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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Have had bronchitis. Developed cough and coughing up mucus. Is this a mucus plug?

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Dr. R.A. Singh

Emergency Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :2000

Answered : 2149 Questions

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Posted on Fri, 11 Jan 2013 in Lung and Chest disorders
Question: Hi. I have had bronchitis in the past. I recently contracted a cough similar to others I've had previously. Yesterday, I coughed up what felt like a tonsil stone but was pink (with a whitish/grey tip) and was about 1 cm long and 5 mm wide. Is this a mucus plug? Also, I'm still coughing but not as much as before the sputum. I am currently taking bromhexane hydrochloride 8 mg 3x per day. I was previously taking robitussin expectorant. One more thing, I'm taking benicar 20 mg plus diuretic for blood pressure which is currently at 120/80.
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Answered by Dr. R.A. Singh 2 hours later
Hi XXXXXXX,
Thanks for writing your query.

Mucus and mucus plugs can be seen in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases.
Bromhexine is a mucolytic agent used in treating respiratory disorders with increased and thick mucus.

Therefore, when the mucus came out, due to the action of bromhexine, you felt much better and the cough was also decreased.

You can take antiallergy medicine like Levocetrizine 5 mg once a day after consulting your treating doctor.

Benicar contains olmesartan and can be continued as your blood pressure recording is absolutely within normal range.

You should get a Culture and Sensitivity test done for the sputum to know whether any infection is present and if present the required antibiotic to cure your infection, as infection occurs commonly in bronchitis patients.

I hope this is helpful to you. If you have any further query, I will be happy to help.
Thanks.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Shanthi.E
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Follow up: Dr. R.A. Singh 15 hours later
Thank you Dr. XXXXXXX Does that which I described sound like a mucus plug (pink in color, hard like a tonsil stone, the size I mentioned)? Also, as my cough continues, albeit less severe, is it possible or likely that I could have more mucus plugs currently which could be dislodged as a result of continuing with the medication? Finally, when should I stop taking the bromhexine? I am currently traveling out of the country and will not have access to my physician for two more weeks.
XXXXXXX
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Answered by Dr. R.A. Singh 4 hours later
Hi XXXXXXX
Thanks for your response.

Tonsil stones usually present with pain while swallowing and inflammation of the tonsils, which I assume your treating doctor must have already examined, so it is more in favour of mucus plug.

There are possibilities of more mucus plug in your respiratory tract, which can dissolve and come out with a mucolytic like bromhexine and ambroxol. You can continue taking bromhexine for one to two weeks, depending upon your cough.

It is advisable that you should get a culture and senstivity of your sputum done to know if there is added bacterial infection and to start the appropiate antibiotic accordingly. If there is any infection in your respiratory tract, that can also lead to persistent cough and will need antibiotic therapy to cure the cough.

Taking antiallergy medicine as mentioned before will be helpful in decreasing the cough.

I hope this is helpful to you. If you have any more query, I will be happy to answer them.
Regards. Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Mohammed Kappan
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