A productive cough helps clear mucus (sputum) and foreign material
from the airways. Mucus may be made in the lungs because of
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Colds and allergies may produce mucus that drains down the back of
the throat (postnasal drainage). Home treatment may be all that is
needed to provide relief if you have a productive cough and postnasal drainage
but do not have other symptoms.
A productive cough in a person who smokes is often a sign of lung
damage. For smokers, the most effective way to treat a cough is to stop
smoking. A change in the cough or in the color or quantity of sputum may
mean a bacterial lung infection.
A productive cough is a more serious when:
A doctor can evaluate your symptoms and recommend
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Current as ofMarch 25, 2017
Current as of:
March 25, 2017
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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Last modified on: 8 September 2017