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Had cold. Having a lot of mucus and coughing. taken Nurofen. Advise?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2001
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I came down with a cold on Fri.31.May, after a conference in Dublin 23-26.May, and a short trip to Piacenza Italy 27-29.May.
I still have a lot of mucus and a bit of coughing (usually after talking at length, and in the first hour or so in the morning. The only medications I've taken for it are Nurofen and Chicken Soup (I'm Jewish). Do I need to see a doctor/take antibiotics?
Posted Thu, 27 Jun 2013 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 45 minutes later
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

Most cases of the cold are viral and the cough can last up to 6 weeks in some persons.
In most cases of persistent coughing the cause is related to (1) the mucus in the back of the throat, (2) irritation and partial closure of the airways in the lungs possible due to bronchitis

Bronchitis is simply inflammation of the bronchi which are air passages in the lungs. It can be caused by viral or bacterial infections but in most cases it is viral in origin.

You may want to consider the use of a mucolytic agent to decrease the viscosity of the secretions in the nasal passages , throat and lung air passages. Mucolytics are found in medications such as mucinex, mucomyst, guaifenesin.

In the initial stages of using the mucolytic the coughing may increase as the mucus comes up, but this would decrease within 24 hours

You would also need to make sure that you use enough fluids as this also affects mucus viscosity.

The use of a humidifier or vaporiser if you have access to one may also be of assistance.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Had cold. Having a lot of mucus and coughing. taken Nurofen. Advise? 7 minutes later
Should I be taking antibiotics to clear up the situation in addition to the mucolytic to clear up the mucus? If so, do you have an Irish doctor who can forward a valid prescription to one of the pharmacies in Bunclody, County Wexford, Ireland?
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 49 minutes later

Antibiotics would be helpful for a bacterial infection but in the vast majority of cases the infection is due to a virus which would not respond to the use of antibiotics.

The mucus production is due to irritation and inflammation of the airways. An antihistamine can be combined with the mucolytic , these often come in a combined cough mixuture.

You can try this for 5 to 7 days, there should be an improvement though as mentioned, there is a condition called post viral cough where a person can have a persistent cough after a acute viral illness. This cough can last up to 6 weeks.

In terms of prescription, at this site we are not able to actually prescribe medication, only dispense advice and information. I am sorry for any inconvenience that may cause you.

Please feel free to ask any thing else
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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