This season, I caught both a cold in February 2016 and the Flu in June 2016. I conclude, the strains have changed because, they were both devastating and I seem to catch them every two years or so. The Flu had me at home for two weeks. I had majority of the symptoms and my nights were beyond miserable.
In the final week, I was left with puffy sinuses and a constant flow of mucus. In the next couple posts, I want to share some information on dealing with mucus/phlegm.
What Is the Difference between Mucus and Phlegm
The main difference between mucus and phlegm relates to where each substance comes from. Mucus normally comes from a person’s mucous membranes, such as from inside the nose. Phlegm usually comes from the back of the throat or lungs. While both substances are slippery in texture, phlegm is typically thicker than mucus. People who have colds normally blow mucus out of their noses and might cough up phlegm from their throats or lungs.
Mucus and phlegm are usually present inside the body at all times, but both may become more abundant when a person has a cold or his allergies act up. The excess of both substances tends to make colds and allergies much more uncomfortable for people who suffer from them because increased nose-blowing and coughing may be necessary to get rid of mucus and phlegm. Another difference between mucus and phlegm is that phlegm often contains dead bacteria, virus, and white blood cells. Phlegm might also appear more congealed than mucus does. Even though it may be tempting to swallow it, many doctors advise people to cough up phlegm when it rises in their throats because doing this may help to rid their bodies of whatever infection they might have.
Expelling mucus and phlegm may be particularly problematic at night when a person is trying to sleep. Both of these substances can interfere with normal sleeping patterns. Doctors often recommend or prescribe cough suppressants to help people who are producing lots of mucus and phlegm to sleep better. Cough suppressants are typically recommended for use only at night because coughing is one of the ways in which a person’s body rids itself of infections that cause an excess of mucus and phlegm. Coughing during the day when a person is awake and not trying to get to sleep may actually be beneficial.
Doctors occasionally prescribe cough expectorants for people to use during the day to help them cough up more mucus and phlegm. Some people with colds may have problems with dry coughing, which is also described as a cough that doesn’t produce much mucus or phlegm. Dry coughs are normally unproductive and might cause extreme throat irritation that could lead to hoarseness when a person tries to talk. During the day, a cough expectorant may be very helpful for a person who has lots of mucus or phlegm to expel from her nasal passages, throat, or lungs.
Mucus is a slippery secretion of the lining of various membranes in the body (mucous membranes). Mucus aids in the protection of the lungs by trapping foreign particles that enter the nose during normal breathing. Additionally, it prevents tissues from drying out. Increased mucus production in the respiratory tract is a symptom of many common diseases, such as the common cold. The presence of mucus in the nose and throat is normal, but increased quantities can impede comfortable breathing and must be cleared by blowing the nose or expectorating phlegm from the throat. Phlegm: the definition is limited to the mucus produced by the respiratory system, excluding that from the nasal passages, and particularly that which is expelled by coughing (sputum).
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