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Coughing up White Mucus

Pragya T
When a person is healthy, his/her mucus is transparent. However, inflammation because of cold or allergies tend to change the color and amount of mucus produced in the body. Mucus during a cold can be gotten rid of using home remedies.
White mucus is not a serious symptom. A simple home remedy like inhaling steam, will thin the mucus and make it easier to expel.
Just like fever is the body's way to fight infection, secretion of mucus is too. Phlegm/mucus/sputum is produced in the body everyday, it helps to keep the nasal passages moist. But when irritants attack, more amount of mucus is produced to clear the passages. Hence, excessive mucus production is not bad news.
But one thing to remember is that you need to get rid of the excessive mucus by coughing it out. There are mucolytics which thin the mucus and make it easier to cough out the excess phlegm. Also, there are expectorants which make spitting out easier. But in case a person has lung infection, antibiotics can be prescribed by the doctor.
Let us look at the causes and treatment related to this symptom.


Acute Bronchitis: Acute bronchitis or chest cold occurs when the lining of the bronchial tubes get inflamed. In this condition there is a production of clear or white mucus. You might also have a persistent cough.
Chronic Bronchitis: This is a more serious condition and is often caused due to smoking. The color of sputum might be white, yellow, or green in color. This condition might prevail for months.
Flu: Influenza, including swine flu can lead to overproduction of clear phlegm. Other symptoms related to this condition are fever, runny nose, headache, muscle pain, and sore throat.
GERD: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease relates to a condition where the fluids from the stomach flow backwards to the esophagus which is the tube connecting the stomach to the mouth. This irritates the throat and causes white phlegm along with other symptoms like chest pain, sore throat, sensation of lump in the throat, etc.
Asthma: People who have asthma can cough out white or pink mucus and one often experiences difficulty while breathing. Asthma is caused by an allergic reaction which leads to inflammation of the bronchial tubes.
Milk: Drinking milk is not a cause behind white phlegm. However, it thickens the mucus which makes it harder to expel it. Hence, avoid excessive consumption of milk or dairy products when you have a throat infection.

Remedies for White Mucus

Understand that one should try home remedies only to treat white mucus. However, if you are coughing up mucus which has blood in it or is green-colored, instead of using home remedies seek immediate medical treatment. As coughing up mucus which is bloody, green or has brown phlegm are serious conditions that need immediate medical attention.
Cough it Out, Don't Swallow: Swallowing phlegm can lead to bloating of the stomach, hence avoid swallowing it instead get rid of it by coughing it out. It is not possible to have access to a sink all the time. Hence, always carry some tissues in your pocket or purse.
Make a thick pad with your tissue and spit the phlegm in the tissue, wrap it neatly, and dispose the tissue pad. This way you don't have to wait to get rid of the annoying mucus in your throat.
Steam: Inhale some steam by boiling water in a pot or take a steamy shower. This will help to thin the mucus and soothe the throat. If you want you can add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the pot of steaming water or a spoon of salt.
Drink a lot of Fluids: Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Be it soups, herbal teas, or plain warm water. Drinking lots of fluids will thin the mucus and make coughing up white mucus easier, also it will decrease the span of infection.
Bell Pepper: Bell pepper is a natural expectorant. So, add it to your diet, and try to eat at least one meal in a day which has bell pepper in it. It will help to thin out the mucus, and it will be easy to cough it out.
Salt-water Gargling: This remedy helps to bring the mucus to the upper throat and soothes the throat; it also fights infection. So, boil 3 cups of water and add 4 tablespoons of salt to it. Wait till this solution becomes warm, gargle with this solution. Repeat this around 3 - 4 times a day.
Myrrh Remedy: Add ¼ spoon of myrrh to warm water, gargle with this solution and drink it. Myrrh has a cleansing effect, so it helps to cough out the mucus as well as decreases the infection. Repeat 3 - 4 times a day till you get better.
Garlic: If you can tolerate the taste and smell of garlic, then this is a very good remedy to use. Garlic has antibiotic and antifungal properties, and acts as a natural expectorant. Crush 2 - 3 cloves of garlic and keep eating them daily, till your throat gets better.
Cough Syrups: Many cough syrups are available OTC. So, buy a bottle of cough syrup which acts as an expectorant. However, make sure you get the right bottle, as some bottles come for children while some for adults. Also, some bottles can make you drowsy, so buy the non-drowsy bottles of syrup if you wish to work after taking the cough syrup.
Licorice Tea: Licorice is a natural expectorant. Also, it helps to soothe the throat. Combine licorice tea with peppermint and add honey for taste. Drink this tea twice a day.
Honey and Ginger: Ginger contains oleoresins which helps get rid of excess mucus and fight infection. Honey coats the throat and soothes it. So, take small pieces of fresh ginger and mix it with honey. Chew slowly and swallow the mix.

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Make sure you keep drinking plenty of water, and get adequate rest apart from following the above home remedies.
If the remedies given above don't help to get better within 2 weeks, or if your symptoms become worse, then seek a doctor's help.
Disclaimer: This story is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.