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Have clear phlem and a hacking cough. Taken delsym cough syrup. How to get rid of this problem?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2001
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I have lots of clear phlem and a hacking cough. Phlem was yellow and I went to dr who also gave me a zpack. Ive had 4 bottles of Delsym cough syrup. I have congestive heart failure, diabeties, thyroid, all of which are under control. Phelm feels like it is in the base of my neck and my breathing almost sounds asmatic at times. When I went to dr -a PA, general practice- she said lungs were clear. What can I do to get rid of this abundance of phlem?
Posted Wed, 25 Jul 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Follow-up: Have clear phlem and a hacking cough. Taken delsym cough syrup. How to get rid of this problem? 4 minutes later
Phelm is thick white about 1/2 time and clear otherwise. coughing goes on day and night.
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 2 hours later

Thanks for the query

The symptoms you have mentioned are suggestive of either acid reflux disease or post congestive cardiac failure symptoms.

1. Acid reflux seems to be the main cause of cough with phlegm in the throat. The reason being, when there is regurgitation of the acid from the stomach into the throat, it burns the mucosa of throat inducing inflammation of the mucosa of the throat. In reaction to the mucosal inflammation, there is excessive production of saliva to reduce the inflammation. The inflammation along with excess saliva in the throat induces cough, foreign body sensation in the throat, weakening of the voice after a brief conversation, etc.

2. The second most probable cause could be the after-effects of congestive cardiac failure. As your physician has already examined and proclaimed that the chest is clear, the former has to be ruled out.

My suggestions to you are:
1. Stop the Delsym cough syrup.
2. Avoid coffee/chilled beverages/smoking/alcohol, if any.
3. Do not retire to bed immediately after taking food.
4. Drink plenty of warm water.
5. Do steam inhalation-this helps in bringing out the phlegm and also gives relief for the throat.
6. Try taking medications such as mucolytic (ambroxol/bromhexine) and proton pump inhibitors (Esomeprazol/Pantoperazole).

Hope, with all these above measures you would feel better. If you have any more queries, you are welcome.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
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