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Can you help me? too much phlegm on my chest


Morning everyone

I am 47 and had Asthma all my life but this last two years I have been on my nebuliser more than off it and this summer is not much better. Doctors are reactive and not pro-active I feel when I am poorly

I just wanted to ask you all if you can help me with a question?

My Asthma doesn't make me wheezy as it tends to me caused by a build up phlegm that blocks my lungs so I just feel so restricted and cant breathe.

I refuse to see my "Asthma Nurse" as she asks me what I think is best to treat me!! Yes really

Not under a consultant and think that may be the next step

I take daily Montelukast Sodium 10mg (evening), Ventolin of course, Seretide and Piriton if I need it

Steroids tend to flood down my throat in the damp months and I feel really low in myself as I just have so many months of feeling so ill and all I wish for is a good day where I can wake up feeling normal

So my question is, do any of you out there understand my issue? What else can I consider to keep this phlegm at bay as I have tried Saline in my neb and although it helps me cough it up it doesn't stop the massive production of the stuff in my lungs

Any helpful advice would be so gratefully received


34 Replies

I am exactly the same.. I have had it most of my life.. (diagnosed at 10) and now I'm 48 I thought it should be less severe now.. although it is better now than in my 20's.. I am still having problems.. I am on Seretide (prefer Flixotide and serevent separately) also on Montelukast and have a neb at home with salbutamol nebs and Ipratropium Bromide nebs too... also take antihistamines every time (sometimes twice a day) I still get a lot of chest infections.. my peak flow (when I take it) is also a lot lower than it used to be (currently between 250- 300) my old consultant was going to try me on Xolair, but was passed onto a new consultant that decided since I hadn't been in hospital the past year that maybe I should just keep on what I am already, but I am still getting regular chest infections and use my blue inhaler several times every day...I am on steroids ever month for at least a week (40mgs) which I hate as I get a lot of bruising and eat so much, so put on more weight...I wish I knew how to keep the phlegm out.. the antihistamines work sometimes but not all the time.. even now I am coughing a bit.. which can be the sign of the start of yet another chest infection...if you ever get a solution.. please let us know.. I feel sometimes my consultant is just going through the motions.. as well as my asthma nurse.. they just say "you know how it goes.. you know what to do!" and that's about it.. lung function lab test then home again.. nothing ever seems to change for the better... would so love to know what's out there to help us asthmatics that know what asthma is about, but have no clue what's out there to change it.. best of luck!

FarmersMum in reply to Alliecat

Hi Alliecat, everything you say you do..I do and everything you do I do too!

One thing I tried a few years ago...haven't been able to get them now as my new GP who clearly knows how Asthma makes us feel...NOT!. says they are for use ONLY in CF Patients. It was called Mucodyne and it was taken three times a day and it really liquidised the mucus and made it so much easier to cough up! I am on a mission to try it again and I will keep on till I do.

I saw a physiotherapist a couple of years ago and she gave me a "Flutter" and this is an inhaler looking device that has a massive ballbearing in it and it vibrates on your chest to release the mucus. I really willed it to work but Iit didn't. However my Mum bought me a saltpipe online last year and that definitely helps releasing the mucus for sure and its all natural. Buy one!

I can safely say you feel relief but in the mornings when I am trying to get the family packed off and get ready for work that's when I need the relief and I cant really sit down for 20 mins using the saltpipe (I have driven to work with it in my gob however!)

Just not convinced I am on enough treatment to help me but I am making an apt to see my GP in the next fortnight ready for the onset of Autumn and the damp weather that makes me so poorly :)

Take Care x

Alliecat in reply to FarmersMum

Hi Farmersmum,

thanks for the info.. was thinking of visiting a salt cave here in Edinburgh, have heard of a salt pipe but wasn't sure if it worked or not.. I have a lot of problems with sinuses etc.. so if this helps even a little I would be so grateful!!!.. am sick of coughing when I have a cold...or hayfever (though really its perennial Rhinitis as I get it all year round!!!).. will definitely look for this salt pipe.. is there anywhere cheapish to get one? I too find mornings difficult.. I get up early for work 4am!!.. most mornings I have to use my nebuliser.. which is a relief!! am so glad they let me have one at home.. before they wanted to keep an eye on me as my asthma is brittle... sometimes you think they don't believe you when you say you have had about 4 chest infections or more in a month!....but my Drs now not only believe me but they make sure as soon as I call them that prednisolone and antibiotics are prescribed as soon as possible.. took a few years to get them to this stage lol.. but it works for me at the moment.

Thanks x

Hidden in reply to Alliecat

Any more information on this salt pipe totally new to me 😊

Alliecat in reply to Hidden

hi katiewoo I did try it... but it didn't really work for me.. I have still to visit that darn salt cave! lol.... I am now on 5mg of prednisolone very day again.... I think it should be more.. but consultants know right? lol....I have yet another chest infection.. yay me!!!... so taking it easy as everything makes me breathless...prednisolone 40mgs starting to kick in though.. so hopefully feel better soon! hope the salt pipe works for you...x

Hidden in reply to Alliecat

Hi Allie at, don't know where to get a salt pipe. I have a bad chest infection at min been on antibiotics & 40 mgs prednisolone per day for just over a week now & getting nowhere fast , sent a sputem sample off this morning so i,m hoping they find out soon what the infection is coz it's wearing me out . Glad to hear your feeling better .x

Alliecat in reply to Hidden

I think you can get it in Amazon.. thats where I got mine....

Hidden in reply to Alliecat

Thanks. Alliecat , i,ll have a look today your a great help .x

There is another mucus thinner available and I can't remember it's name. is it Carbosisteine? I think the problem with these things is that they have bad side effects so Docs are wary of prescribing. I would go to your physio again and try the flutter under their supervision. It should work and can work really well. Also try inhaling steam to loosen the mucus and then using breathing exercises or the flutter to move it. In fact some one said use your ventolin inhaler, then nhale steam and then cough up phlegm. If you really can't get to grips with the flutter then try this for getting up phlegm. Take a big breath in as far as you can - then suck more air in. Hold for a few seconds. Blow breath rapidly out. Do this about 5 times each time reapeated 3 times a day and this should bring the phlegm up. Your physio will be able to show you this exercise too. i use this becaue cannot use anything that vibrates my lungs. There are lots of videos on youtube and such like showing breathing exercises to bring up the phlegm. Hope you manage to get relief.

I've had carbosisteine recently and it seemed good but it was given to me in A&E and my GP wasn't happy I was given it, apparently it shouldn't be used for asthma. I've got spiriva now.

Hidden in reply to freefaller

Hi Freefaller, ( love the name ☺) you know none of these exercises ect have never been mentioned to me by my doctor or nurse i don't even have an action plan. I,ve learnt so much since joining this site . Thank you all .x

FarmersMum in reply to Alliecat

Hi Alliecat

Why don't you have Prednisolone at home all the time like me?

Its there if I need it and its been quite literally a life saver over the years having that at home

The salt pipe I bought from the saltpipe company online. Just Google Cisco Salt Pipe and it will come up

mine cost £14.99 and they can last for 6 months depending on how much use it has but its the original one and its great

I have the plastic one but my mum bought the Ceramic one and she uses it for her sinus issues and she swears by it for relief in the colder months

I totally understand what you say about Chest Infections! Asthmatics do it properly don't we!

Take Care!

Alliecat in reply to FarmersMum

I am meant to have an emergency supply at home all the time..but I se it so often.. used to be on 5mg /day.. but they slowly put it down til I was off completely, but have never been right since they took me off.. but I also have it on my repeat prescription so I just order from that.. its the antibiotics I ask for only when I have to.. hate antibiotics.. amd don't like taking them unless I really have to...some just don't work for me anymore....others make me feel sick....I have ordered the salt pipe from Amazon.. should get here on Monday.. though I am in London til Tuesday so will let you know how it is when I get back Tuesday night or Wednesday...I will try anything! lol

Hi. You say you have a lot of phlegm but you don't mention if it makes you cough. When my asthma is really playing up I cough up bucket loads of the stuff so I do what I can to help me cough and get rid of it all.

The idea is to loosen everything so that you can cough productively and the things I find work best are, in no particular order:

My early morning swim - half an hour's energetic swimming before work usually gets the cough working well

10 minutes in the steam room if the swim doesn't work

An hour in a salt cave. I don't know if they work for everyone but the first time I used one I walked in feeling as if my lungs were made of wood and by the time I came out they were feeling flexible and so much more comfortable. And the coughing did its job properly, too.

Good luck

FarmersMum in reply to Annista

Hi Annista

thanks for your reply!

Coughing is all I do but when its hard to breathe it takes the stuffing out of me. I cant swim and if I could I wouldn't as I have atopic Eczema so only get in the sea for a paddle when I am on holiday! :)

See my above reply about the Salt Pipe as I think it is naturally beneficial and definitely relieves the inflammation

Thanks Again Annista x

Hi , my consultant prescribed me hypertonic saline via nebuliser, once per day, plus azithromycin daily. Although azithromycin is an antibiotic it helps reduce the mucous production. My mucous production has dropped dramatically since starting these five years ago.

Hi Northern Soul

Thanks for the reply. Hypertonic Saline is different from normal saline I take it? And I have never heard from Azithromycin but will ask my GP when I see them soon as I need to get this sorted x

Thanks for the advice I really appreciate this

Hypertonic saline is 7% strength compared to 0.9%. Azithromycin is a strong antibiotic it is recommended as a result of research that has been done and is prescribed routinely at the regional severe asthma clinic that I attend. It has certainly helped me.

Good luck x


Just read your symptoms and mine seems to be very similar. I have been to the doctors twice recently and they put me in antihistamine the first time and antibiotics the 2nd time, neither didn't solve the phelgm problem. My chest is clear but it's just hanging around in my throat. I should go back to the doctors but seem a waste of time as they can't solve the issue. I'm active in as far as I go to the gym 3 times a week and ride my bike 3 times a week to the train station (about 6 miles each way).

Any help in solving this problem will be greatly appreciated.



FarmersMum in reply to Howes60

Hi Steve

Thanks for the reply but sorry to hear you are suffering too

Yours sounds all Upper Respiratory. I take it you do get tight chested then?

You sound pretty fit too so fair play I say

Antihistimes are ok to "dampen down" all the bad stuff and they can help but Antibiotics should only be given when you are coughing up nasty coloured stuff. As above I would recommend the Cisco Salt Pipe as it reduces inflammation in the airways, throat and sinus congestion. It helps me cough and release it all. And it is all Natural too !

Doctors shouldn't just dismiss this either? Have you asked to be seen by your Asthma Nurse? Are you on Preventer Inhalers?

Let me know


Lingwood in reply to Howes60

Try using a flutter valve everyday to get rid of phlegm - unfortunately you have to buy these yourself from internet. Made my life a lot better, combined with exercise. Have had significant decrease in use of antibiotics and less leepless nights.

Hi All

I have problems also with phlegm and asthma. Like Northern soul my consultant prescribed Azithromycin which I have been taking for over 2yrs. It has been absolutely fantastic for my asthma and chest infections.

I also have Carbocisteine which is the same thing as the Mucodyne that you referred to in an earlier post ... So your GP is wrong !! As I do not have CF so it is certainly available for asthmatics. I find that this is also great to dilute the phlegm and helps bring it up much easier using the standard physio techniques. The Carbocisteine really does not have any side effects either - it is not a harsh drug.

My advice would be to strongly insist on a consultant referral... My consultant is great and has helped me much more than any well meaning GP!

Hope you all get the correct treatment soon and feel well again!! 😋

FarmersMum in reply to Maxona

Hi Maxona

Thanks for this!

I am armed and dangerous now so my GP better watch out!

Carbocisteine is going to be requested and I am going to ask about trying Azithromycin when I get infections.

This is great and thanks again :)

Hi Dear,

As a my experience Please first you consult your doctor if there is any infection in you chest.

If there is not any infection then strictly avoid those thing ( including food and atmosphere ) which cause to attach of asthma.

Best Regards

Muhammad Farooq

Don't need to consult my doctor as I go buy the colour of my sputum. I do understand that you only take them IF you have an infection

Its a bit hard when you are a busy working Mum to avoid the atmosphere!


To be fair to your GP the Azithromycin I take is as a prophalytic... ie. All the the time in smaller dose to actually prevent the infection in the first place. I believe that this can only be initiated by a Resp consultant and not just by your GP. Hence my recommendation to get a referral to secondary care.

However I am pretty sure that your GP can prescribe the Carbocisteine... It is used a lot for people with Brinchiectasis aswell I believe....

I hope this helps....

These things do not cure the issues but they have massively helped me to lead a fairly normal family/work life.

Go for it!!!!

Good luck...


FarmersMum in reply to Maxona

Oh really? Well I am going to ask anyway. Thanks Maxona

I wasn't aware it was an every day thing but for the winter months it may really help! Here's hoping x


Sounds like you have COPD like me!

You have to manage it, sounds simple but true, avoid temperature changes, work out what makes it worse.

Carbocistene has very little value in my opinion

Learn to breathe abdominaly

Stay inside if necessary avoid pollution damp houses

Hope that helps

😎 nick

Try to do swimming if you can that will help to open your lungs since I have been doing excersice I have lost weight and I feel better healthy eating helps change of diet I am on lactose free milk and dairy that's helping me

Is it possible you have bronchiectasis? I had similar symptoms and a CT scan revealed I had mild central bronchiectasis. I have emergency antibiotics when phlegm is coloured for 14 days. I also use a flutter valve every night to clear phlegm and try to improve my cardio with exercise.

Hi, how about cutting out dairy products. Milk and associated products produce phlegm. I cut out dairy as part of a diet I went on about 10 years ago and have never taken milk since. I now use soya, or goat's milk. I still have asthma due to allergies- but no phlegm. When I go into hospital they are always asking about how much phlegm I have, and when I say none they don't believe it. When I say it is because I don't take any dairy products (OK still take chocolate) they are also skeptical. However, I would advise anyone with chest or breathing problems to cut out dairy, and switch to herbal/fruit teas. You will soon notice the difference.


I had mucus plugging in my lungs and was referred to the specialist at the hospital. Initially I as put on Prenisdelone and Carbosisteine and this caused bad bruising which I have had ever since. Not sure which caused it. They said they could actually reach down into my lungs and pull the plugs out!! I didn't like that idea as it seemed not to be a cure, just an interim solution and surely it would come back so \I did a bit of research. I changed my diet a bit to cut down on mucus forming foods such as dairy products and also bought a 'power breathe' device to increase my lung function. I also asked to be referred to a Cistic Fibrosis nurse to tell me about how they clear the chests of those patients and she showed me the tapping method of how they held clear congestion in lungs. Ureka! it all worked. Now if I get any suggestions of congestions I use the power breathe technique and if it got worse would use the tapping to clear my chest. I refuse to take Prenisdelone ever again (I was high from day one) but I am on a low dose of Carbosistene still as it does supress mucus formation. Hope this might help you.

Only just found this site and what a relief to find others with the same problem as me , I was originally told I had emphasema/ copd/bronciectacy and have had damage to my lungs for years and really strugled with infections and blocked lungs with sputum I couldn,t cough up. I have recently had 2 bad episodes and rushed twice into hospital with shortness of breath down as low as 220 on my spirometer. I felt I wasn,t getting the help I needed and looked on the net for advice etc and came up with buying my own nebuliser and a RC-Cornet from germany and also a salt pipe. I use my cornet 3 times a day now and I think its working however I still have coughing boughts and I have to roll on the floor from side to side thumping my back until it loosens and then get it up nearly choking sometimes ( its horendous sometimes and painfull ) but thats the only way I can clear it..

I take 6 mucodine tablets daily, seritide,atrovent,and my ventolin. keep ammoxacillin tablets at home for standby with steroids now.

Had 2 months of hell this yearbut finally I hope I,m starting to get well again. I have been told to try an exercise bike now to help me ( I walk 2mls every day) so trying it slowly as I dont like getting short of breath as I get massive chest pains with it.

I am so pleased I read this issue as talking to others I,m sure helps when your doctors make you feel like you banging your head against a wall.

thank you.

Hi all!,

I also have been suffering from a phlegmy chest caused apparently by the asthma, for most of the winter. I do not feel ill in any other way except that I wake up having to cough out phlegm whenever I wake up in the night or morning. The rest of the day is quite a lot better.

It is not chest infections I am pretty sure now, as I have no other symptoms. It is just an over response of the immune system.

I am getting lung tightness with the asthma in the early and late evening once or twice every day, always around the same time, and needing the ventolin to relieve it. If I catch it early the salt pipe does occasionally relieve it!

I have come to the conclusion that I was fine wherever I lived that had sea air- ie air with salt in it containing magnesium. I never had any asthma in those places. Now I am living far from sea- ie hours away in all directions, but not in a very polluted place.

I am therefore trying to use a medium himalayan rock salt lamp (4-6 kilos), plus a salt pipe and I am taking Magnesium plus (Magnesium citrate 750mg, D3 and K2), as well as a multivitamin/ minerals and probiotics- 5 strains- all suitable for vegetarians.

Also I am trying to take baths 2 to 3 times a week for about 15 mins with Epsom salts, Magnesium flakes and Himalayan rock salt, and lung relaxing anti inflammatory and antiseptic essential oils (just in case there is any infection).

I am also trying to eat and drink less wheat and dairy products and eat more Magnesium rich foods such as leafy greens, nuts, avocado etc.

I think taking a immune system nourishing mushroom complex may also help me as it has helped some people to get rid of their asthma.

I am determined to get off ventolin and not to get on any other drugs as it is hard to get off them! There are people who have managed to completely rid themselves of asthma believe it or not!!!

I think we are all deficient in Magnesium and D3 especially in the winter, and have found supplementation to make a big difference in terms of reducing the number of attacks and severity, if I take the Magnesium Plus every day for a few weeks.

Taking a brisk walk each day in a geen place is another part of my strategy, to improve lung function and increase negative ions being breathed in.

Losing weight/ fat slowly I think also helps. So I minimise sugar and carb intake - small portions of high fibre wholefood carbs only.

I might try swimming more as the weather gets warmer.

Wish you all the best with recovering from this little understood and annoying illness. Be optimistic and I hope my suggestions can help you!

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