Pneumonia or pneumonia is a disease that is predominantly infectious in nature, with severe consequences for the body, since the alveoli and interstitial tissue of the lungs are damaged. The main symptom of this disease is coughing up mucus. Sputum in pneumonia occurs in all patients (with rare exceptions), be it an adult or a child. With pneumonia, it accumulates in large quantities between the respiratory organs and the trachea, due to which edema forms, which interferes with normal breathing. In a healthy person, the volume of bronchial secretions per day does not exceed 100 ml, but with this disease it can reach a liter or more.

Sputum functions

Sputum is the secretion of the trachea and bronchi secreted during coughing, to which the secretions of the nasal mucosa and particles of saliva join. The respiratory organs constantly produce it so that the body can fully work and develop. It also performs the following functions:

  1. Airway clearance. With the help of mucus, unnecessary substances that have entered the body during breathing are eliminated. In a healthy person, the discharge of secretions does not cause any inconvenience. When he gets sick, the sputum can become thick and its amount grows significantly, so a cough appears. With the help of this reflex, the body tries to get rid of its excess.
  2. Protective. Bronchial secretions are the first barrier to airborne particles from the environment. It envelops the respiratory system, thereby preventing mechanical damage and protecting cells from the aggressive influence of bacteria and dust that have entered the body.
  3. Supports immunity. Mucus traps bacteria and viruses, preventing them from entering the human body, and neutralizes them with antibodies and antiseptic contained in it.
  4. Lubricating. Due to phlegm, the internal respiratory organs are moisturized and softened, which ensures comfortable breathing.

Also, sputum performs an auxiliary function in making the correct diagnosis and prescribing a course of treatment. Studies of bronchial secretions are one of the most productive and accurate methods to determine the nature, nature and causes of inflammatory processes in the respiratory system.

To diagnose a disease, a general analysis is usually carried out in several stages: macroscopic, microscopic, bacteriological and chemical analyzes. They allow you to determine the causes of the disease, provide complete information about the localization and progress of the disease, causative agents of the disease, the absence or presence of malignant tumors.

Sputum color in pneumonia

When making a diagnosis, doctors pay special attention to the color of the sputum in pneumonia. In a normal state, the bronchial secretion is transparent and colorless, not cloudy and without inclusions. But it changes when a person gets sick. There can be a large number of shades of discharge in pneumonia. The main ones are:

  1. Transparent white or grayish – this color is considered normal when coughing. The amount of such mucus should be moderate, and the cough should go away in no more than three days. If the cough does not stop, this indicates pathologies of the respiratory tract: bronchitis, its complication – pneumonia, as well as allergies or swelling of the respiratory system. The color of the cough discharge may change as the disease progresses.
  2. Yellow – this shade is often a sign of acute or focal pneumonia and bronchitis, and is also caused by allergic reactions or chronic inflammation. The presence of a bacterial infection is indicated by a dark yellow tint and a thick consistency. If the mucus is of a lighter shade, then, most likely, this is evidence of the body’s resistance to viruses that are not dangerous for the body.
  3. Brown – such discharge is a symptom in chronic forms of inflammation, as well as lung cancer and tuberculosis. Sputum of this shade is accompanied by long-term severe symptoms: high fever, general weakness, vomiting, it is especially characteristic of children.
  4. Green or purulent. The appearance of green discharge when coughing is a signal for serious concern. After all, they can indicate the presence of pus in the lungs. Green sputum is an indicator of the presence of chronic infections in the body, or advanced pneumonia. Inflammation of the lungs with this phlegm is accompanied by fever, excessive sweating, weakness, and fever.
  5. Reddish or any other with the presence of blood streaks. If blood is found in the expectorated discharge, this can speak not only of an advanced form of pneumonia, but also of tuberculosis or lung cancer. A pink tint of sputum indicates small bleeding in the respiratory organs, sometimes it can simply burst small vessels from intense coughing. If, when coughing, blood fluid is actively released with foam, this indicates oncology.

The most dangerous for pneumonia are sputum secretions of green, brown and red. They are witnessing the development of serious and highly progressive complications.

Sputum treatment

Excess sputum accumulating in the respiratory organs during pneumonia has a strong effect on the patient’s condition, interferes with normal breathing and causes coughing fits. To get rid of such a manifestation of pneumonia, such as the secretion of mucus when coughing, it is worth contacting a specialist who, after confirming the diagnosis, will prescribe a rational course of treatment.

The main measure in treatment is the appointment of special antibiotics with a wide spectrum of action. These are penicillins, macrolides or cephalosporins. If medication does not work within three days, a change of medication is necessary.

Treatment is also necessarily supplemented with mucolytics, which help thin the mucus, and expectorants to release unnecessary phlegm from the body and relieve swelling from the respiratory system. It is good that inhalations with medicinal solutions affect the discharge of secretions, which must be carried out a couple of times during the day, in which case the proper result will not be long in coming. All medications should be taken only after a doctor’s prescription.

With the consent of the doctor, for a greater effect and a speedy recovery, you can use traditional medicine, such as decoctions based on medicinal herbs or natural animal and vegetable fats.

There are also simple and effective methods to help cough up excess mucus in pneumonia:

  1. Drink plenty of fluids. Water dilutes phlegm and improves expectoration. Tea or warm water is best for this, which will also help soothe an irritated throat.
  2. Wet air. Due to the dry air, the mucous membrane of the larynx will dry out strongly, the discharge will become thicker and worse. Therefore, it is worth taking care of humidifying the air in the room. In addition to humidifiers, a regular spray bottle or a damp towel may well work for this.
  3. Postural drainage and drainage gymnastics. There are many different exercises that, under the influence of gravity, force phlegm out of the bronchi. For example, bending the torso forward, kneeling or lying in bed on its side, hang the upper torso, performing this exercise for no more than 10 minutes. This will help to get rid of the accumulated mucus faster. But the exercises should be done without overstraining an already weakened body.