Cough that won't go away?

I've had a cough since December 31st and it's now February 11th, so... about 6 weeks.

It started off with me having the flu and that passed within a week, but the cough remained. Then the following week I had the cold and was still coughing. When that eventually went away, the cough was still there and I started coughing up a thick, clear, gel-like substance (phlegm?) and this has been going on for about 4 weeks now.

For the first 2-3 weeks, I was coughing every 5 minutes, now it's only a dozen or so times a day, but every time I do cough, this phlegm stuff comes up.

Anyone have any idea what's going on?

40 Replies

  • I got a cold 2 weeks ago within a day it was on my chest. I was given 1 lot of steroids then antibiotics and another box of steroids. I've a constant drip so I'm constantly clearing my throat I eat so much cos of the steroids the COUGH won't go away.

    Henceforth my posting at 4.20am😢 as I'm up coughing I've green mucus quite thick also go into fits of coughing. Sometimes I can bring up the mucus most part I can get it up enough to clear so I'm caught in the chest with a lot of mucus.

    Wish I had a remote control just for a hour

    Sleep well guys

    Maggie x

  • Hi Maggie

    Sounds like you have got a very bad chestjinfection going on there. You need to ask your doc to send off a sputum test so that they can determine what bugs you have got. The path lab will tell your gp what antibiotics you need. There are different ones for different bugs.

    I have very frequent chest infections and start off with Doxycycline but then I send away the sputum and I mostly have to have a stronger antibiotic to clear it up. Steroids on their own will do nothing for your cough as they are really to give you a boost while taking antibiotics.

    Hope this helps.

  • I thought steroids were for inflammation , defined by the wheeze !!!! ????

  • Prednisone (steroid) completely cleared up my coughing back in December. Just my two cents -- I know everyone is different.

  • I thought that as well I don't get steroids if I don't have a wheeze

  • I usually get a rescue pack which contains doxycycline but I can't take them cos they make me vomit. Steroids not sure why I'm given them anybody know?

  • Hi Maggie....I was given the steroid inhaler FOSTAIR to use twice a day once in morning and once in evening .Its a preventer inhaler that keeps your airways open for a period of 12 hours to help with tightness of the chest and to ease coughing. I've been using it for the last 12months and have found a difference. If anyone still smokes.....this won't help. Maddimegan31.👍👍

  • antibiotics are bactirial infections steroids are for viral infections

  • Hi Maggie I would tell your GP and they will change them I used to take an antibiotic that made me vomit can't remember the name of it. I told my GP and I am not given that antibiotic any more.

  • It's a good idea to get a cough you've had a long time checked by a doctor. There's a campaign about this in Crewe at the moment - visit

  • Hi. Have you been to the doctor? It sounds like you need some sntibiotics to clear it up off your chest.

  • Yes had antibiotics and 2 lots of steroids

  • This site will give you some explanation about the colour of phlegm or mucus we cough up.

  • This site is so interesting thanks so much x 😙

  • Hi you from Dec. Last year to March 2015. Had a chest infection that went on for weeks coughing up white mucus AND. Wheezing on exertion so went the doc who put me on a steroid Prednisole for two weeks that eased it away ....then I was given a spirometry test for my breathing which was under par. Following that I was prescribed an inhaler and told I had a mild copd which is controlled with inhaler. Only if you smoke it gets worse have a visit to your doc for peace of mind...MADDIMEGAN .😺😺

  • I will ask about that next time I'm there. Thank you!

  • I was in hospital jan 15 with severe SOB , i couldn't cross the room , with oxygen , without stopping for breath . coughing fits with very little coming up and when it did the phlegm was very viscose , like elastic . I was rattling away and was very scared ( which i don't usually do as i've seen most breathing proplems over the last 58yrs .) . i was on AB's and steroids when i went into hosp and after xray and blood test was taken off them as there was no infection and i went on to steam therapy . My gas exchange had been going down over the last 10 years and i pointed this out to the consultant and i asked if i could have a lung wash . This was done and i have improved back up to what i was about 4 yrs ago , magic . xxx . I have heard so many people having this persistent cough both last year and this , i think it must be a peculiarity of the virus going around , let's hope it clears up soon xxxxxxx.

  • oh yes and no chest infections since , it is years and only the second time in the last 58yrs that i have gone a year without a chest infection , FANTASTIC XXXXXXX

  • Get to see your Doctor , for you should be over the initial infection by now. Seems you need something stronger to shift it altogether. It's a misery waiting for the next cough to start up. Let us know how you go on:-)

  • Hi kcxo like u I've had a this cough since September it gets so bad I'm sick with it trying to get the phelm up I've been on rescue packs for a year but its getting so their not helping so its back up docs for me I think that's what u should do take care .

  • Hi KCxo, you seem to have the winter bugs that are going round, I had the same symptoms as you going on since last August on and off, Had steroids and antibiotics , but my constant COPD cough seems worse and I like you are bringing up plugs of thick clear mucus, so I am afraid I can't be much help as I am in the same boat. The past two days my voice has been going on and off now with the cold weather. Be glad when spring arrives with warmer, dry weather. I find warm fluids help the cough good luck with finding relief.

  • You sound like myself, cannot get rid of coughing. I was told its part of COPD and goes with the territory! So I suffer in silence!

  • There is a lot of this going around this year. Have you seen a doctor? As others have said, with a cough that lasts this long, you need a thorough exam and a sputum test. I had something similar - started 22 December - but mine got seriously worse after 2 weeks (even though I'd been on Doxycycline, as I have bronchiectasis). Eventually my GP put it down to "suspected whooping cough" - which presents differently in adults and is very under-diagnosed, apparently. The coughing is starting to ease now, but it's still there, and apparently can last for months. I hope you get some relief soon - please do see your doctor and get checked out!

  • To deal with the phlegm you need to ask your GP for Carbocystine capsules.Two taken 3 times a day help thin the phlegm. You also need to see a respiratory nurse for methods of bringin g up the phlegm.

  • Hi....I too have had a cough for the last 3 months and at its worst I suffered with gasping for breath regularly which was really scary! I had 2 courses of antiobiotics which didnt work, because I was gasping for breath/whooping I ended up at a+e; xrays were clear and they suggested it was whooping cough....but nothing they can do to treat it, its also known as 100 day cough and just have to let it run its course. It has started to ease off but still occasionally's so frustrating waiting for it to go! Hope ur better soon!

  • Hi I had a mild chest infection which did go with ab's and steroids but the hacking cough (much more than usual) went on for around 4 weeks extra! It is now easing a bit thank goodness. x

  • Steroids are to reduce inflammation in the lungs due to constant coughing and to boost you up when you take antibiotics but you can have too many stteroids so be careful.

  • Snap!!! I've had a dry cough since about December, caused by my post nasal drip. The docter wouldn't give me anything for it because my chest sounded clear, despite getting no sleep through constantly waking in the night, choking and spitting mucus.

    Yesterday, I felt so weak and exhausted with the coughing and vomiting mucus. The cough also started sounding funny and was making me feel breathless so, went to the Docter. He wasn't my usual one. He said there is crackling in my lung and gave me antibiotics.

    I am starting to feel a lot better now and it's not through the tablets because I've only taken 3 of them.

    If you don't feel better, go back to the doctor or you'll just be left to suffer in silence xx

  • Obviously you will be worried, but as it follows a cold I would think its just a cough taking a long time to clear up. But im not a medic and of course you should consult your gp if you are worried. Good luck.

  • Hi KCxo, Bless Your Heart, I know about coughing and phlegm(ew). I've been at it for over 50 years. When I'd go to the Dr. I'd get a prescription for an expectorant. Nowadays, there's an over the counter expectorant, Mucinex, that I take daily. I still cough, but without the ew. I Pray You Feel Better. :)

  • i know just how you feel i went to have my flu jab at the end of november in december i came down with a cold that was a bute . in january i came down with a dose of flu and now in febuary i am back with another cold and all the time i have had this cough that will not go away . i would be interested if any one else in internet land has had the same thing happen to them.

  • YES YES....always AFTER a flu jab.😡😡

  • Thank god im not the only one...... exactly the same for me. I started with what i thought was the flu in the last week of december and i think its coming to the end now. I had antibiotics and steroids but they didnt really help. I even had the ambulance out one night as i was struggling to breath. on examination with the doctor he said my chest was clear even though i was bringing up or at least trying to bring up clear mucus. Last week he sent me for a chest xray which today i was told was also clear. I lost my voice and was told I had probably damaged my vocal chords through the sporadic coughing. Ive never been diagnosed with anything respiratory although i do suffer with inflammatory arthritis, so due to the meds im on I know it affects my immune systems ablity to fight infection. My doctor now wants me to have that test which will tell them about my lung function and to determine whether i may have astma or copd. I hope you feel better soon. x

  • Hello KCxo. Coughs are such inconvenient things. See your doctor a.s.a.p. In the meantime try sucking a strepsil (the ones for sore throat and cough) and then take a sip of cold water. It won't cure the cough but it will ease it until you can get to the doctor's. Good luck.

  • Coughing goes with COPD. When I moved recently I went to my doctor to tell them I was moving and the doc said I have known you for 19 years and you have always had a cough. Some days it is worse than others. The cough will go away but it will come back it's part of COPD. Go back to your GP. I am been tested for bronchiectasis at the moment because nothing they are giving me will clear up the breathlessness and coughing and this has been going on for the past few years take care

  • Well...., what's going on, sounds to me like yer coughing up clear phlem...; go see a doc and see what he thinks....; that's what they're around for....

  • Hi All,

    Last year I had the same problem, with a long term cough, wheezing bouts, 2 lots of pharyngitis/laryngitis & several colds. I was very worried because of being an ex-smoker, but an x-ray showed my lungs were clear. The problems, especially the coughing, were very embarassing because I felt I should not be going out & spreading germs. Antibiotics did not work & I was at a loss as to what to do to stop this unending cycle.

    Then I read - on this forum - about using turmeric to treat the immune system & that it was also a natural antibiotic. I had a jar of turmeric powder that I'd never used & I went online to order some clear capsules. I then made my own turmeric capsules & started taking 3 per day.

    All my ongoing symptoms cleared up by 3 weeks later & have never come back. I have not been ill since, & now only take 1 capsule a day. Is that a coincidence? Could this just be luck? Has anybody else got natural remedies?

  • Hi Maggie,

    I too caught a cold/virus in November which escalated to a bad cough over the Christmas period. Rather frustrating as I'd given up smoking in June 2015. This cold continued to get worse before I went to see my GP. I was certain that the irregular not so cold weather was responsible as it just wasn't cold enough to possibly kill off the virus. The first visit to my GP (end of December) I was given 7 days of Amoxocilin and after that week, I was further given Erythromycin antibiotic before I was put forward for a Spirometry. My diagnosis of damaged lungs did not come as a great shock after spending approximately 35 years smoking. Now diagnosed with mild COPD and taking Tiotropium daily, I'm slowly getting round to accepting my condition at 58 years of age. I was advised to buy a couple of Ioniser units for my home. Once purchased, a fantastic nights sleep for my wife and I. I think I may be on a winner for now, just work to sort out.

    Anyway Maggie, I do hope you manage to clear your chest and have more comfortable nights sleep.

    Take care,

    Barry xx

  • I had a really bad coughing fit over Christmas together with a bacterial lung infection. I had just cut up a pineapple and ate some...the cough disappeared straight away. Pineapple contains an enzyme called Amylase which is supposed to be better than any cough medicine. (Big Pharma can't patent pineapple! Although you can buy straight Amylase in H&B) My favourite thing for coughs is pineapple (which I mush up in the Ninja and freeze in ice cube trays), l cube, 1 tsp of lazy ginger and 1 tsp of honey topped up with hot water.

    Worth a try?

  • That's very nice for you. That it works for you I eat pineapple all the time doesn't work for me nothing dose my cough is just part of my makeup so a doctor told me had one for well over 19 years the cough doesn't bother me its the not being able to breathe that bothers me

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