Signs of Acute Bronchitis: Coughing up Mucus

Signs of Acute Bronchitis: Coughing up Mucus

Coughing up yellow and green mucus, fatigue, soreness in the chest: these are the symptoms of bronchitis. The acute form of bronchitis is usually a chest cold gone bad. The bronchial tubes in the lungs become inflamed which produces mucus and creates a cough.

Other signs of bronchitis include a mild headache, body aches, a low-grade fever, watery eyes and a sore throat. Most of these symptoms will last up to two miserable weeks, but the cough might linger for up to 8 weeks. The same type of viruses that cause colds often causes acute bronchitis.

Antibiotics are rarely needed since a virus causes most cases of bronchitis and antibiotics do not kill infections caused by viruses. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed can be harmful.

Bronchiolitis is a little different and is an inflammation of the small passages in the lungs (bronchioles). The disease usually affects children under the age of 2, with a peak age of 3 to 6 months. At first symptoms may resemble the symptoms of a common cold with a runny nose and slight fever for a few days. Children typically begin to cough and breathe fast and wheeze for another 2-3 days. Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is the most common cause. This virus is transmitted by direct contact with nasal fluids, or airborne droplets. RSV generally causes only mild symptoms in an adult, but it can be very serious in an infant.

Again antibiotics are not recommended for this condition and the illness will run its course in about a week. How do you get symptom relief while you are waiting for these viral infections to pass? For upper respiratory infections such as colds, bronchitis, and bronchiolitis follow these home remedies:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Use a humidifier to help keep passages from drying out
  • Avoid smoking, second-hand smoke and other pollutants
  • Take over the counter medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen to relieve pain or fever.

Remember that over the counter medicines such as pain relievers, decongestants and saline nasal sprays only relieve your symptoms, but they do not shorten the course of the illness. Remember to always use over the counter products as directed.

Chronic bronchitis is more common with cigarette smokers and lasts a long time. People with chronic bronchitis experience a productive cough with mucus for 3 months out of 12 for over 2 consecutive years. This condition may never resolve completely.

Another condition that has similar symptoms to bronchitis is pneumonia. Pneumonia can be very serious and appropriate medical management such as at St. Louis Urgent Cares, should be sought if pneumonia is suspected, as a chest x-ray is often needed. Pneumonia symptoms include a high fever (as opposed to no or a low fever in cases of bronchitis), chills, shaking and shortness of breath/difficulty breathing. If you or your child suffers from a cold that moves into your chest and lingers, it might be bronchitis or bronchiolitis. If you start to experience a high fever, shortness of breath, and extreme discomfort you might have a more serious condition of pneumonia. Keep a close eye on any respiratory viral infections and follow the symptom relief protocols above for comfort.


14 comments (Add your own)

1. Jessica wrote:
I've read other places that coughing up green mucos means that your infection is coming to an end, and now this site and some others say ot bad and you've got bronchitis.....so which is it?? Am I getting better or worse?? I did lose my voice for an entire day and its back now and my sore throat has gotten better.....any awnsers????

Wed, August 7, 2013 @ 18:04

2. brandy wrote:
The green mucus just means that you have an infection. Depending where the infection is and what caused it, gives it the name such as bronchitis, flu, etc. What's important is that you keep coughing up the green yucky stuff. If you don't, that cold dampness in your lungs will continue to be an excellent place for bacteria to grow. Try staying as active as possible, even if that means just walking around your house a few times an hr...this will help with coughing up the junk. also try sitting in a hot steamy shower. the humidity will help to loosen up the mucus and make it easier to cough up.

Fri, August 16, 2013 @ 12:26

3. Jesse wrote:
I've been coughing up clear/white with a very hard to see yellow in it. I've been coughing up stuff for a few weeks now. I never got a fever, or headache from it or lost my voice. Sometimes I feel the phlegm in my throat but it won't come up, like it's there and ready to come up but I cough dry, then I get lucky and I cough some up. It doesn't hurt to take a deep breath or anything. I know what's it like to have pneumonia and bronchitis, so it's neither of those, our a cold. Ant ideas?

Tue, September 10, 2013 @ 1:42

4. Magdalena Chavez wrote:
For the past 3 years I have being coughing up nesty yellow mucus and I only cough when I fill the thick mucus coming out if you have any sugestions please tell me I'll be really thankful.

Wed, September 11, 2013 @ 14:06

5. Magdalena Chavez wrote:
Problem spitting thick yellow mucus for the past 4 years I'm tired of having this, please if you have sugections let me know tks.

Wed, September 11, 2013 @ 14:11

6. Magdalena wrote:

Wed, September 11, 2013 @ 14:12

7. paige wrote:
I have a slight cough that like starts small then the nexts few coughs get bigger til this huge amount of green thick stuff comes out ... I'm not worried about me however I have a nine week old baby and I'm worried for her do I go in is this just a cold can I get her sick is my question ?

Sun, September 29, 2013 @ 11:02

8. cookie wrote:
I too have this cough and I have got treatment with drugs and everything even several shots AND NOTHING IS HELPING ME GET RID OF THIS THICK MUCUS ANY SUGGESTS PLEASE HELP.

Thu, October 31, 2013 @ 17:28

9. Mickey wrote:
Hi everyone, I made a comment last year, regarding a cough I had? I was coughing up white phlegm and wondered why? Went doctors on several occasions, maxed out on antibiotics? Then the summer came and it slowly cleared up after roughly six months.... Then this morning went to work, I am a window cleaner... I put fresh water in van on Monday morning, then it started to rain and hasn't stopped since? It's now Friday morning, so have not been to work but water was still fresh? I thought? Well I thought change it anyway because I was tired and just plodding lol anyway when I emptied the fresh water from Monday into the road I instantly noticed the same white phlegm I had been coughing up before in the water? So a simple assessment says I worked last year with this water and it made me ill eg... Breathing in, splashing my tools in it etc... Water carries lots of germs etc.. So without realising this you could of worked with stagnant water or even been exposed to it for a while? It could be anything from rinsing your hands and not drying them properly? But please don't worry If you like me you think you dead haha this ain't true ;) it's just in these winter months make sure you dry hands proerly etc... Remember everything and everywhere outside is damp and this is where germs spread....

Fri, November 22, 2013 @ 14:10

10. wrote:
Go see a doctor.

Wed, January 22, 2014 @ 11:07

11. JAMIE wrote:
Well to start, i had smoked from age 16 to 27, I quit for 2 years and like an idiot I started back up. Since 2010, I have had pneumonia over 10 times, it got to the point I was even getting in the summer. It is know 2014, and I still have the cough, chest tightness, and phlegm that varies in color. I am tired of being put on antibiotics, they are not helping! I have been to a lung specialist, did a PFT(pulmonary function test), which showed I had 64% lung function(2012). Went for followup, as soon as he asked me if I was a smoker, he stated you have COPD. It is now 2014, I just had another PFT, which showed up as normal, even though I am sick. So, I am not sure what to think? My family physician has scheduled me for a CT scan of my lungs, I have had allergy testing, and have been on antibiotics and steroids since October 2013 non-stop; it is now March 2014. I have quit smoking, I have to use a nebulizer 2 times a day, and an albuterol inhaler at least 6 times a day. I constantlty suck on cough drops, so I do not cough. If it was COPD, cough drops would not stop the cough would it? When I inhale, it is almost like I have smoked a menthol cigarette, and this triggers me to start coughing. Has anyone else had these same problems, please help. I will post again after CT scan. Thank you

Wed, March 26, 2014 @ 8:32

12. Cheryling wrote:
I been coughing up yellow & green mucus for 4days when I cough my chest hurts I losed my voice 4days ago!!! Can somebody tell what can I do about this cold or if it's a cold??

Mon, November 24, 2014 @ 10:04

13. beth wrote:
Jamie I feel for you. I've had kung problems for years. I'm a former smoker. I got an air purifier and I've found that vitamin c helps me a lot. I have copd too. I too cough up yellowish phlegm. I up the vitamins especially c and e

Tue, December 16, 2014 @ 22:19

14. beth wrote:
Continuing from my last comment....I up the vitamins c and e when I get chest congestion and this seems to help get rid of it. I only take antibiotics as a last resort. Garlic is good too and a natural antibiotic.

Tue, December 16, 2014 @ 22:26

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