After 2 or 3 days, mucus may change to a white, yellow, or green color. This is normal and does not mean you need an antibiotic. Some symptoms, especially runny or stuffy nose and cough, can last for up to 10 to 14 days. Those symptoms should improve over time.
Coloured phlegm or snot does not mean you need antibiotics. In most healthy people, phlegm or snot production with or without a cough will stop as your cold or flu-like illness clears up, although it may take up to 3 to 4 weeks.
Call your doctor if your cough (or your child's cough) doesn't go away after a few weeks or if it also involves any one of these: Coughing up thick, greenish-yellow phlegm. Wheezing. Experiencing a fever.
Small amounts of white mucus may be coughed up if the bronchitis is viral. If the color of the mucus changes to green or yellow, it may be a sign that a bacterial infection has also set in. The cough is usually the last symptom to clear up and may last for weeks.
Your GP will usually only prescribe antibiotics if they think you have pneumonia, or you're at risk of complications such as fluid building up around the lungs (pleurisy). If there's a flu outbreak in your local area and you're at risk of serious infection, your GP may also prescribe antiviral medication.
See a GP if you have a chest infection and:
you feel very unwell or your symptoms get worse. you cough up blood or blood-stained mucus. you've had a cough for more than 3 weeks.
In addition to lab tests, sputum or mucus from a cough can be visually examined to determine whether bronchitis is viral, bacterial, or both. Clear or white mucus often indicates a viral infection, while yellow or green mucus may suggest a bacterial infection.
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if the symptoms are severe and include high fever along with nasal drainage and a productive cough. Antibiotics may also be necessary if you feel better after a few days and then your symptoms return or if the infection lasts more than a week.
Bronchitis is an infection of the main airways of the lungs (bronchi), causing them to become irritated and inflamed. The main symptom is a cough, which may bring up yellow-grey mucus (phlegm).
Common symptoms of pneumonia include: a cough – which may be dry, or produce thick yellow, green, brown or blood-stained mucus (phlegm)
People who have white, yellow, or green mucus that is present for more than a few days, or if they experience other symptoms, such as fever, chills, a cough, or sinus pain, should speak with a doctor.
One of the first signs of a cold is green or yellow mucus. It's no reason for concern, and in fact, it means your body is working extra hard to fight off infection. White blood cells rush to battle infection, and when they've done their job, they get flushed out of the body along with the virus.
Days 3 to 5: Cough and More Nasal Congestion
Nasal symptoms continue to develop, peaking during the third and fourth days. You may notice that mucus from your runny nose has become thicker, with a yellow or green tinge.
Signs and symptoms of a chest infection
The main symptoms of a chest infection can include: a persistent cough. coughing up yellow or green phlegm (thick mucus), or coughing up blood. breathlessness or rapid and shallow breathing.
FALSE: If you have green or yellow mucus, it's a bacterial infection and you need antibiotics. Colds, sore throats, upper respiratory infections and influenza (the flu) are caused by viruses, which could cause colored mucus. Antibiotics won't kill, prevent or stop spreading viruses.
Does coughing up mucus mean you're getting better? In most cases, coughing up mucus means your body is working to fight off an infection, and it is in the healing stages. Drink plenty of fluids to help thin the mucus.
If you are coughing green or yellow mucus, let your GP or health care provider know. If you are coughing up blood (or blood stained mucus), call your GP, the COVID-19 Care at Home Support Line or Healthdirect for further advice.
Antibiotics are only needed for treating certain infections caused by bacteria, but even some bacterial infections get better without antibiotics. We rely on antibiotics to treat serious, life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia and sepsis, the body's extreme response to an infection.
Taking antibiotics when they're not needed won't help you, and their side effects can still cause harm. Your doctor can decide the best treatment for you when you're sick. Never pressure your doctor to prescribe an antibiotic.
Most of the time, coughing up phlegm isn't a cause for concern. It helps clear irritants and infections from your lungs. But if you cough up phlegm when you're not feeling sick, it could mean you have a more serious underlying health condition. It can also tell you a lot about what's going on with your body.
Early symptoms are similar to influenza symptoms: fever, a dry cough, headache, muscle pain, and weakness. Within a day or two, the symptoms typically get worse, with increasing cough, shortness of breath and muscle pain. There may be a high fever and there may be blueness of the lips.