Coughing is one of the most common reasons people visit a doctor, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center 1. A productive cough is one that produces mucus, or phlegm. A continuous, or chronic, productive cough is not normal and may indicate a disorder of the lungs. A cough lasting for more than two weeks should be evaluated by a physician.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Chronic bronchitis is a chronic, progressive and life-threatening lung disease characterized by inflammation and thickening of the airways and excessive mucus production. Chronic bronchitis causes a productive cough and shortness of breath that worsens over time. Smoking causes the majority of cases, according to the American Lung Association. Inhalation of fumes and dust particles, commonly in the workplace, is also a cause. Affected persons frequently also develop emphysema, another serious lung disorder. Quitting smoking is the most important way to prevent worsening lung damage. If found early, symptoms can be effectively managed. Often patients ignore symptoms which delays diagnosis and makes treatment more difficult, the ALA says.
- Chronic bronchitis is a chronic, progressive and life-threatening lung disease characterized by inflammation and thickening of the airways and excessive mucus production.
- Chronic bronchitis causes a productive cough and shortness of breath that worsens over time.
What Is BOOP Lung Treatment?
Tuberculosis is an infection most frequently affecting the lungs. Productive cough is the most common symptom. When the illness first starts, a cough typically occurs upon awakening and produces small amounts of yellow or green mucus. As the disease progresses, the cough continues throughout the day and produces larger amounts of sputum, which may become bloody. Sufferers of tuberculosis may also experience drenching night sweats, low-grade fever, fatigue, weight loss and loss of appetite. Tuberculosis is treated with multiple-antibiotic therapy over a period of six to nine months, according to Merck Manuals Professional Edition 3. Sufferers must stay at home or in the hospital for the first two weeks of treatment, cover coughs with tissues to avoid spreading the illness and avoid visitors.
- Tuberculosis is an infection most frequently affecting the lungs.
- As the disease progresses, the cough continues throughout the day and produces larger amounts of sputum, which may become bloody.
Bronchiectasis is a lung disease characterized by widening and scarring of the large airways caused by recurring infections, inhaling a foreign object, cystic fibrosis or other disorder. Mucus builds up as the lungs gradually lose their ability to remove it. A chronic cough producing large amounts of mucus and lasting for months or years is a sign of bronchiectasis, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute 4. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, fatigue and chest pain. As the disorder progresses, mucus may become bloody. Treatment focuses on managing symptoms, treating underlying infections, removing mucus and preventing complications. Expectorants, bronchodilators and antibiotics are commonly prescribed. Oxygen therapy is required in some cases. If the disease is isolated to a specific part of one lung, surgical removal may be necessary.
- Bronchiectasis is a lung disease characterized by widening and scarring of the large airways caused by recurring infections, inhaling a foreign object, cystic fibrosis or other disorder.
- If the disease is isolated to a specific part of one lung, surgical removal may be necessary.
What Is BOOP Lung Treatment?
Excessively Coughing? Here's Why
Reasons for Coughing up Phlegm in the Morning
Differences Between Asthma and Bronchitis
What Are the Causes of Infiltration of Lungs?
What Are the Different Stages of COPD?
Reasons for Coughing With Constant Phlegm
What Causes Scarring of the Lungs?
Blockages in the Lungs
Causes of Chest Tightness and Cough
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Cough
- American Lung Association: Understanding Chronic Bronchitis
- Merck Manuals Online Medical Library: Tuberculosis (TB)
- National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: Bronchiectasis
- Martin MJ, Harrison TW. Causes of chronic productive cough: an approach to management. Respir Med. 2015;109(9):1105-13. doi:10.1016/j.rmed.2015.05.020
- Mahashur A. Chronic dry cough: diagnostic and management approaches. Lung India. 2015;32(1):44-9. doi:10.4103/0970-2113.148450
- Smith J, Woodcock A, Houghton L. New developments in reflux-associated cough. Lung. 2010;188(Suppl 1):S81-6. doi:10.1007/s00408-009-9210-2
- Wang TY, Lo YL, Liu WT, et al. Chronic cough and obstructive sleep apnoea in a sleep laboratory-based pulmonary practice. Cough. 2013;9(1):24. doi:10.1186/1745-9974-9-24
- Kenn K, Balkissoon R. Vocal cord dysfunction: what do we know?. Eur Respir J. 2011;37(1):194-200. doi:10.1183/09031936.00192809
- De Blasio F, Virchow JC, Polverino M, et al. Cough management: a practical approach. Cough. 2011;7(1):7. doi:10.1186/1745-9974-7-7
Gianna Rose is a registered nurse certified in hospice and palliative care, as well as a certified wellness coach. She completed Duke Integrative Medicine's Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course in 2009. Rose also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design.