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Doctor insights on: Coughing Up Black Phlegm Non Smoker

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I am coughing up black phlegm and a non smoker. What is going on?

I am coughing up black phlegm and a non smoker. What is going on?

See doctor....: You need to see your doctor so your discolored sputum can be diagnosed and treated. What kind of work do you do? There may be an occupational exposure causing this. Your doctor will likely send a sample to the lab for analysis and to rule out infection. You may need a bronchoscopy, where a lighted scope is passed into your airways. So, see your doctor asap so you can be diagnosed and treated. ...Read more

Dr. Angelina Postoev
900 doctors shared insights

Phlegm (Definition)

Phlegm is the thick, sticky mucus secreted by the surface of the respiratory tract during a cold or other respiratory infection. The respiratory tract includes the nose and sinuses, throat, voice box, bronchi, and lungs. Phlegm is mucus that may contain bacteria, viruses, respiratory surface cells, and inflammatory cells. Normal mucus is not phlegm, but a protective layer secreted ...Read more


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I am coughing up black phlegm. I am a non smoker. What can it be?

I am coughing up black phlegm. I am a non smoker. What can it be?

U: Probably have an upper respiratory infection. If the color is white most probably is a viral infection, if it yellow or green u may need antibiotics so see a doctor. Same thing if it lasts long time, see your physician. ...Read more

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I am experiencing chronic cough with bright yellow phlegm or mucus. The mucus has changed from dark brown/black to yellow. I'm an ex smoker of 1 year?

I am experiencing chronic cough with bright yellow phlegm or mucus. The mucus has changed from dark brown/black to yellow. I'm an ex smoker of 1 year?

Chronic bronchitis?: Congratulations on stopping smoking. But don't expect overnight recovery of your lungs and bronchial tree: it takes up to 5 years to recover from the effects of tobacco smoke. At only 1 year, you remain susceptible to bronchitis, pneumonia, etc. Less dark color of sputum usually is a good sign. But for sure check with your doctor and follow her advice. Good luck! ...Read more

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I have had a cough for 2+ months. In morning shower I cough up phlegm. Cough and runny nose sometimes extends thru the day. I don't feel sick, and a non-smoker.

I have had a cough for 2+ months. In morning shower I cough up phlegm. Cough and runny nose sometimes extends thru the day. I don't feel sick, and a non-smoker.

Chronic cough : A chronic cough with nasal symptoms and not feeling sick sounds like an allergic problem. Allergies are a chronic disease that often is annoying but not severe. When severe, allergy patients can have a worse average quality of life than cancer patients. A chronic cough for two months could be a viral bronchitis resolving slowly, or asthma, or a subacute sinus infection. Time to see an allergist. ...Read more

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Sore throat, persistent painful cough, had high fever, little blood in phlegm, blocked nose. Hot cold flashes, and weakness. Non smoker. Serious?

Sore throat, persistent painful cough, had high fever, little blood in phlegm, blocked nose. Hot cold flashes, and weakness. Non smoker. Serious?

Seasonal flu: is very common viral infection. Usually the condition resolves on its own with home care. Drink water and get a good rest. NSAIDs (e.g. Aleve, Advil) or Tylenol (acetaminophen) are also recommended every 6 hours. If concerned, see your PCP for examination. ...Read more

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How can I stop a bad cough- non-smoker - non productive cough - lasted 6 days

Wait a bit: Sometimes these coughs can take time to go away. Mucinex (guaifenesin) can help sometimes, too. But, be patient. Hopefully it will go away. Good luck and feel better! ...Read more

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When I wake up I have to hack up some phlegm. ( very little) it is brown in color. I am 38 f. Former smoker. I don't have a cough. Is this normal?

When I wake up I have to hack up some phlegm.  ( very little) it is brown in color. I am 38 f. Former smoker. I don't have a cough. Is this normal?

Maybe postnasal drip: Mild nasal allergies can cause some muscus dripping in back of throat/mouth and collects there during sleep and can turn a bit brown in the am. During day, little mucus/drip is pulled down by gravity, but when sleeping mucus tends to stay in back of throat and thus productive coughing/coughing in the early am. If worsens, call doc for eval. Good luck. ...Read more

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I am a smoker and cough up green phlegm a lot through the night. Why is this?

Chronic bronchitis: Smokers are more likely to cough at night and first thing in the morning because the smoke damages the lungs ability to clean itself so mucus sits during periods of inactivity, becomes discolored, and then is coughed out. If the green mucus is recent consider viral illness or pneumonia. ...Read more

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Is it good idea for smokers to take mucinex-d everyday? It makes u cough up more phlegm so wouldnt it make u cough up more tar and other junk as well?

Is it good idea for smokers to take mucinex-d everyday? It makes u cough up more phlegm so wouldnt it make u cough up more tar and other junk as well?

Hi John,BP check: Hi John, please check with your primary doctor to see if you can take Mucinex (guaifenesin) D for more than a few days as the D ingredient can raise your BP. It's safer to take the plain Mucinex (guaifenesin) (without D). Kind regards. ...Read more

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Originally expelling bright yellow phlegm but gradually developed cough with clear phlegm, brown flecks. Former smoker, 10 months off. 2 week timeline?

Originally expelling bright yellow phlegm but gradually developed cough with clear phlegm, brown flecks. Former smoker, 10 months off. 2 week timeline?

Bronchitis?: Pneumonia ? You need a chest x- ray beside an exam. See your doctor. I hope this helps. If you want to talk more about it contact me by e-mail or text chat or video chat at www.healthtap.com/dryetimyan ...Read more

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I have been sick over 2 monthsi can't get rid of cough and yellow phlegm. I'm not a smoker. what can I do?

I have been sick over 2 monthsi can't get rid of cough and yellow phlegm. I'm not a smoker. what can I do?

Have you seen doctor: If you have had cough and purulent sputum for over 2 months, you have some kind of serious respiratory infection. While smokers certainly get more of these, non-smokers can get any kind of infection as well. Your doctor needs to examine you, take a full history, probably get samples of your sputum for testing and probably a Chest Xray or other imaging studies of your lungs. See your doc NOW. ...Read more

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My mom has COPD and is a former smoker. I have never been a smoker. How likely is it that I will develope copd? I cough and have a lot of phlegm in the morning.

My mom has COPD and is a former smoker. I have never been a smoker. How likely is it that I will develope copd? I cough and have a lot of phlegm in the morning.

Copd: Are you a smoker or exposed to second hand smoke? If so you may be at risk of developing copd. Already you have cough and phlegm. Other things you have to look for is Alpha trypsin deficiency which can cause emphysema. ...Read more

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I am a smoker, and i have always phlegm without cough,pain or fever.recently i felt a breathing problem ONLY after smoking .Exercise,night breath fine

I am a smoker, and i have always phlegm without cough,pain or fever.recently i felt a breathing problem ONLY after smoking .Exercise,night breath fine

What's The Message??: So what else will it take to get you to quit (or at least cut down) smoking? At 32 this should not be happening. Yeah, it might be a cold or flu but obviously it's affecting you enough to ask for advice. So here it is: stop smoking, or at least cut back (anyone can cut back to 5 a day). Many people end-up quitting when the lungs are more far-gone than yours might be. You'll heal fine. ...Read more

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Cough up phlegm from smoking marijuana? Am i already getting a smokers cough? I've been smoking mj past 3 months daily. Could this cause this?

Cough up phlegm from smoking marijuana? Am i already getting a smokers cough? I've been smoking mj past 3 months daily. Could this cause this?

Yes, it could be: Smoking any substance irritates the airways and lungs and can lead to coughing, mucous, etc. So yes, your cough could be caused by your smoking. Of course, mj can cause other side effects as well. ...Read more

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Should i get checked for copd? Been a smoker for 3 years and no serious medical conditions. However, cough phlegm and occasional shortness of breath.

Should i get checked for copd? Been a smoker for 3 years and no serious medical conditions. However, cough phlegm and occasional shortness of breath.

Not likely: Chances are that you do not have COPD after three years of smoking, unless you smoke 4 packs a day or have other underlying conditions that could predispose you to copd. But if you are having new symptoms of shortness of breath then you should get checked out. ...Read more

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Can you cough up phlegm with black bits in whilst taking certain vitamin tablets?

Can you cough up phlegm with black bits in whilst taking certain vitamin tablets?

Phlegm: Yes, you can cough up phlegm with black bits while taking vitamin tablets. Your specks you see in it are not parts of those tablets, as they are dissolved in your stomach. See a physician to see what is causing your cough. Good luck. ...Read more

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Can Chronic cough for more than two months due to environmental allergens cause black and rusty phlegm for four days and then becomes white ?

Can Chronic cough for more than two months due to environmental allergens cause black and rusty phlegm for four days and then becomes white ?

See either ENT or: Get checked by either ENT or Lung specialist to check for the presence of some toxin, pathogen, or allergen present in the respiratory tissues. Presentation of exudate could vary. ...Read more

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Is it normal to cough up blackish phlegm after you quit smoking?

Is it normal to cough up blackish phlegm after you quit smoking?

Congratulations!: Quitting smoking was one of the most important things you can do for your health so i'm very excited for you. How long ago did you stop? If it was recently, your body may still be ridding itself of the many toxins and particles you were inhaling before. If it is lasting for more than a few weeks, please see your specialist in adult care- family medicine or internal medicine. ...Read more

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Is it normal to cough up black phlegm even after you quit smoking?

Is it normal to cough up black phlegm even after you quit smoking?

Even more so: What your lungs are doing are cleaning themselves out. The black stuff is what was down there! now, your little hair cells and airways have recovered from being smoked on constantly and are working, bringing up the accumulated mucus and assorted crap. It can go on for weeks, and rarely longer. Stick with it and congrats on a great choice! don't falter, have a support system, stick with it. ...Read more

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Is it true that when you quit smoking you start to cough up a bunch of black phlegm?

Is it true that when you quit smoking you start to cough up a bunch of black phlegm?

See below : Smoking paralyzes the ability to mobilize lung secretions. This will resolve as one stops smoking and may present as increased lung secretions during the first few weeks after stopping. ...Read more

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I cough up black phlegm, i quit smoking long ago. I used to sandblast for years using coal slag. Will this go away? Ever

I cough up black phlegm,  i quit smoking long ago. I used to sandblast for years using coal slag. Will this go away? Ever

Pulmonary: Chances are it will especially since your are young. However if you have not had a chest xray recently it would be a good idea to get one. ...Read more

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Hi I have been having sore throat and dry resistant cough for about a month. I am coughing out phlegm that has black specks for about 2 weeks now. ?

Hi I have been having sore throat and dry resistant cough for about a month. I am coughing out phlegm that has black specks for about 2 weeks now. ?

? Non-productive cou: Have you talked to your doc about the possibility of an asthmatic cough. Many underlying causes for this including infection, cold temperatures, exercise-induced, allergens, emotional upset. You should see your doc and go from there. ...Read more

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Smoker! my throught hurts every morning and I cough up flem?

Possibilities...: It sounds like you may have chronic bronchitis, a form of copd. Other possible diagnoses include bronchospasm from some other cause, gerd, sinus problems or a combination of factors. Smoking cessation is imperative to decrease airway inflammation. See your doctor for diagnosis since each of these has a different treatment. Your doctor can also help with smoking cessation. ...Read more

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Smoker w/ productive cough (clear) for 3+ mos. Severe pinpoint pain left of spine & medial of scapula w/ resps, cough, & movement. NSAIDs don't help.

Smoker w/ productive cough (clear) for 3+ mos.  Severe pinpoint pain left of spine & medial of scapula w/ resps, cough, & movement. NSAIDs don't help.

Time for X-ray or ct: Three months is a long time to have a cough. Antitussives Usually it might be helpful but after three months I would recommend more radiographic information to rule out anything significant particularly lung cancer or lung mass. ...Read more

Dr. Sue Ferranti
3,525 doctors shared insights

Cough (Definition)

The cough reflex is a protective mechanism that uses muscles in your throat and chest to expel mucous and saliva that may contain pathogens that would otherwise possibly be inhaled via aerosol or to expel pathogens infecting the throat and respiratory system. Cough benefits the host by reducing load and benefits the pathogen which may then spread via aerosol. ...Read more


Dr. Sue Ferranti
588 doctors shared insights

Productive Cough (Definition)

cough which ...Read more