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How do I know I have a cough with phlegm?

Also known as a productive cough, a wet cough, or a chesty cough, a cough with phlegm is the body's way of removing excessive amounts of sputum or mucus from the airways. In a healthy person, mucus is usually a white or transparent gel-like liquid. It traps viruses, bacteria and particles that you inhale so that they can be expelled as phlegm out of the airways.

If you have any of these symptoms, you may have a cough with phlegm:

  • Sticky mucus that comes up during persistent coughing
  • A rattling sound especially when breathing in and coughing
  • Chest feels tight, heavy and/or congested
  • Difficulties in breathing
  • Cough is often worse in the morning

The described symptoms are different to the symptoms of dry cough e.g. a permanent stimulus and urge to cough and / or irritation / tickling in the throat.


What causes a cough with phlegm?

Illness such as a respiratory tract infection, smoking or air pollution can cause the phlegm in the airways to become too thick and sticky, so that it clogs up the airways. In this case the natural cleaning process with the cilia is not strong enough to transport the phlegm out of the lungs. Breathing becomes difficult. And the excessive phlegm can make an infection worse. The body needs to clear out the phlegm, and a productive cough is the result.

Lighter, looser phlegm is easier to eliminate. The body's natural process of removing phlegm can be supported by an effective expectorant such as Mucosolvan®. The Mucosolvan® Cough range helps to loosen the phlegm by liquefying the mucus, making it easier for the body to transport it out of the airways, helping you breathe freely again.