Productive CoughsSkip to the navigation
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.
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:
- It produces sputum from the lungs (not postnasal drainage).
- The sputum is rust-colored or contains bright red blood.
- It lasts longer than 10 days.
- It occurs with
other symptoms. These may include:
- Fever and chills.
- Shortness of breath.
- Chest pain.
- Night sweats.
- Weight loss.
- You have a known exposure to tuberculosis.
A doctor can evaluate your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment.
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014
Current as of: September 9, 2014
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD