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.
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.
Current as of: June 9, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Current as of:
June 9, 2019
Medical Review:William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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