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Yellow Mucus – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Coughing out yellow mucus can be quite disgusting. The majority of us may have experienced this. This is something that affects us all. Do not fret if you experienced coughing out yellow mucus because this is common. Before we get to know further how yellow mucus is produced, let us first learn how mucus develops in the respiratory tract.


Mucus or phlegm is actually comprised of specialized types of cells which assume essential functions. Naturally, mucus is thin and whitish. Its primary function is to help filter the airways from foreign particle invasion. However, when the body’s defenses start to fire reaction to the presence of pathogens, the color of the mucus begins to turn yellow or green from its original white, transparent consistency. Having yellow or green mucus secretions are not actually a bad thing because this is an indication that the body is fighting against infections. Now, you know that having either yellow or green mucus is something to be glad about because you’re almost getting through with the infectious process, a bout of cold for instance. As you read further on this article, you will learn some interesting facts about yellow mucus, its causes, symptoms and treatment.

Yellow Mucus Symptoms

There are also other symptoms that may be present along with the presence of yellow mucus discharge, including:

  • Excessive coughing
  • Nasal and throat congestion
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Presence of flu-like symptoms
  • Presence of post nasal drip

Yellow Mucus Causes

A number of conditions may have lead to the formation of yellow mucus. The exact cause of a certain respiratory conditions can be easily diagnosed by referring to the color of the mucus. Some of the common causes of yellow mucus formation are:

Acute Bacterial/Viral Bronchitis

This type of condition would definitely trigger an inflammatory process along the bronchial airways. Excessive mucus production is part of the inflammatory process. Aside from the secretion of yellow mucus, other common symptoms such as excessive cough and congestion may also be present.

Bacterial/Viral Pneumonia

Catching pneumonia would also lead to the development of yellow mucus. In fact, pneumonia produces more yellow, gooey mucus than bronchitis. People, especially children, who have been infected with pneumonia, need prompt medical attention.

Chronic Bronchitis

Chronic inflammation of the bronchus also leads to yellow mucus production. Individuals who smoke and those frequently exposed to toxic chemicals and other substances are at high risk for developing chronic bronchitis. The yellow mucus in chronic bronchitis has thick consistency which has the tendency to block the airways and impede oxygen circulation. People who suffer from chronic bronchitis are termed blue bloaters.

Lung Cancer

Coughing out yellow mucus may have either benign or serious cause and lung cancer is considered to be the one of the grave reasons for the formation of yellow mucus. One should especially be alarmed when the production of yellow mucus is being accompanied by weakness, low-grade fever, loss of appetite and weight loss because these would be suggestive of lung cancer. Whenever any of these symptoms is noted, it is best to seek consultation from your physician as soon as you can.

Tuberculosis

This condition also has the tendency to produce excessive yellow mucus. At times, this may be accompanied by coughing out blood. Tuberculosis often requires long term treatment.

Yellow Mucus Treatment

There are actually two main goals in the treatment of yellow mucus. The first one would be to permanently treat the underlying cause and the other is to provide temporary relief to the symptoms which come along with the condition. This can be treated using certain medications but there are also natural remedies for it. Treatments for yellow mucus typically include the following:

Loading oneself with ample amount of water – Drinking at least 8 glasses of water each day would greatly help in detoxifying ones body from harmful free radicals. This is also beneficial in the treatment of certain infections that cause excessive yellow mucus production. Indeed, water has so many positive effects to the body.

Steam Inhalation – Another suggested method in fighting against excessive yellow mucus secretion is through steam inhalation. You may also add eucalyptus to it for a more soothing effect. Nevertheless, be sure to check the temperature of the water first because extremely high temperatures would cause the cilia, the hair-like projections of the respiratory tract, to get injured.

Vitamin C supplements – Also, you have to include foods rich in vitamin C in your diet. These include most fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C help get rid of yellow mucus simply by boosting your immune system which makes you resistant to several diseases.

Over-the-counter Decongestants – You may also get your self an OTC nasal spray such as naphazoline and oxymetazoline to help relieve congestion. However, you should be cautious when using these stuffs because these also have the potential of damaging your cilia.

When you do not achieve relief in any of the previously mentioned remedies, your doctor may prescribe you with antihistamines, anti-inflammatory agents and other medications. Overall, so as to permanently emancipate yourself from having yellow mucus, you should take the initiative to make some lifestyle changes and that include quitting vices like smoking and staying away from possible allergens.

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