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Doctor insights on: What Does Coughing Up Green Phlegm Mean

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Dr. Amrita Dosanjh
Board Certified, Pediatric Pulmonology
30 years in practice
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Dr. Rashed Hasan
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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. Nayla Mumneh
Board Certified, Allergy and Immunology
23 years in practice
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What does it mean when you cough up a string thick green phlegm?

What does it mean when you cough up a string thick green phlegm?

Infection: You may have a viral infection or a bacterial bronchitis. If the symptoms persist, you need to see your doctor for an antibiotic. ...Read more

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Dr. Rashed Hasan
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Dr. John Hammer
Board Certified, Infectious Disease
27 years in practice
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Can trouble swallowing, body aches, excess mucus in throat , cough. And green phlegm mean throat cancer?

Can trouble swallowing, body aches, excess mucus in throat , cough. And green phlegm mean throat cancer?

Not likely : These symptoms are more indicative of infection (either viral or bacterial). Cancers can lead to a secondary infection though, and if they don't fully resolve with time or treatment you should consider bringing this possibility up with your provider, especially if you smoke. ...Read more

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Dr. Martin Raff
Board Certified, Infectious Disease
50 years in practice
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Had the flu 3 weeks ago, lasted just over a week and since then have had a cough. Just recently I have been coughing up green phlegm. Is that bad?

Had the flu 3 weeks ago, lasted just over a week and since then have had a cough. Just recently I have been coughing up green phlegm. Is that bad?

Not necessarily: If you are feeling well otherwise this may simply be your body clearing out material from the inflammation. If, however, you have trouble breathing, fever, chest pain, or other symptoms, go and see a doctor asap. Good luck. ...Read more

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Dr. Rashed Hasan
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Dr. Peter Ihle
Board Certified, Orthopedic Surgery
48 years in practice
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I had green phlegm for about 3 weeks with a cough and phlegm is no longer green is it necessary to still seek medical attention?

I had green phlegm for about 3 weeks with a cough and phlegm is no longer green is it necessary to still seek medical attention?

Maybe not: If u r feeling better and less sick, no temperature u may have had a viral infection and ur body has won. If u continue 2 improve u may b ok. But any worsening of ur cough or u have a color change again b cn. That would b what i personally would do. 4 peace of mind u should c u r pcp? ...Read more

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Dr. Yash Khanna
Board Certified, Family Medicine
51 years in practice
131M people helped
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I'm a teenager Coughing for over a month now with green phlegm and also finished a bottle of cough syrup but to no avail?

I'm a teenager Coughing for over a month now with green phlegm and also finished a bottle of cough syrup but to no avail?

Consult your Doctor: You have had cough with green phlegm for over a month You should consult you Doctor for diagnosis and treatment.You may need antibiotics after diagnosis is established ...Read more

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Dr. Luis Taylor
Board Certified, Pulmonology
33 years in practice
286K people helped
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I have a cough that produces green phlegm and when i lay on either side i hear like a whistling noise what is it?

I have a cough that produces green phlegm and when i lay on either side i hear like a whistling noise what is it?

Wheezes: Wheezes are high pitched sounds coming from mucus filled airway.The force of air through mucus creates the sound of wheeze, like a wind instrument.. ...Read more

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Dr. Mark Loury
Board Certified, ENT and Head and Neck Surgery
33 years in practice
1M people helped
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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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Dr. Richard Zimon
Board Certified, Internal Medicine
53 years in practice
2M people helped
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I have been coughing green phlegm for two months now and i also have a cough and flu?

I have been coughing green phlegm for two months now and i also have a cough and flu?

Green: phlegm may mean you have a tracheobronchitis which is often due to PNEUMOCOCCUS a BACTERIA which may appear green in mucous! You may need a short course of antibiotics at this point! Call your PCP (Primary Care Provider) as soon as practicable! Hope this helps! Dr Z ...Read more

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Dr. Donald Colantino
Board Certified, Internal Medicine
55 years in practice
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When i cough, gray phlegm comes out, sometimes white. What does it mean?

When i cough, gray phlegm comes out, sometimes white. What does it mean?

Bronchitis: This cough producing discolored and also clearer sputum could be due to a bronchial infection which often follows a head cold. It could be due to allergies or postnatal drip. Your doctor could diagnose it after an exam. ...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. Rashed Hasan
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