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Doctor insights on: Coughing Up Clear Sticky Phlegm

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Dr. Sunil Mehra
Board Certified, Pulmonology
38 years in practice
348K people helped
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Dr. Crystal Twynham
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Dr. Angelina Postoev
768 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


Dr. Christopher Guzik
Board Certified, Family Medicine
18 years in practice
728K people helped
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I feel like theres a sticky phlegm that even I clear my throat and nose its still there and im having difficulty breathing. I don't have cough. Help!?

I feel like theres a sticky phlegm that even I clear my throat and nose its still there and im having difficulty breathing. I don't have cough. Help!?

Allergies possible: Allergic rhinitis or non allergic prenial rhinitis can both give a feeling of sticky mucus in the back of the throat. See you healthcare provider to determine which condition you may have. ...Read more

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Dr. Crystal Twynham
Board Certified
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Dr. Nader Roheny
Board Certified, Internal Medicine
75K people helped
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I have had a consistent cough on and off for 3 months. Phlegm is clear and the cough is not severe however it is persistent. Any suggestion?

I have had a consistent cough on and off for 3 months. Phlegm is clear and the cough is not severe however it is persistent. Any suggestion?

Need to see a doctor: More information is needed and you need to see a doctor for a diagnosis, asthma, acid reflux, post nasal drip due to allergic rhinitis , are the main causes of a chronic cough in a young person, in addition to a history and an exam performed by the doctor , chest x ray , pulmonary function tests, blood work might be needed to make a diagnosis. ...Read more

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Dr. Bradford Romans
Board Certified, Internal Medicine
31 years in practice
8M people helped
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Dr. Crystal Twynham
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Dr. Carlos Orrego
Board Certified, Cardiology
22 years in practice
196K people helped
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I am producing clear thick phlegm after I recuperate from cough.. Is that normal?

I am producing clear thick phlegm after I recuperate from cough.. Is that normal?

Normal: Yes, respiratory infections by some viruses might take longer to recuperate and cause cough for several weeks after acute infections. ...Read more

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Dr. Oscar Novick
Board Certified, Pediatrics
52 years in practice
54M people helped
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Dr. C Jeffrey Holmes
Board Certified, Family Medicine
30 years in practice
38K people helped
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7
Cough with phlegm coming from my sinus what can I take to clear up ?

Depends: If symptoms have lasted less than 7days, use Ibuprofen 400 3 times a day for 3days, then as needed. Take 2 showers a day, as warm as you can tolerate, run the water right on your face to heat and and humidify the mucous, so you can cough it up and blow your nose more easily, then put mentholatum right under your nostrils. The eucalyptus in mentholatum works. If symptoms worse and > 10d, see doc. ...Read more

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Dr. Georgia Latham
Board Certified, Family Medicine
29 years in practice
1M people helped
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Woke up in the middle of the night feeling like my airways are swollen. Had cough with phlegm.and everytime i cough it seems to clear a bit?

Woke up in the middle of the night feeling like my airways are swollen. Had cough with phlegm.and everytime i cough it seems to clear a bit?

Bronchitis: is an inflammation of the lining of the airways (bronchial tubes). The inflammation (swelling) of the inner wall of the bronchial tube, causes narrowing the space for air exchange. The space is further increased by secretions. When you cough up thickened mucus, it allows more space for air exchange. Acute bronchitis is most commonly caused by viruses, and rarely requires antibiotics to clear. ...Read more

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Dr. Peter Hahn
Board Certified, Pulmonary Critical Care
18 years in practice
97K people helped
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Cough for about 3 years. Different coloured phlegm...Green, yellow, clear, thick, and bloody?

Cough for about 3 years. Different coloured phlegm...Green, yellow, clear, thick, and bloody?

Depends: Generally, a chronic cough is defined as one lasting more than 8 weeks. The most common causes include post nasal drainage, reflux, and asthma. Depending on the cause, the treatment is different. For example for asthma, inhaled corticosteroids are the mainstay. It's best to see your doctor for testing to determine cause. Your smoking status is also important. ...Read more

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Dr. Rachel Chastanet
Board Certified, Bariatrics
28 years in practice
331K people helped
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I'm 68. I had acute bronchitis 7 months ago. This past month I bring up clear phlegm. I don't have a cough-I just cough when I feel congested?

I'm 68.  I had acute bronchitis 7 months ago. This past month I bring up clear phlegm.  I don't have a cough-I just cough when I feel  congested?

Irritated bronchi: Clear mucus generally indicates some inflammation (irritation) without infection. If you never smoked or had asthma, this might be allergic or due to an irritant, or might represent a response to a mild viral infection. If you get a fever, your mucus changes, or if the cough worsens or persists longer than another week or two, you should see your doctor. ...Read more

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Dr. Sue Ferranti
3,231 doctors shared insights

Cough (Definition)

Coughing is an important way to keep your throat and airways clear. However, excessive coughing may mean you have an underlying disease or disorder. Some coughs are dry, while others are considered productive. A productive cough is one ...Read more


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Dr. Crystal Twynham
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