheres, and if possible, avoid going outside at times when the pollen count is high.
You Don’t Have Phlegm
Throughout the pandemic, the COVID cough has often been described as dry, which “generally means coughing without bringing up phlegm,” says Favini.
However, COVID is hardly the only illness that causes a dry cough. “Allergies and gastroesophageal reflux can both cause a dry cough and shortness of breath,” notes Leann Poston, MD, contributor to Invigor Medical. And for more on where the virus is catching on, check out Almost All COVID Transmission Is Happening in These 5 Places, Doctor Says.
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Coughing Up Clear Mucus Is It A Sign Of An Allergy
If youre coughing up clear mucus, you may be wondering what the lack of color in the substance being coughed up means. Coughing up mucus in general means that the body is responding to some sort of foreign invader that it is trying to remove. It can also be attributed to the buildup of mucus in the throat, according to PrimeHealthChannel.com, which also explains that its this throat accumulation of phlegm that causes the cough by producing irritation in the throat.
Some people think that coughing up clear mucus is a direct result of problems within the throat, since this is where the discomfort originates from. However, while a throat infection can in some cases cause clear mucus, its normally a result of other issues, not necessarily a throat infection. For instance, GERD can lead to a sore throat that can mimic the symptoms of an infection in the throat. And, GERD can also create colorless mucus that is coughed up as well. Because of the phlegm present, its not uncommon for the gastrointestinal disorder to be miscategorized as an infection when none exists.
Such is that case therefore that not all throat mucus is caused by problems with the throat. Though bacterial and viral infections of the throat are not uncommon this simply doesnt mean that the throat is the source of it. The throat merely serves as the means through which mucus in general is expelled via expectoration, which just means coughing.
Is There An Additional Threat
We dont have enough information to know whether having seasonal allergies puts you in a higher risk for contracting COVID-19, or if allergies can make contracting the virus worse, Dr. Kocur said. We do know that older adults and people with medical conditions like diabetes, obesity and heart or lung disease are at higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19.
The best way to protect yourself and manage seasonal allergies is a relationship with your primary care provider and an allergist. An honest, open line of communication will help your doctor assess your situation and determine the best course of action to keep you and your family safe.
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What Is The Difference Between Mucus And Phlegm
Phlegm is the term that is used to refer to mucus produced by the respiratory system, particularly when excess mucus is produced and coughed up. During an infection, the mucus contains the viruses or bacteria responsible for the infection as well as infection-fighting cells of the body’s immune system .
Phlegm itself is not dangerous, but when present in large amounts, it can clog the airways. Phlegm is usually expelled by coughing, and this is typically accompanied by symptoms like nasal congestion, runny nose, and sore throat.
An Introduction To Cough And Seasonal Allergies
A persistent cough can be one of the most irritating symptoms of seasonal allergies, particularly if it is persistent. These coughs are usually dry and caused by pollen irritating the back of the throat or air passages, triggering the natural body reaction of coughing to clear the irritant.
Coughs associated with seasonal allergies may also be caused by what is known as the postnasal drip. When pollen irritates the nasal passages, excessive fluid is produced by the inflamed membranes. This builds up and drops down the throat, irritating it, giving rise to a dry cough.
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Is Coughing A Symptom Of Allergies
If you have a chronic cough, youre not alone. Coughing is a symptom of seasonal allergies, and more than 50 million Americans deal with allergies every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1 . Once you identify allergies as your coughs source, your doctor can recommend various medications to treat it.
You Have A Fever And Are Feeling Achey
Another distinction between allergies and COVID? A fever, one of the tell-tale signs your body is responding to a virus. While the flu also tends to come with a fever, according to Narayan, allergies and the common cold usually do not, so at least that rules out two potential illnesses.
If your cough is “associated with fever muscle aches call your health care provider to see if you should be tested for COVID,” Poston warns. And for more useful information on COVID delivered straight to your inbox, .
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Can Seasonal Allergies Cause Constant Coughing
Coughing can be an irritating symptom of seasonal allergies. A continuous cough is a not a common symptom of seasonal allergies, but if present, it can be irritating. There are a number of reasons why allergies can lead to coughs from post-nasal drips to simple irritating of the upper respiratory passages.
You Cant Smell Or Taste Your Favorite Foods And Drinks
There are dozens of symptoms that have been linked to COVID, some of which are seemingly innocuous. But one of the most telling ones is a loss of taste or smell, which is distinctly associated with COVID and not a cold, flu, or allergies. If you have a cough with other COVID-19 symptoms like loss of taste or smell, that would increase the likelihood that you have COVID-19, says Favini.
The easiest, most foolproof way to know if your cough is from COVID, though, is getting a COVID test. Ultimately, because of the spectrum of illness COVID-19 can cause and the prevalence around the country, testing is really needed to determine whether your cough may be COVID-19, says Favini. If youre having a cough, you should act like you have COVID-19 by isolating, wearing a mask, and getting a test. And for the only safe zone in terms of COVID infection, check out This Is the Only Time Someone With COVID Cant Get You Sick, Doctor Says.
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How Can I Get Rid Of Mucus
People with chronic sinus problems who are constantly blowing their noses understandably want the goo gone. Over-the-counter antihistamines and are one way to do this. Decongestants cause the blood vessels in the lining of the nose to narrow, reducing blood flow to the area, so you’re less congested and you produce less mucus.
Decongestants are fine for when you can’t breathe due to a cold, but they’re not so good for thick mucus in general. “The reason is the decongestants dry you up and they make the mucus thick, and often the opposite effect happens because you feel like you have thick mucus,” Johns explains. So you take more decongestants and get into a vicious mucus-producing cycle. Decongestants also have side effects, which include dizziness, nervousness, and high blood pressure.
Antihistamines block or limit the action of histamines, those substances triggered by allergic reactions that cause the tissue in the nose to swell up and release more, thinner mucus . The main side effect of older antihistamines is drowsiness. They also can cause dry mouth, dizziness, and headache.
You can also thin out the mucus with guaifenesin, a type of medicine called an expectorant. Thinner mucus is easier to get out of the body. Possible side effects of guaifenesin are dizziness, headache, nausea, and vomiting.
Recovery After Allergic Cough
After a course of anti-allergy medicines and following the prevention tips, Priyanka noticed a massive improvement in her condition.
In a follow-up visit Priyanka said, People dont understand how irritating can persistent cough be especially, when it is triggered by factors that arent in your control
Now that I know whats causing this reaction, I can take the right preventive steps along with anti-allergy medicines. As soon as the pollen-heavy season starts, I start wearing a mask when I go out and take my anti-allergy medicines when needed.
I feel much better now and I can finally enjoy the changing seasons and not dread them.
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Coughing Up Yellow Mucus: Causes And Remedies
In healthy individuals, mucus is transparent and clear in appearance. If you are coughing up yellow mucus, a bacterial infection is most likely the cause. Most commonly, the first sign of an infection is coughing up mucus that isnt clear. This is also an indication that your bodys immune system is combating the infection. In order to eradicate this symptom, you need to first determine the cause. Thankfully, there are also numerous home remedies that can provide relief.
Causes Of Dog Coughing Up Mucus
There are a number of respiratory infections that will cause mucus cough up or expectoration. The most common infection is the Kennel cough, which is a contagious disease the dog can contract from shelters, the playing yard or other spaces with canines.
Some medical issues causing phlegm expectoration may include:
- Canine influenza
- Allergic reactions to irritants such as cigarette smoke, pollens, dust mites or chemicals, which enter the respiratory ways and the dog will attempt to expel these through coughing
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How You Can Tell The Difference Between Cold And Seasonal Allergy Symptoms
With both allergies and colds, its typical to have congestion or a runny nose, and to sneeze often. You may also feel tired and drowsy. But there are several other symptoms that dont often overlap between allergies and a cold. Here are some of the telltale differences between cold symptoms and allergy symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of Covid
If someone is exposed to the coronavirus and contracts it, Dr. Marks-Cogan said the most common symptoms include fever, dry cough, and difficulty breathing. Purvi Parikh, MD, an allergist with the Allergy and Asthma Network, specified that the fever is typically over 100.5°F, and a person may also experience loss of appetite.
Other symptoms include fatigue, body aches, and chest pain or pressure, and some have gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea and diarrhea. Loss of sense of smell has also been associated with COVID-19. These symptoms usually occur two to 14 days after exposure to the virus, and in mild cases, last for 10 to 14 days.
In more severe cases, the virus can move into the lungs, causing pneumonia. This means the lungs fill with pockets of pus or fluid, with symptoms like severe shortness of breath and painful coughs that can last two to three weeks, or six to eight weeks or longer for older adults or those with chronic diseases or other health problems.
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Why Does A Reflux Diagnosis Take So Long
Part of this issue is due to medical specialization.
The trend towards medical specialization has intensified over the last 50 years while simultaneously disenfranchising primary care physicians . Each specialist including lung doctors, ENT doctors and GI specialists just takes care of one part of the body. This has led to specialists who are unable to diagnose / treat reflux because they dont understand how the respiratory and digestive tracts are connected. They are directly connected at the upper esophageal valve, which is supposed to protect against reflux in the throat. There is also a direct connection between the throat and the lungs at the level of the vocal cords.
I have taken care of thousands of patients with reflux over the course of my career, and almost all have seen multiple specialists including PCPs, allergists, otolaryngologists, pulmonologists, and gastroenterologists.
What To Do If You Have A Cough With Seasonal Allergies
If post-nasal drip results, it can lead to irritation in your throat and coughing to expel mucus. Most health-care practitioners can offer skin or blood tests to determine whether your cough is due to seasonal allergies, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Antihistamines can help clear up the mucus that leads to the cough.
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Dog Coughing Up Mucus
A dog coughing up mucus is often affected by a respiratory infection or the Kennel cough. Additional symptoms should be detected and a proper diagnosis is needed to get the right course of treatment. Its important to avoid antitussives in your pet, as these are not recommended in the case of a productive cough.
How A Cough Affects Your Body
An occasional cough is a normal healthy function of your body. Your throat and airways are equipped with nerves that sense irritants and seek to dispel them. This response is almost instantaneous and very effective.
Throats and lungs normally produce a small amount of mucus to keep the airway moist and to have a thin covering layer that works as a protective barrier against irritants and germs you may breathe in. Some infrequent coughing helps mobilize mucus and has no damaging effects on your body. Coughing also allows for the rapid removal of any unwelcome particles you accidentally breathe in.
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Other Options For Phlegm And Mucus
If youre concerned about allergies, remember that the testing is easy and straightforward. You can also try over-the-counter allergy medications, which may solve your issue, Dr. Bryson says.
Also, if in doubt, dont hesitate to discuss your problem with your primary care doctor or an otolaryngologist, who can dig into your particular symptoms and history to find solutions.
Why Does Your Body Overproduce Mucus
Mucus has an important role in the body. It lines many of your tissues. Its slippery consistency helps protect and moisturize, and it also traps potential irritants.
Your body can go into overdrive creating mucus and phlegm when you:
Have a cold Have allergies Are exposed to smoke or pollution
Environmental allergies can cause excess mucus or phlegm, as can food allergies, but the latter is harder to diagnose based on this symptom alone, Dr. Bryson says.
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Clear And Watery: Allergies Or Nonallergic Rhinitis
“Clear drainage tends to be associated with early onset of a cold, seasonal allergies or nonallergic rhinitis,” says Dr. Barnes. “If it’s allergies, that tends to be accompanied by itchiness, watery eyes and sneezing.”
Nonallergic rhinitis is a drippy nose that could have several causes. “Nonallergic rhinitis could be related to your work exposure, like from irritants,” says Dr. Barnes. Another cause of nonallergic rhinitis could be hormone shifts. “As we age, the hormone changes after menopause can affect the moisture of the nose,” explains Dr. Barnes. The stereotype of a little old lady with a runny nose would fit into the category of nonallergic rhinitis.
But clear drippy drainage out of just one nostril could signal a serious condition called cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea. “That raises the alarm for anyone who has experienced head trauma, for example after a car accident or skull fracture,” says Dr. Barnes. If only one nostril is gushing watery discharge, seek medical attention right away.
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