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British Lung Foundation
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Colour of your phlegm?

Hi! What colour is usually your sputum when you dont have an infection? Is it cleat or has any tint of yellowish? I have bronchiectasis.

Thanks.

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Thank you so much Stone. One of the best and most concise information I've come across.

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Thanks

Ive read a lot about theory but the fact is that Id like to know what colour is in your real expediente.

Thank you anyway.

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Absolutely brilliant, Stone. Thank you for posting this. All the best. xx Moy

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Thanks for sharing that book, Stone. I found it really useful.

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Absolutely brilliant read, especially when newly diagnosed.

Wish I’d been given this it would have helped so much .

Thank you for posting Stone-uk

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Hello tubelloabril. Well, you have asked the three million dollar question. The link which stone gave you is very good basic information as far as it goes. However, the enigmatic thing about bronch is that everybody is different and every person with bronch experiences different symptoms at different times. Some people with virtually clear mucus can feel very unwell most of the time whilst someone like me who always has to get rid of copious amounts of coloured mucus every day remains pretty stable and well most of the time, even if colonised with pseudomonas as I am.

It really is a case of closely monitoring what is usual for you. If anything changes and particularly if you feel unwell and are producing much more mucus than usual, that is a sign of an exacerbation that needs treatment.

I do think that this is a far better indicator of how one is than looking for bugs in a petrie dish,( which may not show up) or simply looking at colour without deciding what is usual for you first. I hope that helps to un knit the fog a little.

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Mine is usually white and frothy after an inhaler and settled down to a creamy colour. I start to worry if it becomes yellow and get advice or| and treatment in case it turns green ( infection at green)

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Thanks Chriskho, mine is from yellowish to creamy too. Is it that way all day long or does it go clear during de day? DO you have a bug colonized in your lungs?

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Frothy and clear for some time following my inhalers then thicker creamy colour in between.that is normal for me. No bugs at present I think.🤞

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Mine is always green infection or not.

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Hi! Do you have any bug colonized in your lungs? A bug that remains dormant?

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tubelloabril I have had Pseudomonas. However, even when it is not showing I still have green mucous. I have never had clear mucous. I wish I had as I think it would be easier to tell when you have an infection.

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Tubelloabril - did you not ask this question about a week ago or am I having de ja vue?

Anyway, I will repeat what I said then - in bronchiectasis sputum colour is often not an indication of infection. The only way of being sure is to culture the sputum. We always go on symptoms and if it feels like something is brewing up I take a sample to the hospital first thing in the morning. Since you ask about the colour of other sufferers' sputum, OH's is usually mucky looking thick white clots. He's had various infections including pseudomonas and it rarely looks any different.

If you are worried that you have an infection you perhaps ought to obtain a sterile pot and take a sputum sample to the surgery asap - better to be safe than sorry. Sample needs to be a good one from deep in the lungs and not left sitting around for hours - best to take it in asap.

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As morning is my most active time of the day, then by lunchtime I am ready to have a coughing session (before eating!). The morning activity seems to result in it travelling up the airwaves and is easier to cough up. This is the most productive time because I produce what I call 'meaty' mucus, i.e. it's not just fluff and bubbles but looking more solid. It is a sort of creamy colour. After that, breathing is more easier. Quite often I find that it doesn't even need to be physical activity but but animated talking will bring it to the surface. I also have colonised pseudomonas so I know how important it is to get rid of it.

Incidentally I can't sleep on my back because that is guaranteed to make me cough so the coughing session is always me flat out on my back! Good luck.

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Thanks Claudine. After your morning meaty mucus, which colour and consistence is it during the day? Are you colonized with any bug?

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I am colonised with pseudomonas. Apart from the 'meaty' gift it is more often than not just colourless but still needs to be coughed up. I try never to swallow it, whatever consistency. I presume you are on Carbocisteine? Usual dose seems to be 6 a day and it thins the mucus so it's easier to cough up. When first prescribed I had just 4 a day but changing it to 6 made a big difference. I think you will have gathered by now that the average GP seems pretty clueless about Bronchiectasis - most of it we learn along the way and also from this site. You may be given a rescue pack of antibiotics which is just a reserve which you keep at home so you don't need to wait for an appt. at the docs when you suspect an infection is starting. That's useful. I presume you take an inhaler as well?

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Thanks Claudine. Im on salbutamol twice a day... I never had any symptom since diagnosed (by chance) until last november when I cultured staph aureus. Since there Ive been fighting with thick green sputum, taking lots of antibiotics, which seem none has worked. I don't have any other symptom than sputum... Now I am on ciprofloxacin and have yellowish sputum, very different as it was before cipro but I am scared about what will happen when I finish the course, I dont want the sputum to became thick green again.. that's why I am asking which colour is normal sputum...I don't know if mine is yellowish... Or mean that cipro hasn't worked. Thanks.

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tubelloabril

Hi mainly clear & thick or yellow & thick. When it goes green you will likely have an infection.

IKeith

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Hi! Do you have any bug colonized in your lungs? A bug that remains dormant

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Hi! Do you have any bug colonized in your lungs? A bug that remains dormant

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Tubelloabril - you seem to be probing into the experiences of other sufferers but you are not saying anything about yourself. Are you asking these questions because you are not well and trying to self diagnose? It would be better if you explained what your problems are, we could then try to help you.

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I have bronchiectasis and never payed attention to my sputum until last november when I got green thick sputum. Cultured and there it was staph aureus. Was on Bactrim for 18 days but didnt work. Nowon ciprofloxacin for28 days, in my 27th day of treatment buts still have yellowish sputum. It changed from thick green to yellowish but hasnt dissapeared completely so I dont know if its normal or if it means that cipro hasnt worked as Í never ever payed attention to my sputum before.

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You are having a bad time of it by the sound of things. You need to take another sputum sample to the surgery once your cipro has finished. Think they usually advise a day of two after the course is ended. Hope the bug has gone. OH sometimes has yellowish sputum first thing in the morning but then it clears. Think it has probably festered a bit overnight.

Are clearing your lungs properly? Really important to get all the rubbish up. Hope the cipro has worked. If not, hope they target it with something else.

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Thanks Bella

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As above - send another sputum into the lab a day or two after the cipro is finished. If the bug is there, maybe it is time for more aggressive treatment e.g. IV antibiotics but you will have to see what the doctor says. Hope you are clear of it though. Good clearance at least twice a day should help. You are having a tough time - hope you soon start to improve.

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Should be clear

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