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How does pneumonia cause a productive cough?

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A lung infection -- which is what pneumonia is -- can make your air sacs fill up with fluid or pus. You may cough up a lot of green or yellow mucus. It may have blood in it. Usually, bacteria cause pneumonia. But fungal or viral infections, like the flu and COVID-19, can bring it, too.

Your symptoms may be mild or serious. Call your doctor right away if you have a:

What your doctor will give you for your pneumonia depends on what causes it and how sick you are. You may get over-the-counter drugs, antibiotics, or antivirals. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids. And don't take cough medicine without checking with your doctor first.

You should also find out if you need to get a vaccine to make pneumonia less likely in the future.

  • Very high fever
  • Hard time breathing
  • Blue tint to your lips or fingers

SOURCES:

Harvard Health Publishing: “Cracking the cough code,” “Treatments for post-nasal drip.” 

Cleveland Clinic: “How Doctors Crack the Code for Your Chronic Cough,” “Postnasal Drip, Can It Make Your Queasy?”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Cough,” “Pneumonia,” “COPD,” “Cystic Fibrosis,” “Bronchiectasis.”

CDC: “CDC Features: Common Colds: Protect Yourself and Others,” “Influenza (Flu): Treatment; Who Needs a Flu Vaccine & When,” “Antibiotic Prescribing and Use in Doctor’s Offices: Chest Cold (Acute Bronchitis),” “Pneumonia: Vaccines help Prevent Pneumonia.”

American Lung Association: “Pneumonia Symptoms and Diagnosis.”

American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: “What Is Post-Nasal Drip?”

International Journal of Otolaryngology : “Chronic Cough, Reflux, Postnasal Drip Syndrome, and the Otolaryngologist.”

Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner on April 17, 2020

SOURCES:

Harvard Health Publishing: “Cracking the cough code,” “Treatments for post-nasal drip.” 

Cleveland Clinic: “How Doctors Crack the Code for Your Chronic Cough,” “Postnasal Drip, Can It Make Your Queasy?”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Cough,” “Pneumonia,” “COPD,” “Cystic Fibrosis,” “Bronchiectasis.”

CDC: “CDC Features: Common Colds: Protect Yourself and Others,” “Influenza (Flu): Treatment; Who Needs a Flu Vaccine & When,” “Antibiotic Prescribing and Use in Doctor’s Offices: Chest Cold (Acute Bronchitis),” “Pneumonia: Vaccines help Prevent Pneumonia.”

American Lung Association: “Pneumonia Symptoms and Diagnosis.”

American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: “What Is Post-Nasal Drip?”

International Journal of Otolaryngology : “Chronic Cough, Reflux, Postnasal Drip Syndrome, and the Otolaryngologist.”

Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner on April 17, 2020

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