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Coughing Up Throat Mucous: What Does Dark Yellow Or Brown Colored Mucous Indicate?

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Ever wondered what is the sticky fluid that you cough up when down with a respiratory infection? It is a type of mucus that is secreted by the mucous membranes. It was believed in the medieval times that phlegm was one of the four bodily humors. These bodily humors are basically body fluids that influence the body health. Phlegm was thought to possess the property of coldness and wetness. It was due to phlegm that a person became apathetic and has a sluggish behavior. Thus, the old word belief has been upheld by the word phlegmatic. Know more on coughing up phlegm.

Phlegm Color Guide

The color of phlegm can help diagnose a lot about the persons health. Different phlegm color, means a different type of infection. The following phlegm color meaning will help you understand the infection or cause better.

  • White Color Phlegm: White or clear phlegm color means it is a sign of healthy body.
  • Light Yellow Color Phlegm: Light yellow phlegm color is a sign of a well-functioning immune system. It signifies that your immune system is having tough fight within your body and is at the beginning or end of a sinus infection. It is a sign of viral infection in the upper respiratory tract.
  • Dark Yellow Color Phlegm: It means a bacterial infection or lower respiratory tract infection.
  • Brown Color Phlegm: Brown phlegm color meaning is often associated with people who smoke. You can find the phlegm mixed with your saliva. When you spread out the phlegm, you will find it to be grainy textured. This means it is mixed with dust and foreign matter due to damage to cilia commonly observed in COPD patients. If you are smoking too much, the phlegm color will be brown due to resin sticking to it. Just cut down on your smoking if you observe this, as it may worsen the underlying respiratory problems.
  • Green Color Phlegm: Green phlegm color means you have been infected and is commonly observed in cases of pneumonia and internal micro-bleedings. The phlegm is green in color due to an enzyme called myeloperoxidases (MPO), that is green in color. It is present in white blood cells and bacteria attract more white cells than viruses.
  • Blood Color Phlegm: Blood in phlegm is a benign symptom of a bronchitis. The phlegm is normally streaked with blood. When you are coughing up a significant amount of blood, it may be a sign of major illness such as tuberculosis. You need to seek immediate medical attention, in case the amount of blood is more than normal.

Phlegm Production

The phlegm is produced in the lungs, throat passages, bronchial tubes, bronchiole and other organs of the respiratory system expect the nasal cavity.Know more on phlegm in chest.

Uses of Phlegm

The uses of phlegm are as follows:

  • Helping the mmune system when it is overworked
  • It helps in trapping all the bacteria, virus, dust and other foreign bodies
  • It helps in protecting the lungs from infection and possible damage from an infectious organism
  • It also helps in protection all the respiratory system organs

Underlying Causing of Phlegm

Phlegm serves as an important symptom of a respiratory infection. It may signify the following illnesses:

  • Acute respiratory tract infection
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Lung cancer
  • Asthma.
  • Chronic sinusitis

Avoiding Phlegm

If you want to avoid development of phlegm, you will have to follow the following phlegm guide to keep your respiration obstruction free.

  • Stop smoking. It is one of the most possible causes of developing phlegm.
  • Drink plenty of water that is at room temperature.
  • Healthy foods and healthy drinks help your immune system remain strong.

This is a little about phlegm and phlegm color meaning. Keep an eye on the sticky, disgusting sputum you cough and check out its color. If you suspect anything that is wrong, visit your physician for diagnosis and treatment. I know it's gross to even look at it, but it was once apart of your body and is now trying to alert you of a possible infection. So break your inhibitions, give a thought to your phlegm color meaning.


Posted on Jun 18, 2012
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Kasa Freedman

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