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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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Productive Coughs - Topic Overview

A productive cough helps clear mucus (sputum) and foreign material from the airways. Mucus may be made in the lungs because of bronchitis, pneumonia, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Colds and allergies may produce mucus that drains down the back of the throat (postnasal drainage). Home treatment may be all that is needed to provide relief if you have a productive cough and postnasal drainage but do not have other symptoms.

Recommended Related to Cold & Flu

Natural Cold Remedies: What to Know

Finding a cure for the common cold has proved harder than paddling across the Pacific in a rowboat. Experts say that's because colds can be caused by more than 200 different viruses. There may be no sure way to stop one in its tracks, but some things may work better than others to make you feel better.

Read the Natural Cold Remedies: What to Know article > >

A productive cough in a person who smokes is often a sign of lung damage. For smokers, the most effective way to treat a cough is to stop smoking. A change in the cough or in the color or quantity of sputum may mean a bacterial lung infection.

A productive cough is a more serious when:

A doctor can evaluate your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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