Phlegm is usually associated with cough and colds, just like in medical conditions like influenza and pneumonia. While it may not be a concern for some, it may rise as a problem in other people, especially when it comes to an effective airway clearance and breathing pattern. The following are the causes, signs and symptoms, and home remedies for phlegm.
Phlegm has various causes. According to The Naked Scientists, one origin of phlegm is the trachea, which is lined with mucus membranes, the cells where mucus comes from. As per the publication, bacteria and debris combine with the mucus in the airways and when a person gets a cold, the epithelial cells that line the airway. Hence, phlegm may be a result of overproduction of mucus related to inflammation, irritation, or infection of the airways.
Signs and Symptoms
The presence of phlegm presents several symptoms. According to Health Grades, these include presence of cough, fatigue, fever with or without chills and sweats, headache, muscle aches, nausea, loss of appetite, runny nose, stuffy nose, sneezing, swollen and tender lymph nodes in the neck, sore throat, dry throat, enlarged tonsils, white patches on the throat and tonsils, and water eyes among others. With regard the discharge, the publication mentioned that it may be green or yellow; it depends on the invading microorganism.
While antibiotics and anti-inflammatory agents may be prescribed for phlegm associated with cough and colds, home remedies can also be done to help manage the condition.
Steam and Salt Water
Two remedies for phlegm are steam and salt water. According to Top 10 Home Remedies, steam inhalation serves as the best and simplest way to eliminate phlegm from the system. This helps maintain phlegm in liquid form for the person to more easily get rid of it from the body. The person just takes a steam shower two times a day. Then, the shower is turned to full heat and the person stays in the bathroom for ten minutes to help break up the mucus. The body is moisturized after, since warm water attracts the skin’s moisture and essential oils. Another way to combat phlegm is to gargle with warm salt water, which is soothing to the throat. It also helps fight bacteria that may be causing the infection; this way phlegm production will be reduced. The person just has to mix one-fourth teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and gargles with the solution. The remedy is done several times a day.
Ginger and Honey
Consuming ginger and honey also helps relieve phlegm. According to Home Remedy Shop, ginger helps reduce cough and colds symptoms, soothing the respiratory system. The person just has to take 100 grams of fresh ginger root and remove the other skin. The ginger is crushed without adding water to it, instead two tablespoons of raw honey is added and the mixture is heated in a microwave for 15 seconds. The person takes two tablespoons of the concoction and consumes it twice a day for three days.
Another remedy for phlegm is adjusting the pillows. Sleep and rest is vital to fighting cough and colds and elevating the head through pillows helps the person breather more easily. According to Natural Living Ideas, it helps relieve congested nasal passages and promote a better sleep. As per the publication, doing so also helps prevent the congestion from going to the lungs, which results to a painful and annoying cough.
Phlegm results from mucus production secondary to the infection, irritation, and inflammation of the airways and it may affect a person’s breathing and oxygenation, which may further result to interference in the performance of activities of daily living and loss of function. Persistence of phlegm with associated cough, colds, and fever may necessitate medical consult for early management and resolution.