Home » Health Conditions » Respiratory Problems

What to Do if You Are Coughing Up Green Mucus – updated article

Many people tend to get worried if they cough up green mucus. Most of the time this is actually normal. Some believe that the presence of mucus indicates that there is something wrong with them, but in fact, it is just the natural immune response of the body to various invaders that attack it.

Green Mucus

If you are coughing up green mucus, it actually means that whatever illness you had is coming to an end. If you see yellow mucus, it means that your is still fighting the invader. If your mucus is clear, then you must be in the beginning stages of the illness.

Unfortunately, there are still many people who believe that if they cough up green mucus, then it means they have a bacterial infection. So, they hurry to their doctor and ask for an antibiotics prescription. It’s important to understand that this is the last thing you should be doing, because antibiotics will definitely not help. Even if you did have a viral infection, antibiotics will only make the bacterial resistance to the treatment stronger.

So, what can you do to speed up the natural process of mucus coming out? First of all, you should drink a lot of fluids of all kinds, since this makes the mucus thinner and decreases congestion levels. It is best to drink warm fluids, like chicken soup or hot lime green tea. Orange juice is also very good, since the Vitamin C it contains helps you recover from an illness faster.

The most natural way to get rid of chest congestion and green mucus is to mix eucalyptus oil with boiling water. Use 2-3 drops of eucalyptus oil for one pot of water when you make this mixture. For best results, put a towel over your head and lean over the pot to inhale all the steam you can, covering the pot with a towel as well.

If you want to get rid of green mucus, one thing not to do is take throat lozenges or cough suppressants. They might only make your problem worse. Anything that is designed to numb the pain or suppress a cough will actually create more mucus build-up, because you are basically turning off the necessary mechanisms in your body, which are supposed to fight the illness.

Another thing you shouldn’t do is swallow the green mucus if it wants to come out. This mucus is full of infection fighting substances, such as immunoglobulins and glycoproteins. Essentially, when you cough up green mucus, it’s a sign that the substance has already served its purpose and should be eliminated. If you swallow it instead, it will reintroduce the mucus back into your system, which only perpetuates the problem. For the original story, and further information on green mucus, click here

For more information, go to:

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.

50 Responses to “What to Do if You Are Coughing Up Green Mucus – updated article”

  1. 1
    Damien Says:
    Ok this thread is almost like and answer to my prayers. Recently why dad got layed off from work, and our entire 80,000/year salary is comepletly gone. Both my parents are still searching for jobs, but in this economy its been impossible to find one. About a two months ago I came down with a reaaally bad fever -- peaked t 107. I was out for at least a week. I had a very runny nose this entire time, and coughed a little as well. Then almost as suddenly as it came, it went. The runny nose and coughing stayed tho, and over those two months it has only gotten worse and worse by the day. Just yesterday I coughed up my biggest was of phlegm/mucus yet; it beig, solid yelld that cant bee seen through, and tastes really, really bad... That, and my nose just KEEPS running 24/7. Its gotten to the point where i have to carry around a pouch of kleenex so that no one notices im sniffling all the time. now, your probably wondering why i didnt just go to the doctors and get it sorted out for good. Well without jobs, my parents cant afford medical insurance anymore. We're pinching every penny we have right now and i just didnt feel right complaining to them about this cough and runny nose. So what am i doing now? looking for any possible natural remedies. Do i need to exercise more? Eat soem weird veggies? Anything would be good right now.
  2. 2
    nat Says:
    I had allergy-like symptoms in early June '10. The weather was wet and hot during that time. I spent a week feeling like crap and then felt better. Ever since, I've had a persistent cough. Coughing up green mucus in the morning and then the mucus is clear the rest of the day. The cough is annoying and the mucus keeps coming. I've tried to stay hydrated and take expectorants to get rid of the mucus. I don't feel bad but the cough remains. It's better than say about a month ago when I would have fits of coughing. Now I still cough on and off throughout the day but the mucus keeps coming up. I'm not having any sinus discomfort and I don't feel like my allergies are flaring up. I don't have any pleural discomfort but I do get tired of all the coughing. My lungs sound clear. I went to the doctor initially with the allergy issue in June and took the Claritin and expectorants. I haven't been back to the doctor with this persistent cough because it seems to be getting better, but I have had it for about 10 weeks. No night sweats or extreme fatigue - no symptoms but the productive cough. I'm hoping it will eventual go away but after reading this thread I think we all had this same viral type infection.
  3. 3
    pungi lama cordi Says:
    i think allah has spoken and that we all should believe it's time for more natural medicines as they are have been proven over hundreds of years. All there modern medicines are expensive and take for ever to work.
  4. 4
    Michael Says:
    Hi. I am nearly 60 a ' never-smoked', average weight mal. For almost ten years I have experienced regular coloured phlegm (ranging from clear-orange-green) needing ritual a.m. coughing up, and sometimes later in the day. I take an ACE inhibitor for mild hypertension fully controlled. Visits to my GP have offerred various nasal sprays/drops, investigations etc. without success and, according to my GP and hospital departments, suggests I am one of about 40% of people who cannot be helped. An operation is available but that might worsen symptoms so naturally I have stayed the right side of that! Sea salt sprays, steam baths, exercise, staying off milk etc all tried but phlegm persists. This is annoying at most after ten years, but a so-called cure would be good if exists. How about the rest of you?
  5. 5
    robert Says:
    if green phlegm is supposed to be happening at the end of a illness why am i getting it at the beginning of a illness then?
  6. 6
    Jason Says:
    i been suffering from blocked nose for quit sometime i started coughing for past 7 days and block nose. second day became worst but came better n better but it wont go away and i have lost my voice. on the 7th day i went to the doctor, he gave me Adcom-linctopent syrup, sinus and antibiotics and starts cough up sputum with little of blood...just wondering is the healing process or getting worst.........
  7. 7
    carole j Says:
    I have the green mucus too!! I am now taking collidial silver,and drinking out of a silver cup-as antibiotics do nothing for this beastly green stuff!! It has not gone away yet--but it seems to be improving..will let you know. "He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth" to prevent illness!!
  8. 8
    Cathy Says:
    At last found a site with people who have same or something similar. I have been getting pretty despearate wondering what on earth is going on. Started with a cough and copious amounts of disgusting green stringy mucus on 5 Feb. with a severe sore throat now over 3 months later had two lots of amoxicillin, and 1 course of dxycycline which I finished a week ago, sore throat returned yet again 4 days after finishing doxycycline and am now coughing up green mucus yet again. I too am now feeling fine in myself so I am reluctant to return to Dr. for more antibiotics, especially as the doxy wiped me out & cause not sure if all the antibiotics just delaying recovery!? I too hope and pray that everyone gets better very soon.
  9. 9
    Melissa Says:
    Yup, my husband and I have have been coughing up green mucos for 3 and 4 months now. He had it first, then I got it, then we both went in for antibiotics, he got a different one since he is allergic to amox. Mine went away after a couple weeks, but his never did. After about a month of feeling better, mine came back and I am coughing up green again. We feel pretty normal, but the green junk is getting old. We have given up kissing the kids on the lips for all these months and they are fine. We don't share drinks or food either cuz I don't want them to have it. So glad we have done that. No idea what this all is, but it seems pretty wide spread and pretty consistant. We have had friends with it as well. Never seen anything like it in my 34 years. So much for modern medicine being able to "fix us". I guess we are all just human after all. I hope everyone gets better. Not sure there is a "fix", but I do hope and pray that no one gets anything worse and that it eventuallly goes away on it's own. Also, if you haven't seen a Dr. already, I hope you go in at least once to be seen instead of self-diagnosing. Your symptoms might be just slightly different and need a different treatment.
  10. 10
    J.king Says:
    Ive recently caught a cold from my husband and his wasnt as bad as mine i had it for five days now and now my son has alittle of it and i caugh up green thick mucus but after reading this artical i feel a lot better.
  11. 11
    Steve Phillips Says:
    I've had what I think was a case of Swine Flu since the middle of February. It started as a heavy cold, runny nose etc, within a few days it was headaches, fatigue, aches and pains and so on. After a couple of weeks I began to feel slightly better, but then I got a chesty mucus cough which is terrible because it prevents me from sleeping. The only solution is a medicine called 'Benilyn' which is available in the UK. It make me more drowsy so I can sleep a bit. I just hope this cough won't last much longer, it's driving me crazy.
  12. 12
    Lucie Says:
    I couldn't breathe a few days ago after a bath, as it felt as if my lungs had water in them (I think from all the water vapour in the air). I nearly fainted and that night my throat was sore and I kept coughing. Now my throat is worse and my entire body aches, especially my ankle bone for some reason! It can't be a cold or flu because my body usually reacts through sneezing continuously when I have that. And I'm not sneezing at all. I'm bringing up green mucus with blood in it (sometimes). I just don't understand what's going on.
  13. 13
    kevin Says:
  14. 14
    Penlope Says:
    Hi alll of you, I have the same thing. I had a bad cold and it is gone away started in November now it is March,and my lungs are finally cearing up. I think it is werid so many people have the samethings.
  15. 15
    jonathan Says:
    its sad but orange juice really does not have that much vitamin C content. its all a marketing ploy. sorry! try broccoli, peppers, papaya, or even peas!
  16. 16
    denise d'rozario Says:
    hi i have had a cough and nasal congestion for just over 2 weeks.Dont feel like i have a cold just one nostril sounds like really bad cold and blocked.I Have been coughing up very thick yellow and green muchus.Some days yellow some days green.Now my left ear is blocked and having pain as well as sinus pain.Not sure if i have a chest infection.I purchased sinutab yesterday and it helped me to breath through my nose when i went to bed but today they havent worked.M y husband has had the same symptoms as myself but not coughing anything up,he has a chest infection.I gave up smoking just over a year ago and have had a scan on my lungs before christmas that came fine
  17. 17
    JQ Says:
    I've noticed that my sinus infections seem to follow my using the Neti pot for a few days. Could this be the result of improper drainage of the saline solution? Has anyone else had any problems with negative effects of using one?
  18. 18
    Jo Says:
    Same here. I don't know if this helps but my baby seemed to catch it first after playing with a friends child that had just gotten the N1H1 vaccine. The whole famil has been passing it around since new years. My sons doctor told us she thinks it is swine flu but it looks like there about over it. But a month later we were back and got more antibiotics. I don't know what's going on it feels like for me it is a combination of things. Once your immune system is down it is easier to catch a bug.... I believe you can heal yourself... But fighting a cold since New Years and swimming in green snot for a month is so annoying. I haven't taken antibiotic yet but was wondering if anyone has got this , got rid of it, and what they did?
  19. 19
    Steve and family Says:
    My whole family have gone down with a recurring cold/flu and have been left with a nasty cough that produces a horrible tasting bright green phlegm, this has been going on for about three months and I am more thn a bit concerned, does anyone know what virus has caused this and when will it go?
  20. 20
    Vance Says:
    Hello, I first noticed that I was feeling ill on New Years Day. I have been sick ever since and the symptoms seemed to get worse. I recently move to the country and everyone was talking about Cedar Fever, so I thought I had allergys. My family however had been here for Christmas and some of them were sick. I started off with Nyqual and started taking something called Cedar X, which is a homeopathic remedy for allergys due to cedar. Nothing seemed to be working. I was caughing a lot and caughing up yellow phlegm. I also had a sore throat and possible fever at some times off and on. My neighbor had some amoxacillin from Mexico, which was still in date. I started this 3 days ago and have been taking an amoxicillin in the morning and at night. It seems to be gettin better, but at night it is hard to sleep due to caughing and wheezing. I have also taken some aspirin for fever and pain and claritin for congestion. I thought I probably had an upper respiratory infection or whoopin cough. Although I think I am getting better, I am still considering going to the doctor because I am still caughing up yellowish phlegm. Should I stay on this amoxicillin and be patient or should I just go to the doctor. I am feeling better and caughing a lot less and my sore throat is pretty much gone except when I go into a caughing spell. What do you recommend for my situation.
  21. 21
    coffing Says:
    yeh definitely h1n1 from what i'm reading here, both my and my husband had it, i'm getting over it fast, but same thing, headache but not remarkable, achish fatigue, chills/fever but not remarkable, but the worst is this zero to sixty overnite lung thing, not even a sore throat first just like my throat was closing up, then all of a sudden i'm coughing up clumps of crap, to the point of gagging. weird, and then just feeling dizzy when vertical. it took him seven full days to get up but me it's faster, this is day five and already better i can tell. blood is just you are coughing too hard, don't panic, and you don't have to get it all out, sleep propped up on your back at night, it seems to move around and irritate you if you are on your side and rolling over. if you can't sleep on your back try putting a rolled up pillow or body pillow under your knees like a lounge chair. it helped me from gagging on phelgm during night, yuck
  22. 22
    Junior Says:
    I have also been coughing up green mucus for over 7 months now. The only difference being mine occurs throughout the day. I just had a bronchoscopy done, and they found that I had a fungal infection in my lower lungs. I'm not sure if this is the same problem as yours but maybe it will help.
  23. 23
    Lan Says:
    I have had a similar problem. Im 20 and have been coughing up phlegm for about a year. I have had antibiotics four times and a chest x ray which showed nothing. I was also given an inhaler, which didn't help. I gave a sample and it showed nothing. I have been to the doctors many times and they don't seem very sure about what is going on and i usually get answers like it will probably clear up soon. The most recent visit, they said they thought what i was coughing up was running from the back of my nose and gave me nasal spray which you can buy of the shelf. That Doctor said the inhaler was wrongly prescribed. I have tried the nasal spray and that is useless too. You can audibly hear that cough is chesty and productive. Im so fed up of this. I have never smoked, I barely drink. Take no drugs. I eat really healthily, cook everything from scratch and have an active lifestyle. The year long cough and the phlegm are the only symptoms. Really want some answers!
  24. 24
    Gunked Up Says:
    I had the flu shot 7 days ago - first time ever - on the third day after I started getting scratchy in the nose, runny nose, eyes a bit watery - went to bed and woke up with full on yellow phlegm in the nose, throat and chest the next day - breathing difficult - spent the following two days laid up in bed - no fever that I noticed - but headaches. End of the second day in bed started feeling a bit better - then the following day I seemed ok...UNTIL that night - scratchy in the nose, runny nose - AGAIN! Woke up the next day - yellow phlegm was back. Kinda like groundhog day - you gotta be kidding me. Hope it does not keep recycling like this. Had a coughing fit today.
  25. 25
    flyfishsoup Says:
    I have the same above problems. This occurred right after I had the regular seasonal flu shot and the H1N1 flu shot. I thought this might have been an allergic reaction to the shots, but this has been going on since Nov 09. I have the same symptoms. I'm coughing up thick, heavy green mucas in the morning and fine the rest of the day. I have no other symptoms to indicate I'm sick. I was on two rounds of antibiotics. Augmentin and Levaquin. My doctor thought this might have been allergies but allergies go away and this has been constant. I'm not a smoker and eat pretty health too. Does anyone have any ideas of what could be going on ?
  26. 26
    chopa Says:
    I think the problem is dairy products. Are you drinking milk a lot?
  27. 27
    venn Says:
    See a doctor.
  28. 28
    greenymeany Says:
    Hi, I have been coughing up green phlegm for over a year now. I am not sick, not coughing, and not sneezing. It usually happens in the morning when I wake up, and i'll have to hork up green phlegm. I am 21 years old, not a smoker, and consider myself to live a pretty healthy lifestyle. I find it really disgusting because it usually causes bad breathe. Can someone help?
  29. 29
    peter scott Says:
    at least im not alone i have same thing, i think type of swine flu, headache and big breathing yellow mucus problem for a month now has me scared thru everything at it no avail.
  30. 30
    never get sick Says:
    Wow I thought I was the only one w/ weird symptoms! I hardly ever come down with anything. Never had a flu shot and never have had the flu as far as I can tell (43y btw). I came down w/ a cough almost a month ago. But nothing else, no fatigue, no sore throat, nothing. Just a dry cough that would not go away. Then after a couple of weeks stuff in my lungs started to break loose and it started kinda clear and then went to yellow. Now, a couple more, it's finally green. I have never had such a strange ailment. Never really felt sick at all. Just the damn annoying cough (and apparently gunk accumulating in the lungs - which I wasn't really aware of until I started coughing it up 2 weeks later). I figured that I just has some kind of sinus infection, but now I'm wondering if it was a strangely mild case of swine flu, or at least a case of whatever several people here have already described. Oh well, at least I'm happy to find out that I'm actually, finally (hopefully) at the end of this.
  31. 31
    skool Says:
    i am ill. my mucus is yellowy green so how can i tel wat about clear mucus? plz tel me!
  32. 32
    vera Says:
    Try this home Remedy all natural every days food. 1. 6 pieces(clove) of garlic ( Lighly crushed) 2. 1" piece of ginger " " 3. 1 teaspoon Cummin 4. l small onion or 1/4 of a big onion - (sliced) 5. 1 stick of cinnomon 6. 3 pods of cardamons & 2 gloves Add the above to your cooking pot with 7 glasses of water and bring to a boil on medium or slow temperature for about 25 minutes to reduce to 5 glasses. Turn off yr stove and allow to cool. When cool, pour only the liquid into glass bottle or jar & store in yr fridge. discard the rest. Drink 1/4 cup of this liquid( warm) 4 to 5 times a day till yr cold clear. Do not be afraid, you will cough up a lot of mucus. Your body is getting rid of the mucus. Try this home natural ingredient, it worked every time like magic for my family, it has no side effects. It is better than any over the counter medication, as it cough out all the mucus. But for your cough you must take cough syrup till yr cough disappears.For temporary relief from irriting cough, try chewing a whole black pepper or a little sugar/sweetner or honey added to 1/4 cup of warm water, stir and drink. It temporary relief irriting cough.. Take care. in superstore.
  33. 33
    Stacy Says:
    I have exactly what u have....but ive had it since mid August. On a 21 day amox clav 875mg twice a day. I hope it helps but I sure don't feel it. I have a nasty weezing cough and throw up sometimes too. Had a credit scan...showed clogged sinuses and fluid. Never got diagnosed with broncitis but my lungs burn. If u get better help me out too....tell me what works!
  34. 34
    Sue Ann Says:
    I've been ill since @ 9/27. Sinusitis/brochitis/bilat otis media. Have taken an antibiotic ceph (somthing) 10 days, a steriod 6 days, augment 14 days, perscription cough syrup. Today my left ear is still plugged, last night I was coughing up (actually vomiting) yellow-green mucus (quit a bit). I am also taking mucinex and I still feel terrible and I'm worse at night. I will now try some of the recommendations above. I had also taken over a wk off from work to try resting and this still didn't improve my condition. How much longer will this last. No chest xray-Dr said he doesn't hear anything in my lungs.
  35. 35
    recymom Says:
    Seems obvious. Cut out the weed and cigs and your lungs will start to clear up. You may have recurring bronchitis which can last 3 months out of the year and comes and goes often. You're doing extensive damage to your lungs so why not quit the habit now and save your health?
  36. 36
    venn Says:
    I reeeeeeeeally doubt that native american herb claim relies on anything more than anecdotes. What tribes? What region? How was the herb prepared? What are its medicinal properties? Who conducted the research to verify that claim? I call bs.
  37. 37
    didi Says:
    "Lomatium Dissectum" is an anti-viral & anti-bacterial herb. During the influenza epidemic of 1918-1919 the native American that took this herb had not one death, not one!. I had the swine flu last week, I took this herb and am fine now. Very safe herb, can cause a rash but I did not get a rash and I was eating the bark, taking the tincture and the standardized extract capsules with no problems.
  38. 38
    2muchweed Says:
    ive been coughing alot and when i wake up about 3hours later is when i start to cough up alot of stuff, mostly green/yellow mucus. i smoke alot of weed and cigarettes and i was sick a week ago. dont know what to do. plz reply
  39. 39
    Dr. Destructo Says:
    You're all fine.
  40. 40
    James Says:
    Hey Edwin, Amoxicillin is a rather strong antibiotic, the step up from it caused me to cough up blood quite regularly. I'm pretty sure the amoxicillin also may induce bloody coughs also. I beleive you had/have swine flu, as I was prescribed the same medication for the same symptons you had. Best thing you can do in my opinion is stop all drug treatment, drink plenty of tea / soup / juice, ensure you eat meals with garlic (this boosts the immune system naturally) and ensure to keep your airways clean either by using a steam room, coughing / blowing your nose regularly and you should be fine. Also, make sure you sanatise your hands regularly to keep the amount of spread germs to a minimum. Always remember to consult your GP if you feel worse Hope this helps.
  41. 41
    Les Says:
    I coughed up blood for 12 days, I had shadows on my lungs which turned out to be about 100 small 3mm nodules, I then had a lung biopsy which determined NO CANCER, but VIRAL PNEUMONIA. All the antibiotics in the world cannot do anything about Viral deseases. Im fine now all the nodules cleared up on their own.
  42. 42
    Edwin Says:
    Good day to the readers. About a week ago i started coughing thick green mucus, at night would sweat badly, during the day if any fisical activity i would start to sweat. after few days one night at 4am. back and stomach pain started so i was thinking its pheumonia comming as i had it many years ago, i remember it was party time in the winter, after some hours my lower back started hurting so badly i had to beg to go home, then doctor came i was halucinating... but this time i rushed to doctor and got antibiotics AMOXICILLIN 21 pills. dont know if it will help, ive taken 6 pills by now every 8 hours. MAIN CONCERN is the mucus is not green any more is YELLOW WITH BIT OF BLOOD, am i getting better or worse?? i do feel much better during the day but night time is coughing time... no temperature though. Thanks for any comments Edwin
  43. 43
    Kaida Says:
    That is called a cold, genius.
  44. 44
    Joe Says:
    I've had a wheezing cough for over 2 weeks now its started the day after a heat wave where i sweat my balls off working in my garage i cut up and old shelf unit for garbage and i got a few whiffs of the nasty saw dust maybe..... two days before that i had some drinks with my sick bro in-law... but i've been noticing green and the cough is getting a little better and easier to cough up the mucus... i only treated my self with expired tusso dm a few times which is Dextromethorphan and Guaifenesin and my neti pot and gargling salt water and swimming in the ocean. Hopefully it will be done with soon... although my sinuses r constantly filling with yellow mucus and i'm sneezing..
  45. 45
    green here too Says:
    without any symptoms of anything i started coughing a week ago, 4 days ago thick green mucus started coming out. no fever, no congestion, no muscle pain, nothing at all. i'm healthy, non-smoker.
  46. 46
    Jessie walkup Says:
    I've been coughing up green phlegm an have copd I'm 20 yrs old
  47. 47
    Liz Says:
    Hi Janice I don't know about H1N1 but based on this article if green means you are at the end of your illness I think the green stuff should have stopped about 8 weeks ago. I think 10 weeks is a long time and I think you think so too. Listen to your gut. If you think something is still wrong check it out and also second opinions are encouraged. See another doctor.
  48. 48
    Janice Says:
    Amy What were your symptoms of swine flu? I think I had a mild case but the Dr didn't want to take blood to confirm since I was not that ill but I have been coughing up green phlegm for 10 wks!
  49. 49
    Amy Says:
    I recently came down with the H1N1 flu. It was an extremely intense virus and was one of the worst flus I have ever had. I am at the end of this flu now but I am still coughing up green phlem from my chest. My first reaction was to run to the doctor to get antibiotics because I thought this was an infection developing in my bronchial area. However, I am feeling fine now, no fever anymore, just bringing up green mucus. I was happy to read this and I feel better now that I know this is normal for the end of an illness such as the swine flu. I won't panic now...
  50. 50
    Benita Says:
    Thank you for the information. I always knew that colored mucus was indicative of an illness but I, probably like many people, didn't realize that green was towards the end of the illness.