A cough acts as a warning signal from our body. Although it is very irritating most of the time, it is essential for eliminating irritating elements from the airways and keeping the respiratory system cleaner. However, when coughing is accompanied by green phlegm, this could be a sign of a more serious respiratory infection. Could it be related to a flu condition? To understand more about this topic, dados pela vida, together with pulmonologist Michelle Andreata, a specialist at Health at Home will explore the possible link between coughing up green phlegm and the flu. Find out when it is crucial to seek medical advice. Follow along!
Cough with green phlegm could be the flu: myth or truth?
The presence of a cough with green phlegm is not a specific indicator of iflu infection. Green phlegm is usually a sign that the body is fighting an infection, but it is not unique to the flu. Various respiratory infections, such as colds, sinusitis, and bacterial respiratory tract infections, cause the production of phlegm.
Dr. Michelle explains further how the formation of green phlegm works in the case of the flu: “The flu, or influenza, is a viral infection that affects the respiratory system and can cause symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough, nasal congestion, pain in the body and intense fatigue. The color of phlegm can vary during a flu infection, ranging from clear to yellowish or greenish.”
Flu symptoms other than coughing with green phlegm
Coughing up green phlegm is not a specific symptom of the flu, but when the flu is present, it is often accompanied by a variety of other symptoms:
- High fevergenerally above 37.8°C;
- sore throat;
- intense fatigue;
- nasal congestion;
- dry cough or cough with increased mucus or phlegm.
How does green phlegm form in the respiratory system and what does it mean?
If you are having a cough with green phlegm, know that it does not appear suddenly for no reason in your body. According to the pulmonologist, phlegm forms as part of the body’s defense system against respiratory infections. “When an infection occurs, whether viral or bacterial, the cells of the immune system and those lining the airways work together to fight the infectious agent”, explained the doctor.
It works like this: “When our body detects the presence of a pathogen, such as a virus or bacteria, it triggers an inflammatory response in the airways. This results in the dilation of blood vessels, increased blood flow and the release of inflammatory substances.” Thus, the lining of the airways produces mucus as part of the inflammatory response, which helps trap and remove pathogens from the respiratory system.
Already the green color of phlegm it is the result of the following process: “During an infection, white blood cells, such as neutrophils, are recruited to the site of infection to fight pathogens. These cells release enzymes and other substances that can change the color of the mucus, turning it green or yellowish”, he explained. As immune cells and infected cells die in the fight against infection, their debris can be mixed with the mucus, contributing to the change in color. Impressive, don’t you think?
How to prevent coughing with green phlegm and other flu symptoms?
To prevent flu infection and other respiratory infections and, consequently, coughing up green phlegm, people can adopt preventive measures. Dr. Michelle recommends the main ones:
- annual flu vaccination;
- wash your hands with soap and water frequently;
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing;
- avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
- regularly clean surfaces and objects;
- avoid crowds;
- maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep to strengthen the immune system.
Treatment to relieve a cough with green phlegm caused by the flu
To relieve cough with green phlegm and other discomforts of the gripe, treatment aims at three main objectives: relieving symptoms, helping recovery and preventing the condition from getting worse. Here are the measures recommended by the pulmonologist
- Rest: Resting is essential for a quick recovery. Allow your body to restore itself, as this helps your immune system fight the infection more effectively.
- Hydration: drinking plenty of fluids is essential. Water, tea and hot soups help prevent dehydration and thin mucus, making it easier to eliminate.
- Possible use of Analgesics and Antipyretics: In case of fever or body aches, consider using over-the-counter painkillers and antipyretics, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Follow package instructions for correct dosage.
- Expecting: Over-the-counter expectorant medications can be helpful in helping to loosen phlegm and make it easier to expel. They can be of great assistance during the recovery process.
- Antiallergic and decongestants: they can relieve nasal congestion, but use them only under medical advice. Always consult a healthcare professional for a better assessment.
- Air humidifier: Using a humidifier in your bedroom can help relieve coughs and congestion, especially at night, providing a more comfortable environment to rest.
Remembering that it is important to follow the recommendations and seek guidance from a healthcare professional, especially if flu symptoms persist or worsen.
The post Care for Life.