What do the colors of phlegm mean?

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i have a cold and i am coughing up phlegm and i would like to know what the colors mean
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Colors of phlegm
Phlegm may be of several different colors.

"Healthy" phlegm is normally clear or white.
Yellow phlegm is normally a sign of an infection, or a case of the common cold.
Greenish or brownish phlegm is nearly always a sign of infection. Greenish or rusty phlegm or phlegm with rusty spots can also be a sign of pneumonia and/or internal micro-bleedings.
Coughing up brown phlegm is also a common symptom of excessive smoking. This is due to resin sticking to the viscous texture of the phlegm and being ejected by the body.
Another type of phlegm often associated with smoking is brownish gray in color. This variant is encased in clear saliva. When spread out, the brown-grey "core" is shown to be grainy in composition, as opposed to holding together. This is simply dust and other foreign matter and may be caused by damage to the cilia, as in COPD patients.

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thank you so very much for taking the time to answer my question
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  • Sammie answered 8 years ago
    clear is okay, but yellow or green usually means an infection of some sort. You can go to your local clinic and get some antibiotics for it.
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  • southron_98 answered 8 years ago
    Hello, I hope you are feeling better, I'll prescribe something for you after I answer your question. :-)

    Here is the answer to your question:

    Phlegm may be of several different colors.
    "Healthy" phlegm is normally clear or white.
    Yellow phlegm is normally a sign of an infection, or a case of the common cold.
    Greenish or brownish phlegm is nearly always a sign of infection. Greenish or rusty phlegm or phlegm with rusty spots can also be a sign of pneumonia.
    Coughing up brown phlegm is also a common symptom of excessive smoking. This is due to resin sticking to the viscous texture of the phlegm and being ejected by the body.

    If you listen to my grandmother and it helps will you write back to say I'll pay more attention to what older people say in the future? :-) In the morning and at bedtime hot tea (not coffee); every four to six hours take two or three regular aspirins (Bayers); a hot shower not bath as many times a day as possible; lastly drink water until you feel like a sponge. (A lot of water)!! Sounds dumb I know, but we know there is no cure for a cold but this really makes you feel better and sometimes shortens the infected period. Trust me would I lie? Ok, I see your point trust my late grand mother then! God Bless you my late grandmother and the Southern people..

    Source(s):

    My Grandmother God Rest Her Soul
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  • MARIAN B answered 8 years ago
    Green means that you have a Chest infection,
    Rusty coloured could mean that you have Pneumonia
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  • Dogzilla answered 8 years ago
    Green means an infection.
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  • KK answered 8 years ago
    clear is ok, but yellow and green is a virus :)
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  • SouthernBelle answered 8 years ago
    Clear-yellowy is allergies.

    Green is usually a sign of a viral infection.
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  • Trisha answered 8 years ago
    Clear phlegm is Viral. Yellow is Viral or Allergies. Green is infection. Brown is blood and could be infection or something more serious.

    So if its white phelgm then it is ok.
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  • knoodelhed answered 8 years ago
    (IANAD) but supposedly as the color of phlegm tends through yellow to green it suggests a more serious bronchial infection. It's at this stage that you should be on an antibiotic for the infection, and also mucinex or robitussin to help clear your lungs.
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  • southernlady71251 answered 8 years ago
    You have an infection.
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