What Causes Mucus-Laden Coughing?

Some coughs are dry, while other coughs are productive. A productive cough brings up a slippery substance called mucus. Another name for mucus is sputum or phlegm. Mucin, water, cells, and inorganic salts are the major components that make up mucus. It sometimes looks colored and this may come from foods, chocolates, colored drinks, smoking, an infection, blood, or air pollution.

  1. Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis

    • Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis is an allergic reaction to Aspergillus, which is a fungus that travels easily through the air. When exposed to aspergillosis, it can lead to asthma or lung disease in some people. This causes a person to cough up brown-flecked masses or mucus plugs. Aspergillosis is almost unavoidable, as it is found outdoor in decaying leaves, compost, on plants, trees and grain. Indoors aspergillosis is found in the air conditioning and heating ducts. It is also found in carpets, insulation, food, tap water, ornamental plants and many spices.

    Cystic Fibrosis

    • Cystic fibrosis patients have a chronic cough with thick mucus. The causes of cystic fibrosis are a genetic defect, which sets off the mucous producing glands of a person's body. This causes the body to produce thick and sticky mucus in excessive amounts. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that is more prevalent among the Caucasian race. Cystic fibrosis often clogs the air passages with mucus.

    Nosocomial Pneumonia

    • Nosocomial pneumonia patients may have a wet cough with thick yellow-green mucus or rust-colored sputum. This occurs in the later stages of nosocomial pneumonia. This type of pneumonia originates in a hospital.


    • Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs with consolidation. A number of different infections such as bacterial, viral, fungal, yeast infection or trauma causes pneumonia. When the lungs become inflamed, this leads to a cough with thick yellow-green mucus. Pneumonia can occur any time of year, cough with rust-colored sputum, blood in sputum, and a productive cough.

    Pulmonary Infections Related to AIDS

    • Pulmonary infections related to AIDS, occur because of the body's decreased immunity. In the first stages the cough is dry, but in the later stages, the cough has thick yellow-green mucus. Common causes of pulmonary infections related to AIDS are pneumocystitis pneumonia, tuberculosis, mycobacterium avium complex and lung tumors.

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