Coughing up Green Mucus – Contagious or Not?
Throat mucus is very normal. It is the body’s natural response to dryness, such as that which occurs when yelling and screaming become abundant or as a response to environmental toxins like cigarette smoke. Throat mucus acts as a moisturizing lubricant and it doesn’t always necessarily indicate illness. Normally it’s clear to white in color although coughing up yellow mucus as a result of allergies is not uncommon. When a lack of hue is evident or mucus is pale yellow or white, there is usually little cause for concern unlike cases of coughing up brown mucus which can be indicative of blood or some serious illnesses. However, when it comes to coughing up green mucus, contagious alerts can quickly go off as the different shade of phlegm very much is a common indicator of infection within the body.
Most of the time when the body is fighting off illness, mucus can range in color from yellow to green. This color change is not a result of the bacteria or virus itself, rather the white blood cells that are attacking it. They can contribute to yellow green mucus due to enzymes that are used in infection fighting, according to Reuters. This enzyme is called myelperoxidase, and it in itself is a pea green sort of shade. When it reaches the source of infection regardless of cause, it can create yellow green mucus of varying shades as a result.
Coughing up green mucus is normally a result of a natural reaction within the body. Primehealthchannel.com explains that when mucus builds up in the throat, it creates irritation which can produce coughing. Inflammation that results from buildup can lead to coughing up mucus, in an attempt by the throat to expel the gooey substance from the body.
The color of the expelled matter is usually what prompts people to recognize that they are sick. While not always the case, thick green mucus is normally a sign of infection. This infection can be caused by bother bacteria and viruses as well. There is no way to tell whether or not thick green mucus is a result of a bacteria or a virus, only that it likely indicates infection of some sort, a clue provided by the mucus color.
Therefore, coughing up green mucus almost always indicates a contagious illness as both viruses and bacteria create communicable illnesses in people. However, it is interesting to note that the onset of coughing up green mucus can provide an indicator into just how contagious the afflicted are. When no other symptoms are present, green mucus is no more of a contagious threat than white or clear mucus is. This is because by the time the mucus has turned green, the immune system has already started to battle whatever is causing the illness, and therefore contagiousness doesn’t increase exponentially as a result of a change in mucus hue. But, Parents.com points out conversely that coughing up green mucus can occur during the worst parts of a cold or illness, and therefore contagiousness is still present. They explain that as long as symptoms are present, contagiousness should be suspected.
One of the most important things to remember is that even though coughing up green mucus is often evident of a contagious illness, that doesn’t necessarily mean that antibiotics are needed. In fact, they are completely useless against viruses, a common cause of green mucus. Reuters references a study in which patients who did in fact have illnesses of a bacterial nature were given antibiotics and a surprising amount of them didn’t have symptom relief regardless of the underlying bugs that were causing symptoms. And, overuse of antibiotics recently for viral sources has led to many of them no longer being effective against the bacterial sources they were intended to combat. While there is little to do about reducing the contagious period associated with bacteria and viruses, there are some non medicinal ways to reduce coughing up green mucus that can be associated with them. Primehealthchannel.com recommends herbal teas and plenty of water to combat symptoms and spicy foods and baths that are hot can also be beneficial temporary remedies.