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Doctor insights on: Coughing Up Light Brown Phlegm

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I'm coughing up light brown phlegm, how do I stop this?

I'm coughing up light brown phlegm, how do I stop this?

Go see your doctor: We used to determine need for antibiotics based upon phlegm color but no more. Majority of upper respiratory illnesses are due to viruses which won't respond to antibiotics, just time. Average duration of cough illness is 18 days. Best to go see your family doc to determine whether antibiotics are warranted in your situation or not. ...Read more

Dr. Angelina Postoev
925 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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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've been coughing for 5 days and just now after woke up and cough I had brown phlegm what could this be? This is the first time and after its clear

I've been coughing for 5 days and just now after woke up and cough I had brown phlegm what could this be? This is the first time and after its clear

Could be a little: Blood, but not to be alarmed. The most common cause of blood in sputum is simple bronchitis.C ur doc for a diagnosis and treatment. ...Read more

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Have cough 12 days now coughing up brown phlegm do I need to see doc or will it go away on its own?

Have cough 12 days now coughing up brown phlegm do I need to see doc or will it go away on its own?

ACUTE BRONCHITIS: Your symptoms are consistent with acute bronchitis. You need to be reevaluated labs and CXR done to rule out pneumonia. You will probably need a course of antibiotics and a nebulizer to give deeper penetration for medication Please get evaluated promptly! If cough and wheezing are progressive a course of steroids may be tried. Cough generates do to spasming is alveoli in lungs. ...Read more

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Some mornings I wake up and hack up some yellow/brown phlegm. Its usually when I first wake up. I don't have a cough or feel sick. Is this normal?

Some mornings I wake up and hack up some yellow/brown phlegm. Its usually when I first wake up. I don't have a cough or feel sick. 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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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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How long does cough last after quitting smoking? Quit week ago. Coughing up a lot of brown and clear phlegm

How long does cough last after quitting smoking? Quit week ago. Coughing up a lot of brown and clear phlegm

First of all: Congratulations on quitting! The cough could certainly last a few weeks while your lungs start to clear. If the cough persists for longer and is accompanied by any other symptoms you should see your doctor. Stay healthy! ...Read more

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Cough, brown-yellow phlegm, and feeling "under the weather" for 3days. Similar symptoms 3wks ago, took course of ZMax and resolved. What to do?

Cough, brown-yellow phlegm, and feeling "under the weather" for 3days. Similar symptoms 3wks ago, took course of ZMax and resolved. What to do?

Colored phlegm: Having this come back after Z max suggest that your nasal cilia are not working to remove bacteria.

Humming, green tea with lemon and honey helps.

Ask your doctor about using the Hydro Pulse Nasal/Sinus irrigator to clear this up. The Hydro Pulse restores the nasal cilia
see www. Grossan. Com ...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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Do u believe the color of phlegm in the morning is BEST way to tell if you sick or not? Cough on/off during day. White to brown. I smoke. Stuffy nose

Not generally: Color of phlegm can change to green or yellow in the absence of bacterial infection, and brown is generally just associated with the continued smoking. It sounds like you have chronic bronchitis, and continued smoking is going to cause more harm, including emphysema/COPD. You need to stop. Please talk to your doctor about ways to help you quit smoking and improve your cough and your health. ...Read more

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Age 4 son. Cough two months. Brown white phlegm. Gp prescribed steroid pump. Ineffective. Advice please?

Age 4 son. Cough two months. Brown white phlegm. Gp prescribed steroid pump. Ineffective. Advice please?

Return for follow up: If you have used the steroid pump consistently for a week and it has not helped, further evaluation is needed. Most common causes of cough for 2 months would be recurrent viral infections, secondary bacterial infection not treated, sinus infection, GE reflux or asthma. The steroid inhaler helps the asthma and residual inflammation from viral infections. ...Read more

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For the last couple weeks I wake up to spit brown phlegm. Small amount. After I spit it up it is clear. No cough or fever. What could this be. 38 f?

For the last couple weeks I wake up to spit brown phlegm. Small amount. After I spit it up it is clear. No cough or fever. What could this be. 38 f?

Do you smoke?: If you smoke and cough up brown phlegm, i'd say it's dried blood. That's why the phlegm's clear after you spit, cause it's not actively bleeding, it just has been. Thing is, if it happens repeatedly, something's going on in your lungs to make them bleed repeatedly. Makes me bothered to hear about brown phlegm when I can't listen to your chest or look into your throat. Hope I'm a worrywart! ...Read more

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1 week dry cough, with sometimes (once or twice a day) brown phlegm. Should I buy an expectorant or antitussive?

1 week dry cough, with sometimes (once or twice a day) brown phlegm. Should I buy an expectorant or antitussive?

Cough: Do you have fever or chills? Any chest pain?
You might need to get a cxr to exclude the possibility of having pneumonia since the treatment will be of antibiotics. It is possible also that you have allergic symptoms or even asthma. I would rather give a treatment of the cause of the cough than the cough itself. ...Read more

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I've had body aches, headaches, cough/ green & now brownish-grey phlegm for a week and it's not letting up. My 2 yr old seems normal, pneumonia?  

I've had body aches, headaches, cough/ green & now brownish-grey phlegm for a week and it's not letting up. My 2 yr old seems normal, pneumonia?  

Certainly possible: Surprisingly, bacterial pneumonia is less contagious, but often more worrisome than viral. Worsening symptoms for a week is concerning for a pneumonia and should be evaluated by a doctor. Also, knowing exactly what you have would be good for your 2-yo...To hopefully prevent them from getting sick, or at least know how to treat it quicker. ...Read more

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Every morning I cough up brown phlegm. I don't have a fever. I'm always short of breath and feel heavy in my chest. I don't smoke.

Every morning I cough up brown phlegm. I don't have a fever. I'm always short of breath and feel heavy in my chest. I don't smoke.

Get checked: Chest heaviness and shortness of breath in a 43yo male could implicate heart disease and you need to be checked for potential risk factors. Mucus is secreted all along the respiratory tract to catch particulates and as a barrier to infection, so some process (irritant exposure, infection, allergy, structural abnormality) is inducing its production. More info is needed to help predict cause. ...Read more

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Light brown specks in phlegm, in the morning. Clears up during the day. No cough, no chest pain, no fever. Frequently congested noise. Diagnosed with lpr?

Light brown specks in phlegm, in the morning. Clears up during the day. No cough, no chest pain, no fever. Frequently congested noise. Diagnosed with lpr?

LPR: Your specks may be coming from your nose and represent dried up blood. Use saline nose drop especially before bed time and use a vaporizer to keep your nasal passages clear. ...Read more

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Fever 102+ horrible cough dark yellowish brownish hard phlegm. Headaches chills sleeplessness congestion. For about a week. Please help?

See a doctor: See your doctor and be careful not to spread this to others or yourself in the future. Drink lots of water, rest and eat nutritious small bits whenever you can. Follow doctors advice once you are seen. I hope you feel better soon. ...Read more

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My Phlegm is a rust brown color. I have a deep cough, shortness of breathe, severe chest pain, and night sweats. I have chronic costrocondritis?

My Phlegm is a rust brown color. I have a deep cough, shortness of breathe, severe chest pain, and night sweats. I have chronic costrocondritis?

Blood in sputum?: The description of your phlegm makes me think that blood could be discoloring it, which would obviously be concerning, especially in light of your other symptoms. Are you a smoker? How old are you? You may need some testing soon - CT scan, bronchoscopy. ...Read more

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Had flu-like symptoms (tiredness, mild ache) 2-3 days ago; that subsided but still intermittent cough w/thick yellow-brown phlegm. What should I do?

Had flu-like symptoms (tiredness, mild ache) 2-3 days ago; that subsided but still intermittent cough w/thick yellow-brown phlegm. What should I do?

Sounds viral: Drink plenty of fluids and get eight hours of sleep every night! Eat healthy and take some decongestant/ expectorant if allergy medicine does not help with coughing from Postnasal drip. See doctor if condition worsened, you may have a bacterial infection that requires antibiotics. ...Read more

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I woke up yesterday with a cough and so sore to cough today I have a /hoarseness voice and coughing up brown phlegm I also quit smoking 2 days ago?

I woke up yesterday with a cough and so sore to cough today I have a /hoarseness voice and coughing up brown phlegm I also quit smoking 2 days ago?

Smoking: Smoke can paralyze the cilia that beat gunk from the airways out of our body. When you stop smoking they can become active again and start to move gunk out. Please hydrate well. Congratulations on decision to stop smoking. ...Read more

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I quit smoking marijuana ive been a heavy user but now I stopped cold turkey and I cough out phlegm with brown specks and left lung hurts sometimes?

I quit smoking marijuana ive been a heavy user but now I stopped cold turkey and I cough out phlegm with brown specks and left lung hurts sometimes?

See a doctor: The symptoms might be caused by irritation of your airways or lung tissue, but might also represent an infection of the airways (bronchitis) or lungs (pneumonia). It is best to see a doctor as soon as possible. If you develop difficulty breathing in the meantime it would be best to go to the ER. Good luck! ...Read more

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No fever, cough white/yellow/brownish phlegm. Started 2 day ago. I do smoke, drink diet coke, stuffy nose. I Do have MG. & also under stress! Need Dr?

Probably: Anyone with MG can have it worsen quickly with seemingly normal "hiccups" of life. This can lead to a lengthy hospitalization. In general, any abnormality in the usual health of someone with MG should prompt a doctor visit. ...Read more

Dr. Sue Ferranti
3,613 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
625 Doctors shared insights

Productive Cough (Definition)

Cough which ...Read more