Wet Cough : Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

 What is a wet cough?

A wet cough is any cough that brings up phlegm.  It’s also called a productive cough because you can feel the excess phlegm moving up and out of your lungs.  After productive coughs, you will feel the phlegm in your mouth.

 The cough reflex is a defense mechanism that helps protect your body from irritants, like dust in the air.  When your nervous system detects an irritant in your airways, it warns your brain.  Your brain sends a message to the muscles in your chest and abdomen, telling them to contract and push out a burst of air.  Unfortunately, your cough reflex is easily triggered by mucus.

 A wet, productive cough is almost always a sign of a viral or bacterial infection, especially in children.  When you have an upper respiratory infection, like a cold or flu, your body produces more mucus than normal.  In your nose, you may call this mucus “snot.”  But in your chest, it’s called phlegm.

 When phlegm accumulates in your chest it can be hard to breathe.  You may cough more at night because phlegm accumulates at the back of your throat when you lie down.  Although it can disrupt sleep, a wet cough is usually nothing to worry about.  Viruses take time to run their course, so your cough may last several weeks, but it will usually resolve without treatment.

Wet cough causes :

     Wet coughs most often result from infections by microorganisms such as bacteria or viruses, like those that cause a cold or flu.

Your entire respiratory system is lined with mucus membranes. Mucus performs many beneficial functions in your body, like keeping your airways moist and protecting your lungs from irritants.

When you’re fighting off an infection like the flu, however, your body produces more mucus than usual. It does this to help trap and expel the organisms causing infection. Coughing helps you get rid of all the excess mucus that gets stuck in your lungs and chest.

There are other reasons why your body may produce more mucus than usual, causing you to develop a wet cough. If your wet cough has been going on for more than a few weeks, it could be caused by:

Bronchitis. Bronchitis is inflammation in the bronchial tubes, the tubes that carry air into your lungs. Acute bronchitis is typically brought on by a variety of viruses. Chronic bronchitis is an ongoing condition, often caused by smoking.

Pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in your lungs that is caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. It’s a condition that ranges in severity from mild to life-threatening.

COPD. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of conditions that damage both your lungs and the tubes that bring air into your lungs. Smoking is the No. 1 cause trusted Source of COPD.

Cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition of the respiratory system that’s usually diagnosed during early childhood. It causes the production of thick, sticky mucus in the lungs and other organs. All 50 states screen infants for cystic fibrosis at the time of birth.

Asthma. Although people with asthma are more likely rested Source to have a dry cough, a small subset of people produce ongoing excess mucus and experience a chronic wet cough.

Wet cough Symptoms :

Absence of breathing (apnea)

Chest pain or pressure

Cough that gets more severe over time

Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)

Coughing up clear, yellow, light brown, or green mucus

Coughing up pink frothy mucus

Difficulty breathing

Rapid breathing (tachypnea)

Shortness of breath

Wheezing (whistling sound made with breathing).

A wet cough may be accompanied by other symptoms that affect other body systems including:


 bad breath


 fever and chills

 flu-like symptoms (tiredness, fever, sore throat, headache, cough, aches, and pains)

 disrupted sleep

 foot pain and swelling

 loss of appetite

 malaise or lethargy

 night sweats

 post nasal drip.

 Rapid heart rate (tachycardia).

 Unexplained weight loss.

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