What is Phlegm?
The term “phlegm” means inflammation and it is the actually term of the mucus that builds up in your throat and needs to be coughed up. This is a watery matter, often gelatinous, which differs in color as well as quantity contingent on the illness you might have. This is created in the mucous layer of the windpipe.
In terms that are medical, it is known as expectorated matter or sputum, meaning “coughed out substance”.
When an individual has an infection or illness, it creates the conditions allowing mucus to accumulate in the throat. This mucus will irritate the airway and generates discomfort. This will trigger coughing that expels the mucus.
Mucus is usually normally white. A person begins coughing up white mucus during ailments that are minor. Clear white mucus means the lack of pus. But if the mucus is colored this means there is some illness and the color of the mucus can determine the illness causing it.
Green mucus usually happens when there is an infection by bacteria in the bronchi or the lungs, for instance tuberculosis. It also can occur by a post nasal drip because of an infection of the sinuses.
There are some cases where coughing up mucus and phlegm is linked to bloating of the abdomen. This occurs when an individual swallows the mucus instead of coughing it out. This swallowed mucus or phlegm is degraded by the bowel bacteria. This is what produces the gas and causes the bloating of the stomach.
If the mucus becomes really thick, it is often painful and hard to cough up. Mucus that is thinned is much calmer to expel. Below are some remedies that can be tried to thin the mucus out.
- Put boiling water in a bowl. Add to it eucalyptus, mint or menthol. Inhale this steam deeply thru the nostrils.
- Drink hot beverages such as tea. It is best to drink teas that contain eucalyptus or mint. This will thin the mucus and will as well keep congestion in the chest away. An individual can also drink soap that this hot for the identical purposes.
- Apply any type of warmth in the chest. A piece of cloth can be wrapped around a hot vessel of some sort and when unwrapped apply it to the chest. Doing this several times should give speedy relief. If the individual is already coughing up mucus, wrap the hot towel around the neck which can offer some relief.
- Eating food that is spicy may also help to thin the mucus out naturally. A natural expectorant is capsicum which is the hot ingredient in hot peppers. So adding it to the diet will help an individual to cough up mucus more easily.
- Avoid eating starchy foods, dairy products as well as excessive meat
- Drink lots of pure water
- Gargling with salty water provides temporary relief to the upper throat. Spit it out after gargling – don’t swallow it.
- Having a hot bath or shower will be useful in providing relief. The individual will need to breathe in the steam deeply.
If an individual is suffering from a cough that is persistent and expelling mucus, the primary care physician should be consulted. This medical professional will do a detailed physical checkup. Tests such as sputum and blood exams, ECG, CT scans and x-rays of the chest will help the physician diagnose the aliment causing the cough. It will also allow the physician to rule out serious diseases such as TB or lung cancer.
Curing mucus or phlegm accumulations is finished by curing the underlying disease. Once that disease is managed, the mucus or phlegm in the airways will be greatly reduced.