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WHAT COLOUR IS HEALTHY SPUTUM (No infection) SUPPOSED TO BE

Bardear profile image
33 Replies

I have COPD/Asthma.

My sputum is usually greenish in colour and I was told many years ago by a Pulmonary Rehab Nurse "Don't worry about it it's probably the correct colour for you". !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I ask because I hope to have an op and mentioned this and have been asked to provide a sputum sample. When taking my Rescue Pack the sputum becomes clear.

Anyone know the answer to this??

xxxx

33 Replies
Troilus profile image
Troilus

Healthy sputum is clear. I was told that green phlegm indicates bacterial infection.

Bardear profile image
Bardear in reply to Troilus

THANK YOU FOR YOUR REPLY.

I HAVE HAD THIS COLOUR SPUTUM FOR MANY YEARS ON AND OFF I HAVE EVEN MENTIONED IT TO MY CHEST CONS. AND THIS IS THE FIRST TIME A SPUTUM SAMPLE HAS BEEN REQUESTED.

THANK GOODNESS I ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION IF THE SPUTUM GETS REALLY DARK AND TAKE MY RESCUE PACK OF ANTIBIOTIC AND PREDNISOLONE

THANK YOU AGAIN

BARDEAR

Cornishman1966 profile image
Cornishman1966

I need to have a serious chest infections for mine to be green. I'd say clear or very, very pale yellow.

Bardear profile image
Bardear in reply to Cornishman1966

THANK YOU FOR YOUR REPLY.

I HAVE HAD THIS COLOUR SPUTUM FOR MANY YEARS ON AND OFF I HAVE EVEN MENTIONED IT TO MY CHEST CONS. AND THIS IS THE FIRST TIME A SPUTUM SAMPLE HAS BEEN REQUESTED.

THANK GOODNESS I ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION IF THE SPUTUM GETS REALLY DARK AND TAKE MY RESCUE PACK OF ANTIBIOTIC AND PREDNISOLONE

THANK YOU AGAIN

BARDEAR

Bevvy profile image
Bevvy

My understanding is that pulmonary rehab nurse is wrong! I’ve always been informed that coloured sputum is a sign of infection. Certainly whenever mine has been colourful I have had an infection.

Bardear profile image
Bardear in reply to Bevvy

THANK YOU FOR YOUR REPLY.

I HAVE HAD THIS COLOUR SPUTUM FOR MANY YEARS ON AND OFF I HAVE EVEN MENTIONED IT TO MY CHEST CONS. AND THIS IS THE FIRST TIME A SPUTUM SAMPLE HAS BEEN REQUESTED.

THANK GOODNESS I ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION IF THE SPUTUM GETS REALLY DARK AND TAKE MY RESCUE PACK OF ANTIBIOTIC AND PREDNISOLONE

THANK YOU AGAIN

BARDEAR

Patk1 profile image
Patk1

White or clear although mine has never b clear,and rarely white

Egpa profile image
Egpa

I have had a bad bug when my sputem was very very pale nearly clear with no other symptoms, was told sputem is not always green for infection by my consultant, I was put on co-amoxiclave for 14 days. Then tested again still not clear of bug given antibiotics for 7 more says. My rescue pack is now co-amoxiclave for 14 days. Take care and stay safe.

ghousrider profile image
ghousrider

Good morning all yes i keep on eye on my spetrummm if it clear white colour i now i am fine / if its a green colour i no signs of chest infection to try and clear it my self benerlin for chesty coughs i have after a shower let warm water run over your back for a few mins that helps me as i have copd / cheers ghoust rider

Alberta56 profile image
Alberta56

Mine's clear when health; green, yellow or brown when infected.

Izb1 profile image
Izb1

We have all been told that green is a sign of infection but that doesn't apply to all of us. Mine changes colour even when i am well and it has been pure white when I have had an infection. It could be that the nurse was right but I would put a sample in just to make sure you are ok for your op x

Tykelady profile image
Tykelady

I have a post nasal drip so sometimes what I bring up is, excuse me, snot coloured though not always. As it doesn't persist for any length of time I have never thought to mention it.

Otto11 profile image
Otto11

Diagnosed 3 years ago but still not been seen by a consultant but mine has always been a dark Green ish colour too. I’ve had no one to ask questions of as yet ( other than this wonderful group). After my last infection & antibiotics it was less green but it’s now back to my normal green colour . X

knitter profile image
knitter in reply to Otto11

Best check that out ….any other symptoms , temperature for example ?

Try ringing the ALUK helpline as well as your GP .

Helpline open for UK residents during working week on

0300 222 5800

Otto11 profile image
Otto11 in reply to knitter

Hi thanks for your reply. What is the AL Helpline please? I havnt heard of it. No symptoms no temperature etc. I’m on Biologics which can mask symptoms so it’s hard to gauge. I had an infection in November & took Doxycycline for a week & did feel better afterwards. Maybe it hasn’t cleared up properly x

knitter profile image
knitter in reply to Otto11

hi , the helpline is the one attached to this site .

It deals with breathing conditions ….used to be the British Lung Foundation when I first joined 10 years ago ..

Otto11 profile image
Otto11 in reply to knitter

Thank you. I've heard of the BLF didnt realise it had changed. Will take a look x

Bardear profile image
Bardear in reply to knitter

THANKYOU XXXX

Bardear profile image
Bardear in reply to Otto11

XXXX

katiepudding2 profile image
katiepudding2

It should not be green. I always send off a sputum for culture and sensitivity - thats what you should do too

Bardear profile image
Bardear in reply to katiepudding2

NO DOCTOR HAS EVER SUGGESTED THIS BE HE/SHE CONSULTANT, REGISTRAR OR GP. I FREEL ITS THE RIGHT THING TO DO AND THANKYOU FOR TELLING ME ABOUT IT I WILL LOOK INTO IT AND SEE HOW FAR I GET. THANKYOU AGAIN XXXX

MoyB profile image
MoyB

I once saw a paramedic at the surgery who wanted to know why I had dropped off a sputum sample before seeing her. I said, 'It's standard practice for patients with Bronchiectasis.' She said, 'Oh well, I suppose it was the right thing to do, then.' She checked me over and declared me fit and well. The sputum sample showed a pseudomonas colonisation and my consultant, when he heard about it, put me straight onto an antibiotic to get rid of it. When a GP had given me the sputum result, he said, 'Well, lots of people live with this and we don't treat it unless it's causing a problem.' (It WAS causing me a problem - that's why I'd been seen by the paramedic!)

My sputum wasn't green then, just mucky looking. If it's green, there's no argument and it's antibiotics straight away.

Unfortunately, not every medically trained person has full knowledge of respiratory conditions. I am a bit surprised that you've not submitted a sample previously. Perhaps it's because I have Bronchiectasis that my consultant always gives me three sputum pots when I see him with orders to 'get it tested' whenever I'm in doubt - regardless of the colour.

He did also say that results often come back as 'normal flora' but this doesn't mean there is no infection - just that it hasn't been identified. However, at most surgeries, the word 'normal' takes priority and they take it to mean that you are completely well!

Hope your test shows something that can be seen off with the right antibiotic. xx Moy

Verbena_67 profile image
Verbena_67 in reply to MoyB

Honestly, not sure why we go to the doctors today. Our experience has been that they are so aloof... don't ask questions to really try to figure it out. I was starting to think that they are just this way with ppl of a certain age, but from what I hear here, maybe it's just a new way of doctoring.

Bardear profile image
Bardear in reply to MoyB

THANK YOU XXXX

Bardear profile image
Bardear in reply to MoyB

THANK YOU FINGERS CROSSED I GET SONME SORT OF RESULT XXXX

Morrison10 profile image
Morrison10

HI, I was born with PCD, and have had chest issues all my life, I’m now 87. Green sputum is sign of infection, and sputum test is to ensure you take best medication or antibiotic. I’m aware that some GPs seem to be unaware of benefit of sputum test, perhaps it’s not easy for them to get it to a laboratory. My sputum has been thick green as long as I can remember, and only send sample when other indications, including feeling off colour, or raised temperature. Good luck x

Bardear profile image
Bardear in reply to Morrison10

THANKYOU XXXX

MozB profile image
MozB

I have bronchiectasis and sent a sputum sample off and came back positive and the bug responded to doxycycline. Had 10 day course, sent another sample, same result. Had another 10 day course, another sample, same result, still positive. Specialist He thought lungs are colonised with H. influenza. X-ray, blood test later seemed to show infection so given 12 weeks of AZITHROMYCIN. Sent another sample… you guessed it… still positive. Waiting to see what the specialist plans now. Sputum is nearly always coloured to some extent but I’ve found lately that it is less coloured if I keep well hydrated (2 to 2.1/2 litres/day), exercise and getting rid as much sputum as possible during the day. I know I’ve an infection when I can’t be bothered with anything, no interest in hobbies and a bit short of breath n higher resting pulse rate (fitbit watch info).

Hope you get sorted asap.

Bardear profile image
Bardear in reply to MozB

THANKYOU

Cloudy1 profile image
Cloudy1

Hi Bardear,

My sputum is usually white or clear when it is healthy. Any change in colour indicates an infection for me. I start taking my rescue antibiotics when the colour changes in my case it is yellow or green. The sputum also increases in thickness. I hope this helps.

Bardear profile image
Bardear in reply to Cloudy1

THANKYOU XXXX

knitter profile image
knitter

mine was a yellowish colour for years ….one health professional said it was due to the fact my asthma had an allergy base .

But it’s not yellow now .

Bardear profile image
Bardear in reply to knitter

THANKYOU

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