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Coughing Up Green Mucus

Coughing Up Green Mucus

In ideal conditions, mucus generated by the body is clear and thin and helps in purifying the air inhaled by it. The change of mucus' color to green or yellow is the body's reaction to a viral infection or a bacterial attack.
Kulbhushaan Raghuvanshi
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Contrary to what many think, mucus secretion is important for the body. This sticky secretion lubricates our respiratory organs and protects their membranes against infectious bacteria, fungi, and other environmental pollutants. An average human being produces almost a liter of mucus everyday.

In majority of cases, coughing up green mucus is not as harmful as people think. The presence of green mucus is the body's natural response against the harmful viruses or bacteria. However, if the green mucus is not cleared out in a day or two, medical attention is advised. There can be many conditions that could lead to the formation of green mucus, but it is not formed right away.
Common Causes of Green Mucus
Viral Infections
A viral infection is perhaps one of the most common causes of green mucus. In most cases, it is followed with a severe sinus headache, severe body pain, high fever and dry or sore throat.
Bronchitis is defined as the swelling up of bronchial tubes (air passages between the nose and the lungs). Due to the swelling of the bronchial tubes, it becomes difficult for a person to inhale sufficient amounts of oxygen, thereby causing difficulty in breathing. Coughing up green mucus is one of the most visible symptoms of bronchitis and it also indicates that a bacterial infection might have set in.
Common Cold
Common cold can also lead to the formation of green mucus. The cold brings in dry cough, an inflamed throat and a runny nose that leads to the formation of green mucus.
Cigarette smoke contains large amounts of toxic matter and to ensure the cleanup of these toxins, the body generates large amounts of thick mucus which often gets stuck in the airways providing a breeding ground for bacteria and other viruses.
Dealing with Green Mucus - Home Remedies
  • Drink almost five glasses of plain water daily to keep the body hydrated.
  • Add 2 to 3 drops of eucalyptus oil to boiling water and inhale the steam deeply. For best results, cover your head with a towel and lean over the pot to inhale maximum steam.
  • Taking a hot shower can also prove beneficial. Ensure to breathe in the steam from the water.
  • Consuming hot soup and beverages such as eucalyptus or mint tea helps to keep the mucus thin and keeps chest congestion at bay.
  • Avoid sugary foods such as soft drinks, candies, ice-creams, milk-shakes, and sugary cereals.
  • Eating spicy foods also helps the mucus to thin out naturally.
  • Gargling with warm saltwater thrice a day also provides temporary relief.

Dealing with Green Mucus - Medication

  • Immediate medical attention is advised if an individual suffers from persistent cough which expels green mucus.
  • Blood tests, ECG, chest X-rays and a physical check-up helps to determine the underlying cause.
  • Self-administration of antibiotics is discouraged. Also, avoid cough suppressants. Yes, persistent coughing is annoying but it is the body's way to spit out mucus. Consumption of cough suppressants inhibits coughing which in turn increases mucus levels in the body which could've been minimized through coughing.
There might also be instances where blood is found in mucus. Though this might ring an alarm, traces of blood in mucus could be due to some minor damage to the nasal cavity. Also, avoid swallowing green mucus as it is filled with toxic substances and introducing it again in the body can further worsen the condition.