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Doctor insights on: Yellow Mucus Viral Or Bacterial

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How do you know if thick yellow/green mucous is bacterial or viral and if antibiotics are needed? Don't want unnecessary antibiotics.

How do you know if thick yellow/green mucous is bacterial or viral and if antibiotics are needed?  Don't want unnecessary antibiotics.

Bronchitis: The color and thickness of the mucus tells you nothing. By itself, it's not a reason for antibiotics. If you also had fever, shortness of breath, and/or chest pain, then you should be checked for pneumonia. ...Read more

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Dr. William Forsythe
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Mucus (Definition)

Like material that functions to moisten and protect inner body surfaces. The viscous slippery substance that consists chiefly of mucin, water, cells, and inorganic salts and that is secreted as a protective lubricant coating by the cells and glands of the mucous membranes. The free slime of the mucous membranes, composed of secretion of the glands, various salts, ...Read more


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Can cough, greenish yellow phlegm/mucus and head/ear congestion persist for awhile after a viral URI? Feel better except for these things. No fever.

Can cough, greenish yellow phlegm/mucus and head/ear congestion persist for awhile after a viral URI? Feel better except for these things. No fever.

Maybe: without an exam, I can only give general information, but classically after an inflammatory process in the upper respiratory area, the body is more susceptible to secondary infection with whatever germs are there. Strep and mouth germs are the most common causes and these often require antibiotics. ...Read more

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Dr. William Forsythe
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Over week of sinus problems. Nasal congestion & a lot of pressure. Blowing nose alot. Today mucus is neon green, now egg yolk yellow is this bacterial?

Over week of sinus problems. Nasal congestion & a lot of pressure. Blowing nose alot. Today mucus is neon green, now egg yolk yellow is this bacterial?

Likely not: Yellowish, greenish pus is consistent with a bacterial infection though a viral sinusitis can also produce similar symptoms. Bacterial sinusitis is much more severe in symptoms, though. ...Read more

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Coughing up mucus from lungs. Its yellowish green and it tastes horrible. Does that mean it's bacterial or viral?

Coughing up mucus from lungs. Its yellowish green and it tastes horrible. Does that mean it's bacterial or viral?

Productive cough: We used to think that colored mucus was a sure sign of a bacterial infection, but that is not always the case. Often, discolored mucus may be draining from the sinuses vs the lungs. Get an evaluation if this persists. ...Read more

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Dr. William Forsythe
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2 1/2 weeks ago developed bronchitis - 1 wk w/amox - dr wouldn't prescribe more - said this was prob viral - now it's in my head & sinuses & cough - yellow mucus & phlegm. It's prob still viral, right?

2 1/2 weeks ago developed bronchitis - 1 wk w/amox - dr wouldn't prescribe more - said this was prob viral - now it's in my head & sinuses & cough - yellow mucus & phlegm. It's prob still viral, right?

Bronchitis: Your infection may be viral but could also be caused by a bacteria that was not adequately treated by amoxicillin. If your symptoms persist, you should have your md evaluate this further. There are also other medications that could help your symptoms as well. ...Read more

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What are the symptoms and mucus appearance due to fungal lung infection (vs. Bacterial or viral)? How are fungal lung infections diagnosed?

What are the symptoms and mucus appearance due to fungal lung infection (vs. Bacterial or viral)?  How are fungal lung infections diagnosed?

Diagnosis: Mucus appearance does not give us diagnosis nor really give us a clue as to type of most of the time even the presence of infection. Lung infections with fungi are diagnosed when a person who had been to an area endemic for a fungus presents with symptoms, cxr taken, some clues are seen, and either a titer (blood reaction) or sputum by expectoration or fob, stains positive and grows the fungus. ...Read more

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I have sore throat with congestion and have been blowing out green mucus. Head also hurts an ears pain little bit. Is this viral or bacterial? Pls hlp

I have sore throat with congestion and have been blowing out green mucus. Head also hurts an ears pain little bit. Is this viral or bacterial? Pls hlp

Green mucus headache: It is difficult to say, majority of patients with symptoms like yours are self limiting and caused by viruses, i will wait and if dont feel better and have fever will go to the doctor.You can use saline nose spray and some decongestant like sudafed. ...Read more

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I have a sore throat, bad cough, coughing up mucus headaches, ear fullness/pain/throbbing, weak body, nausea/some vomiting. Is it viral or bacterial?

I have a sore throat, bad cough, coughing up mucus headaches, ear fullness/pain/throbbing, weak body, nausea/some vomiting. Is it viral or bacterial?

Viral: It is most likely viral given that you are young and a non-smoker. Since you are pregnant I would see your family doctor or urgent care to be evaluated to make sure and get treatment if needed. ...Read more

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Color light yellow, turgidity slightly hazy, specific gravity6.0,protein plus 1, sugar plus 1, pus cells more than 100/hpf, bacteria few, mucus thread?

Color light yellow, turgidity slightly hazy, specific gravity6.0,protein plus 1, sugar plus 1, pus cells more than 100/hpf, bacteria few, mucus thread?

UTI: This sounds like you have a urinary tract infection and also diabetes. Please see a doctor as soon as possible for treatment for the UTI and to determine if you have diabetes. You should not have pus and glucose in your urine. ...Read more

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Bacteria (Definition)

Are omnipresent single celled organisms which are the both the simplest form of life and the original form of life on earth. The are ...Read more


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Dr. William Forsythe
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