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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Have mild fever, runny nose and coughing up yellow mucus. Should I be concerned?

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Dr. Sujoy Khan

Allergist and Immunologist

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 584 Questions

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Posted on Fri, 14 Dec 2012 in General Health
Question: I had exposure to someone with the flu on tuesday night and woke up thursday with a mild cough and a runny nose. By 5pm I had a 99.4 temp and by 9pm it was up to 102. My cough had gotten a bit worse. Friday morning (yesterday) I went to the doctor...fever was down to 99.7 at that time...cough was very bad. They tested me for flu and it came back negative. Within about two hours of being home, my fever was back up to 101. I coughed up some yellow mucous (pretty decent sized ball of it). This morning, I woke up and my fever was at 100.2 and I again coughed up yellow mucous. I was coughing so hard that I ended up vomiting, and it was yellow mucous and thick white foam. What is going on? Should I be concerned? The doctor put me on antibiotics, but she didn't say what it might be if it weren't the flu and I can't get anyone at the office on the line.
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Answered by Dr. Sujoy Khan 14 minutes later
Hello,
Thank you for writing to Healthcare Magic.

It is very likely you have caught the flu virus as evident with the high temperature, cough and rhinitis.
Productive phlegm can be a feature of viruses particularly when the immune system is destroying them, but if the colour is thick yelow or yelowish XXXXXXX there is a super-added bacterial infection that would require antibiotics. As your doctor has rightly given.
However, if you continue to get raised temperatures, night sweats, diarrhoea or any other symptom, do get admitted into the nearest ER or A&E for a complete blood count, CRP, Chest X XXXXXXX to ensure that you have not developed lobar pneumonia.
It is best to observe for 48 hours as to what happens on the antibiotics if none of the above symptoms occur.
From a preventive medicine point-of-view, if you are an asthamtic, get the flu jab every autumn and a one-off dose of Prevenar 13 for pneumococcal infections.

Best Wishes.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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