What Is Phlegm?

Also known as sputum, phlegm is a thick substance that is produced by respiratory system. A normal human being produces their fair share of phlegm; however this frothy substance goes largely unnoticed under normal conditions. It’s only during a respiratory infection that one becomes acutely aware of phlegm. During such instances this fluid is either green or yellow in color. There is also a visible change in its viscosity with the liquid becoming frothy. What distinguished phlegm from other issues that flow from the respiratory system is that, it largely flows from the lungs. The phlegm might have traces of blood in it, and depending on its degree of viscosity the presence of phlegm might obstruct ones ability to properly respire. If you witness the above mentioned symptoms then you are essentially witnessing abnormal phlegm symptoms. Phlegm will ordinarily have substances such as mucus, dead cells, and foreign particles including dust in its system. When you are witness to abnormal phlegm symptoms you need to seek immediate medical advice. This is on account of the fact that this could be a harbinger of a serious medical condition such as lung cancer. This is the worst case scenario though; it could also mean that you are battling with minor medical issues such as an allergy or an underlying medical condition that has exacerbated the condition. Either way seek medical advice when you notice abnormal phlegm conditions. It might just save your life. 

What Are The Causes Of Phlegm?

  • It is important to note that healthy lungs are covered with a layer of mucus. However for phlegm symptoms to manifest themselves, something has to exacerbate the production of extra amounts of mucus by the cells that line the respiratory walls. The something in question is usually a bacterial or viral infection that sets off such a response. Apart from bacterial and viral infections, there are certain foods – mostly of the daily variety – and medication that offset the production of excess phlegm; these will be highlighted in the paragraph below. Here goes.    
  • Viral infections – The common cold; laryngitis( inflammation of the larynx that is caused by a viral infection); laryngitis ( an inflammation of the throat that is caused by the throat) ; pneumonia( this is a lung infection that can be caused by either a viral or bacterial infection) ; influenza ;  croup ( a viral infection of the voice box), epiglottis( a condition that is mostly prevalent in children as well as infants)
  • Bacterial infections – Tonsillitis; sinusitis (an infection of the sinuses that is occasioned by a bacterial infection); and acute bronchitis (this could either be viral or bacterial in nature but the end result is that it results in the inflammation of the bronchial tubes).
  • Other possible causes of phlegm symptoms are airway obstruction, asthma or allergic reactions, the possible presence of lung cancer, the consumption of dairy products, and even the consumption of certain medication – those that are associate d with high blood pressure. Diseases that might exacerbate the production of phlegm include – chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, pulmonary edema (the abnormal build up of fluid in the lungs), pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lung), and congestive heart failure (a loss in the ability of the heart to pump blood).These are but some of the possible condition that would inflame abnormal phlegm conditions.

What Are The Symptoms Of Phlegm?

The symptoms that are associated with phlegm are as follows:

  • General symptoms – a stuffed nose that issues yellow discharge; a cough that those in the medical community refer to as a wet cough; one might have episodes of nausea; the lymph nodes in ones throat might be sensitive; and lastly one  might be afflicted by throat infections such as an enlarged tonsillitis.
  • Allergy symptoms – By allergy symptoms the article is referring to the presence of allergies that might exacerbate the production of abnormal phlegm. They are as follows: The presence of rashes on the body that might point out to a reaction of something. Sneezing that might indicate that the body is attempting to expel something from the respiratory system. The presence of watery and itchy eyes, which might indicate that the respiratory system has been irritated by some strong substance for instance an industrial gas.
  • Life threatening symptoms – One might also experience life threatening symptoms that might exacerbate the production of abnormal phlegm. Some of these life threatening symptoms are as follows: coughing up of blood; a sudden episode of chest pain; a rapid heartbeat; difficulty in breathing et al. These symptoms might of course indicate the onset of some serious condition. There presence however stimulates the production of large / an unusual volume of phlegm.  

Home Remedies For Phlegm

There are a number of home remedies that you can use to ensure that you deal with the issue of phlegm comprehensively. Some of them are stated below:   Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies and herbal remedies yourself!  Here are some of the home remedies that you can try.

  • Smoke free zones – Ensure that your home is a smoking free zone. Similarly ensure that if one of your occupational hazards is smoke ensure that you get a way to be away from this catalyst to abnormal phlegm production as much as possible.
  • Avoid Swallowing Phlegm- Do not swallow the phlegm if you want to get rid of it. It might sound tacky but the best way to deal with phlegm is to spit it out. Swallowing phlegm defeats the entire purpose of what the body has been attempting to do, namely: to expel waste from the respiratory system. Swallowing phlegm basically re introduces the whole mass of waste into the respiratory system
  • Avoid Cough Suppressants- Under no circumstances should you take a cough suppressant. Remember the body is attempting to decongest this  matter from the system, taking a suppressant basically means that you build up this waste in the respiratory system and this is self defeating to say the least.
  • Expectorant- If you are suffering from bronchitis, you can take an expectorant. An expectorant basically loosens up phlegm and makes one cough out the phlegm in the system. If you are suffering from a nasal infection ensure that you use a nasal spray or decongestants that will aide you loosen your phlegm. These are but some of the home remedies that you can essentially apply as your battle abnormal phlegm production.     
  • Eucalyptus Oil- The use of eucalyptus oil to decongest the respiratory system is tagged as the greatest natural cure that is known to man. One simply needs to have two tea spoons of eucalyptus oil dipped in a pot of boiling water. One then bends their neck into the pot -with a towel used to trap the escaping heat- and the effect that this has on decongesting the chest is nothing short of magical.
  • Garlic- One can also use garlic to tackle phlegm. Garlic has been tagged as a natural expectorant – expectorants it is to be remembered force what is known as a productive cough and thus the expulsion of phlegm.
  • Pepper- The use of white pepper and honey everyday has been found to help improve the phlegm condition. You should take this mixture for about a week for your phlegm to desiccate completely. This mixture is also effective in eliminating coughs. But it is important to not that the mixture might cause burning in your mouth.
  • Grape Juice and Honey- A mixture of honey and grape juice will help you dry up the phlegm and eliminate the cough. You should take this mixture at least thrice a day for about a week. The grapes are important for making the mixture more expectorant for the elimination of phlegm. Another good thing about this mixture is that it is effective id dealing with stomach problems.
  • Onion and Lemon- Mix onion and lemon juice and add the mixture to boiling water. Add fresh honey and let it cool to the appropriate temperature. Drink one cup of the mixture for two to three days to eliminate phlegm. You should not take the mixture without a few drops of honey especially if you can’t stand the bitter taste.   
  • Chicken Soup- Research has proven the effectiveness of chicken soup in treating phlegm. This soup is also effective in treating common cold. It works by reducing the amount of mucus secreted while increasing the number of white blood cells in the body to improve your immune system. Chicken soup also contains properties that help reduce the inflammatory effect in your respiratory system.
  • Onion and Sugar- Even though it sounds less appetizing, a mixture of onions and sugar can help you cure your coughing problem. You are required to chop one onion and put it in a bowl. Then cover the pieces with sugar and allow it to sit for one night. Take a spoonful of the syrup every three hours for a couple of days.

Diet For Phlegm

The diet that you should be on when you are under the weather from abnormal phlegm production resembles something like this: 

  • Tropical fruits – The essence of going for tropical fruits is to ensure that one gets the maximum possible benefits that one can reap from Vitamin C. This is because of the   healing properties that are found in Vitamin C that also aide in dealing with the possibly underlying problem of the abnormal phlegm production.
  • Water – This is a prerequisite when an individual is experiencing abnormal phlegm production. The element of water in this equation is to keep the body hydrated and to aide in neutralizing the mucus content in the respiratory system.

Prevention Of Phlegm

There are a number of ways that you can make phlegm part and parcel of history, and this is how:

  • Foremost ensure that you get rid of all possible sources of allergic reactions in your house, this could include dispensing away with a beloved pet (sic).
  • Secondly, ensure that you keep away from environments that result in the respiratory system being adversely affected. Smoke filled rooms, and areas that bear the brunt of industrial waste are a case in point.  Also avoid dusty rooms as well as dusty environments for this are atavistic to your system.
  • Thirdly, ensure that you get vaccinated for viral infections such as influenza. You will definitely appreciate the premise prevention is better than cure when you parry aside a possible fallout from a viral infection of this nature.
  • Lastly, ensure that you know your body well. Knowing your body well in this instance denotes that you know what foods might be allergic to your system and avoiding them as much as possible. This will save you from a possible adverse reaction of the body that can among other ways manifest itself via abnormal phlegm production. These are but some of the factors that will prevent you from dealing with abnormal phlegm production. The list above is by no means exhaustive; you can modify it depending on how well you know your system. The trick however ids toe ensure that you keep this condition well managed for it can become unsightly when you have to deal with an episode of phlegm in public.